Rideshare Drivers Call for New Safety Protocols After Man Left Partially Paralyzed in Shooting

A rideshare driver was left partially paralyzed after he was shot in a carjacking in Chicago late last month, and now he’s speaking out about his experience, calling on public officials to do more to protect drivers who feel vulnerable during a recent increase in the number of car thefts in the area.

Ride share drivers gathered Tuesday to demand better safety precautions. Those drivers say carjackers, especially younger individuals, are exploiting security flaws in rideshare apps, and it’s putting their lives in danger.

One of those drivers, Marcus Kelley, is reflecting on the incident that nearly took his life in late February. In what turned into a botched carjacking near Jackson and Pulaski, Kelley was shot multiple times, leaving him partially paralyzed.

“It was two shots. One went through my lip, and the other hit me in my spine, and is now lodged in my neck,” he said. “Doctors said that I won’t be walking again. They really made that clear.”

Kelley says that the carjacking was carried out by a group of teens.

“The oldest one was no older than 16,” he said.

Ride-share drivers are being increasingly targeted by carjackers, according to the Independent Drivers Guild, a group aiming to obtain more protections for their members as carjackings increase in the city.

The group is calling on companies like Uber and Lyft, along with city officials, to do more to protect their drivers.

Among the group’s list of demands includes passenger verification, using mandatory profile photos, as well as a voice-activated panic button.

“These applications can do some really basic, common sense things to stop making apps so appealing to carjackers,” Lenny Sanchez of the Independent Drivers Guild said.

Those demands were left in writing on the front of Uber and Lyft offices in Chicago.

Lyft, in a statement, said that it looks forward to addressing driver safety, and will look to work together with the guild to find solutions to the group’s concerns.

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