Automotive

Published on May 31st, 2019 | by Subhash Nair

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What Should Grab Do To Increase Driver Safety?

Grab has become essential to many Malaysian’s lives, whether you use the service as a passenger or to pay your bills as a driver. And while, as Malaysians, we’re proud of their accomplishments, we can’t deny that there are still concerns they’ve not addressed. This is particularly aimed at driver and passenger safety.

Just a few days ago, a Grab driver was murdered in Sabah. Earlier today, another driver in Kuching was seriously assaulted by a passenger. Last year, one was murdered in Selayang.

If you really think about it, these are the nightmare scenarios that made people skeptical about ride hailing in the first place. If you’re a Grab driver, you’re under intense pressure to accept rides. Many leave on ‘Auto-Accept’ for new jobs. Now, imagine someone with the intent to rob or murder you has the power to get you to drive to a secluded area.

Of course, Grab have put some measure in place to improve driver safety. But the fact that drivers are still being murdered show just how ineffective these can be.

Here are my suggestions

Additional Filtering – card payments only for foreigners

Not to sound anti-immigrant or anything, but there are foreigners who come here to work hard and there are those who end up being a menace to society. Most of the murder and robbery cases cited were carried out by foreign suspects.

To filter out between productive members of society and those who live on the fringes, Grab should make it mandatory for card payments only.

Biometric/Password Protected payments

Think about the loopholes, like using someone else’s phone to order a Grab. Many students have their parents hailing their Grab rides. A criminal could easily exploit this as well.

Say a phone is stolen, but is unlocked at the time of the theft. This would allow the thief enough time to order a Grab from where he is to a secluded area. Grab payments are made automatically without the need to verify biometrics or using a password. Prompting verification before payment (as is customary on just about any other online transaction) would at least put a barrier in place.

Panic Button with selfie recorder

We know the police have an app in place. But Grab really should volunteer resources to better integrate emergency services to drivers and passengers. As it stands, there is a ‘Notify Security’ button that is linked to a private security company. It’s a more than 2-step process that probably won’t work so well in preventing emergencies.

A panic button that immediately streams selfie video to either the private security firm or the police might serve as a deterrent for the criminal. He’s immediately made aware that the police know what he looks like and it gives the driver a ‘weapon’ to wield.

Blacklisted areas

We’re hearing that Grab drivers are already circulating ‘black areas’ to avoid after hours. Perhaps Grab can work with these drivers as well. Disabling auto accept after hours or from requests in these ‘blacklisted areas’ might give the drivers a chance to evaluate the situation for themselves. Substantially increasing fares and limiting it to card payments only for journeys to/from blacklisted areas may also make things safer.

What other suggestions do you have?


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