The South Carolina House has given key approval to a bill that would require Uber, Lyft and other ride sharing vehicles to have illuminated signs.
The House voted 99-1 to approve the bill Tuesday. It needs one more routine vote before it will be sent to the Senate.
The bill was introduced just days after the March 29 death of 21-year-old University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson. Police say Josephson was killed after getting into a car she thought was her Uber after it pulled into an area where drivers frequently pick up riders in Columbia’s bar district.
Supporters say the bill gives riders a chance to locate what could be their car before they get too close. Safety experts say riders will need to confirm the car’s license plate and ask the driver to recite the rider’s name and destination.
Democratic Rep. Seth Rose of Columbia, the sponsor of the bill, says he knows it isn’t a foolproof way to keep riders safe but it’s an easy first step so a tipsy college student or distracted concertgoer can immediately know whether a vehicle is their ride.
Rose acknowledges that impostors could find the signs online. But he says utility uniforms are also available online and yet employees still wear them to identify themselves.