National news stories recently highlighted issues with imposters posing as transportation network company (TNC) drivers and picking up unsuspecting, inattentive passengers throughout the country. In light of this information, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) urges TNC users to ensure their safety by always verifying pre-determined ride details before getting into the vehicle.
Transportation network companies send users important details about their arriving ride, such as the make and model of the vehicle, the vehicle’s license plate number, and the driver’s name and photo. Companies provide these details to protect passengers by ensuring that they get into the right vehicle with an authorized driver, rather than an imposter.
“We’ve seen reports in the national media that some folks see an app’s sign in the window and hop into the vehicle without ensuring they are getting into the car that has been assigned to them. This is a dangerous practice,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “When you are matched with a driver by an app, you know that driver has been screened according to the company’s policies and the laws of your state, and that there is a record of your ride. When you get into one of these imposter vehicles, you are riding off into the unknown and, for some people, the results have been tragic.”
To stay safe, DMV urges TNC users to do the following before getting into a vehicle:
• Ensure the make and model of the vehicle and license plate number match the information provided by the app.
• Compare the photo of the driver to the person behind the wheel.
• If everything matches, open the door and ask the driver who he or she has been assigned to pick up. Just like you have been given the driver’s name, they have been given yours.
• If you feel unsafe for any reason, do not get in the car. Simply tell the driver you have changed your plans and make other arrangements.
If you feel unsafe during a ride, call 911 and report the details to law enforcement.