Uber installs 'panic button' feature

Uber has announced a panic button for passengers to stop sexual harassment and assault for its US customers, and the feature could be headed to Australia.

The new panic button is available in a “safety center” menu, which the rideshare recently introduced for its US customers, tech news site Android Police reports.

By swiping the icon, it dials 911 automatically.

Uber is also trialling a feature in some US cities which will see the user’s location and trip details sent to emergency services should the icon be swiped.

Uber has introduced a button in the US which will automatically dial 911 when swiped. File pic. Source: Getty Images

The feature is currently for customers only but drivers will also get their own panic button.

An Uber Australia spokeswoman told Yahoo7 safety “is essential to Uber”.

“We expect to expand this feature to more countries and will keep you posted on local details in the near future,” she said in a statement.

In a statement, Uber’s chief legal officer Tony West said the app was committed to “proactively re-run criminal background and motor vehicle checks each year”.

He added that the app has also included a feature allowing customers to share live trip information “with up to five trusted contacts, so there are multiple sets of eyes on each ride”.

Last year, a Sydney Uber driver who raped a drunk female passenger was jailed for nine years.

The driver, Muhammad Naveed, 41, was found guilty of picking up a victim from Kings Cross and raping her in a side street in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in October 2015. 

Naveed will be eligible for parole in June 2023.