Three days before their daughter Samantha would have graduated from college, Seymour and Marci Josephson came to Washington with Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), who has teamed up with Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) to urge their colleagues in Congress and Administration officials to enact strong laws and policy protections for ride-share passengers.
“Through their sorrow and unimaginable loss, the Josephsons are courageously working in Sami’s memory to protect ride-share passengers and help prevent future tragedies like hers from occurring,” said Rep. Smith, who has set up the meetings with key officials on both sides of the aisle. “I am working with them to ensure passage of legislative and policy changes to boost passenger safety and crack down on predators posing as ride-share drivers.”
“The legislation we are writing is named after Sami, to set up national safety standards that would save lives,” Rep. Smith stated.
Smith is working to introduce legislation requiring safety measures for easier ride-share vehicle identification by riders. Such measures would include as mandatory front and rear license plates, a scannable ‘quick response’ (QR) code on passenger windows, and illuminated windshield signs visible in the day and at night from a distance of 50 feet.
Samantha Josephson, a 21 year-old student at the University of South Carolina who planned to graduate this month, was tragically killed in March after she got into a car she thought was her Uber ride. She was found dead the next day. The driver, Nathaniel Rowland, has been charged with murder and kidnapping, among other charges.
In response to their daughter’s tragic death, the Josephsons are now seeking to educate ride-share passengers on the best safety practices, using the acronym S-A-M-I (“Stop, Ask, Match, Inform”) to teach riders to be alert to their surroundings, ensure the car they are entering is the correct ride-share vehicle, ask the driver to identify them by name, and tell friends to track their ride.
On Wednesday, the Josephsons are meeting with the following Members of Congress and staff, and Administration officials to advocate for laws and policies that would protect ride-share passengers from predators posing as drivers:
- Heidi King, Deputy Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC)
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
- Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)
- Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
- Staff for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
- Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Ranking Member, House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit
- House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA)
- Staff for Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)
- Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
- Staff for Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chairman of the House Transportation Committee
“We have to emphasize accountability for ride-share companies and drivers,” Smith said. “Legislation to require these safety measures would be a critical step in protecting ride-share passengers,” Smith said.