Bipartisan legislation named in honor of Samantha “Sami” Josephson—a Robbinsville native and senior at the University of South Carolina who was kidnapped and brutally murdered in 2019 by a predator pretending to be her Uber driver—was passed today in the House of Representatives.
Sami’s Law—HR 4686—passed in a unanimous voice vote.
The bill will require rideshare companies, like Uber and Lyft, to utilize a verifiable, electronic access system to match drivers and passengers before the ride begins.
“I am especially grateful to the Speaker for her strong personal commitment to this cause and for bringing Sami’s Law to the floor today and who—like leader Kevin McCarthy and others—welcomed Marci and Seymour with deep respect, kindness and total empathy for their loss,” said Rep. Chris Smith.
Josephson’s parents have been advocating for rideshare safety reform for over a year.
“It’s bittersweet,” they said. “It’s been emotional. We’d much rather have Samantha sitting with us here on the couch, but to create a law so nobody else gets hurt is a good thing. It’s a huge step to get it through the House. Now we need to get the Senate to act on it hopefully soon.”
Both Uber and Lyft praised passage of Sami’s Law.
“Given the pain due to the unimageable loss of their daughter, Seymour and Marci have been heroic, tenacious and extraordinarily persuasive,” Smith said. “They have been a critically important part of the often-intense negotiations with multiple stakeholders including Uber and Lyft.”
The National Federation of the Blind, which was instrumental in writing the provision in the bill to ensure that there is a way for a passenger to use a non-visual arrangement to verify the authenticity of the TNC driver, also advocated on behalf of the bill.
The law sets safety requirements for today’s technology and a process for successor technology performance standards, as well as establishing Sami’s Council, a 15-member advisory council which aims to advance safety standards in the rideshare industry.
Sami’s Law also makes it unlawful to sell, or offer for sale, rideshare signage making it more difficult for impostors like Sami’s murderer to pose as a driver; requires a GAO report on the incidence of assault and abuse of both passengers and drivers; and requires that the GAO also examine the nature and specifics of “background” checks conducted by companies and the varying standards set by states regarding background checks.
“Both Marci and I and Sydney are extremely happy and proud to work with Chris Smith, Speak Pelosi and Leader McCarthy, Chairman DeFazio, Graves and Suozzi,” said Seymour Josephson, speaking for his wife and other daughter, Sydney. “We really appreciate the teamwork, having Chris Smith leading the charge and bringing in Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy and Rep. DeFazio, Ranking Member Graves and others. It’s been a whirlwind of ups and downs.”