CHICAGO (CBS) — Rideshare drivers are a big target for carjackers in Chicago.

One was killed last week by someone he picked up.

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Now drivers are demanding major safety changes from Uber and Lyft, some of them spoke with CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey.

The drivers point out they have to go through a background check process in order to drive, but Uber and Lyft don’t require passengers to verify their identities.
The drivers said it’s a simple change that could help protect them.

Among the chanting today in front of Uber’s Goose Island Hub the name of the 46-year-old ride share driver, Javier Ramos, who was carjacked by his passenger last week and fatally shot in the head.

On Friday, his family said they don’t want any other families to have to feel this pain.

“Uber, how simple is it for you to just have us take a selfie, be the person that they are expecting to be in the car,” asked Hortencia Ramos, the victim’s cousin.

Ramos’ death was the last straw for this group of drivers, in conjunction with the Independent Drivers Guild, who are demanding that Uber and Lyft make changes to their security precautions in light of the surge in carjackings.

Starting with verifying customer identities.

“I think a photo requirements would be good.”

Lemont Liner was carjacked by his Lyft passengers at gunpoint in November. He said he hasn’t been able to get behind the wheel of a ride share since. His passengers identified themselves by the correct name, but there was no picture associated with the profile.

“They used my Lyft rider app to order 12 other rides that night. Then ended up robbing at least one more driver of his car,” Liner said.

CBS 2 reached out to Uber and Lyft specifically about the demand for the companies to integrate some type of ID verification technology into their apps.

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Both sent a long list of their current in-ride safety features. But neither addressed ID verification. Lyft would only say, “We encourage all riders to upload a photo.”

“They should be changing their apps. They should be changing their policies. They should be ensuring safety for everyone,” said Bryant Greening of LegalRideshare, LLC.

The Independent Drivers Guild is also asking for some type of voice activated “panic button” for drivers in emergency situations. Uber said they offer an in-app emergency button. Lyft said they offer “emergency help” supported by the security company ADT.

Statement from Uber:

We take the safety of drivers very seriously, and we continue to explore new safety technology solutions in the app. In partnership with law enforcement, we’ve sent safety information to drivers and are proactively working with Chicago Police to aid their investigation of these horrible crimes, and bring those who perpetrate them to justice.”

Statement from Lyft:

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“Safety is fundamental to Lyft and we are working closely with law enforcement to help keep drivers safe. We appreciate IDG’s proposals to enhance driver safety and we look forward to working together on these issues.”

Megan Hickey