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Uber testing new 911 alert button in app in Pinellas County

Posted at 2:44 AM, Aug 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 01:13:38-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Heather White works at Daddy Kool Records in downtown St. Petersburg. She plays in the city and often uses the Uber app to get around but admits to having some sketchy ride-sharing moments.

“There have been a couple of times when I felt uncomfortable,” White says. 

So she is all in favor of a new feature Uber is testing in the Tampa Bay area.

Riders in Pinellas County now have a 911 option on their app. It is being tested in a few other places around the country.

Uber chose Pinellas County because of its advanced 911 technology.

When riders utilize the new 911 feature, police can immediately locate an Uber cars’ make, model and location. 

“I like that it gives the rider peace of mind,” says White.

Believe it or not, Uber drivers like the 911 feature, too.

William Hood has driven people around — first in a taxi, now for Uber — for more than 20 years. He sees accidents and crimes. He even had a guy die in his backseat.

Hood supports any way for 911 to respond quicker and faster with pinpoint accuracy.

“Now if you see something,” says Hood, “you can just push a button.”

The Uber alert is speedy because it immediately connects to Pinellas County's 911 system.

First responders say more than 10,000 lives could be saved if they had just one extra minute of alert time.