PERS is a Must for Rideshare and Delivery Driver Safety

PERS is a Must for Rideshare and Delivery Driver Safety

When you think of a personal emergency response solution, you may initially think about an elderly person wearing a medical alert pendant, bracelet, or watch. It makes sense that a senior might come to mind as these life-saving devices are popular with older adults. While these emergency button alarms are fantastic for the elderly who want to live independently for as long as possible, the very same panic button alarms are just as helpful for anyone who works with the public in a way that might put them at risk of certain dangers. Rideshare and delivery drivers fall into this category.

Driving a vehicle for Lyft, Uber, or other rideshare companies puts a person in a very unique position: they are alone in their vehicle, driving at all hours of the day and night, going to random places throughout the city or town, and picking up strangers to take them to wherever they need to go. Each action, taken by itself, can have a touch of danger or worry. But all of those actions, taken together, can make anyone quite nervous about their safety.

That’s where the personal emergency response system comes in.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, taxi drivers are 20 times more likely to be murdered on the job than other workers.1 That number doesn’t even come close to the rate of assaults drivers face. Those sobering statistics underscores just how much danger rideshare drivers can be in while they are working.

But by using a PERS for protection, a driver can find strong peace of mind. The lightweight device is meant to be worn on your body, and thus goes with you anywhere you go. A PERS with GPS capability means that the monitoring center can find you no matter where you are and send help directly to your location. The speaker in the device itself allows you to speak to someone who can help within moments of pressing the button – and the agent who answers will stay on the line with you until they are certain help has arrived.

And the devices are even showerproof, which means that they can withstand being out in the rain for a little while – a really nice reassurance for a driver who winds up with a broken-down car on the side of the road on a stormy night!

Why is PERS a Must for Rideshare Driver Safety?

While there are a few safety features for those who hire rideshare drivers to take them somewhere, the drivers themselves are in a much more vulnerable position – quite literally. In most cases, the rider they pick up is sitting in the seat behind them. That makes the driver more vulnerable to theft and assault. And unfortunately, such things do occur.

In fact, Lyft reported more than 4,000 incidents of assault over the span of three years, while Uber reported almost 6,000 incidents during the same time period. A review of the data found that among the Lyft rides, 38% of the assaults were reported by drivers, while 42% of Uber drivers reported assaults.2

And in cases of serious sexual assault, 45% of the reports were from drivers who were attacked by riders, according to NBC News.3

And sometimes, the danger doesn’t come from inside the vehicle, but from outside of it.

Two rideshare drivers in Philadelphia were shot in separate incidents while driving their vehicles. In one situation, a Lyft passenger was shot at by someone as they got into the vehicle but the driver wound up shot. In the second situation, an Uber driver was injured from outside the vehicle in what seemed to be a random shooting; he was admitted to the hospital with head wounds.4

Even if no assault occurs, there are other things drivers must worry about. They might pick up intoxicated individuals from clubs or bars. Not only is there the chance that someone who has been drinking too much could become belligerent, there is also the possibility that the rider could suffer a medical emergency. The driver must be alert for this and ready to assist if something does go wrong.

Drivers also have to deal with riders who might be in a terrible mood and want to take out their frustrations, either verbally or physically. They might encounter individuals escaping domestic abuse situations, people who are armed, or simply those who have called for a rideshare car to take them to the hospital or clinic due to being extremely ill and unable to drive themselves.

In any of these cases, emergencies could occur and situations could quickly escalate. It’s important to be able to protect yourself and others, and an emergency alert system with GPS and 2 way communication allows drivers to do just that.

What about PERS for Delivery Driver Safety?

Though it might seem like working as a delivery driver is safer than driving for a rideshare service, that might not be the case. Making deliveries comes with its own set of dangers, including the fact that you might be approaching strange residences in unknown neighborhoods late at night to deliver food or goods that the occupant has ordered. This could take you all over town, including to some not-so-safe areas. But even the areas that seem safe can surprise you with emergencies you never saw coming. You also might be carrying cash, making you a target.

Recently in Pittsburgh, a pizza delivery driver took an order to an address that turned out to be a dead-end street with no house in sight. When he opened his door to look around, he was attacked by three people who assaulted him, held him at gunpoint, demanded his money, and pushed him into the trunk of his car.

Some emergency response solutions have built-in GPS and fall detection, so responders can locate a person in trouble who may not be able to speak. If the device senses a fall, it sends an alert even if the button alarm was not pressed.  That’s an additional level of safety and peace of mind.

Why is PERS Better than Calling 911?

Calling 911 can be difficult to do when you are in the midst of an emergency situation, and it assumes you still have access to your phone. PERS devices are worn right on your person as a pendant or belt clip.

Have you ever noticed in recordings of 911 calls, it’s often not the person who is being assaulted or otherwise involved in an emergency who is calling? It’s often the bystanders who are talking to the 911 operator. That makes sense, because someone who is in the midst of a serious emergency may not have the time or ability to make that call.

So if you are alone in your vehicle on the way to make a delivery or carrying passengers in the back, things can happen in the blink of an eye – and while you might not be able to reach your phone immediately to call 911, you can press the button on a personal emergency response system that you are wearing. Press the button on the alert pendant or watch and get help fast!

And remember that a PERS with GPS gives even better peace of mind, as you don’t even have to know where you are. The monitoring center can locate you in an emergency.

PERS Can Protect Everyone

Remember, it might not be you who has a medical emergency or other problem. It could be the very people you are driving to their destination or the person receiving the food or other goods you are delivering.

A good example of this happened in Massachusetts, where a delivery driver named Sophia Furtado discovered her customer lying on the ground at the foot of the steps, bleeding from a gash on her head. If Furtado had been wearing a PERS, she would have been able to call for help with the touch of a button while she set about doing what she could to help the woman until emergency services arrived.

From tragic accidents to deliberate assaults, rideshare and delivery drivers are particularly vulnerable. Don’t get caught out in the middle of nowhere – or even in the dead-center of town – with a serious problem and no way to summon help fast. While emergency button alert devices are usually marketed to the elderly who can rely on them for excellent fall protection and peace of mind, these life-saving button alarms can benefit absolutely anyone, no matter their age and no matter their situation. If there is an emergency to be dealt with, Alert1 Medical Alerts has your back, 24/7/365.