Uber launches safety initiative after drivers charged with sex assaults

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Uber drivers will now undergo real-time inspections by "trained security specialists, including off-duty Chicago police officers," the ride-share app announced Wednesday.

Any safety issues discovered during those monthly audits will be monitored, tracked and reported , according to Uber.

On Wednesday, the company announced its new safety program following the arrests of two Uber drivers accused of sexually assaulting passengers in separate incidents.

Chicago Alderman Bob Fioretti, who is running for mayor, has also called for hearings into Chicago's ride-share industry.

"We were in a big rush here at City Hall because there are financial interests of other people behind Uber here in this council, in the mayor's office, especially, and we need to examine the hiring practices and safety practices of Uber," Ald. Fioretti, Ward 2, said.

"We took steps then as it relates to the ride-share industry, specifically, as there was no oversight, no regulation," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "The recent issues are a clear warning to Uber, specifically. They have some policing to do. And we've been very clear to them they have to clean up their act."

Uber is used more than 2 million times per month in the Chicagoland area. Vehicles are equipped with GPS tracking and 24-hour feedback ability. Also, Uber officials said drivers pass a rigorous background check. However, an Uber driver told ABC7 Eyewitness News on Wednesday he never had one.

Meanwhile, Chicago cab drivers have to pass appropriate public chauffeur training courses at Olive-Harvey College and submit to drug and physical tests.

"I would rather pay a few extra dollars knowing the background check was done, knowing the Is were dotted and the Ts were crossed, as opposed to being cheap," Tracey Waugh said.
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