Jersey City just became the first New Jersey town to require ridesharing cars such as Uber and Lyft to have clear, marked signs of identification that are clearly visible to people getting into the vehicle.
The purpose of the legislation is to prevent people who are looking to get a ride from mistakenly getting into the wrong car.
In a tragic and horrific story, a New Jersey woman in South Carolina entered a vehicle she mistakenly believed to be the Uber she had summoned, and ended up being murdered by the predator in the vehicle. This horrible story was the impetus for the new law that has now been implemented in Jersey City.
The story got me thinking. Every day in Lakewood, dozens of hitches are given. All along major roadways in Lakewood, and often on side streets as well, one will see a hitcher with a thumb out hoping for a ride. It is a wonderful, beautiful thing, but is also troubling. How easy would it be for a predator or anyone with malicious intent to pose as a regular person and get an unsuspecting individual into his or her car?
Let’s face it: not everyone who dresses like most of Lakewood does is necessarily an upstanding person. There are unfortunately sick people with evil intentions everywhere. I am not saying this to stir fear in you, but rather so that we can face reality as it is. Predators will go out of their way to snatch one of their victims. They will pose as regular members of a community and swoop in to seize upon their prey. It could happen in Lakewood too.
So, I know what you’re thinking – it hasn’t happened, so why are you making issues?
My response to that is, why wait for a tragedy to rectify a legitimate problem? Just as you wouldn’t wait for a fire to occur to change the batteries in your fire alarm, we shouldn’t wait for a horrible incident to force us into enforcing ways to protect ourselves.
You would never get into a stranger’s vehicle without some sort of validation as to their identity and safety record, such as the background checks that ridesharing services require of their drivers. So why would you get into a stranger’s car, trusting him simply because he dresses similarly to you? It’s not sensible.
I know this won’t be received well, but it’s time to put some safeguards in place when it comes to hitching or stop hitching altogether. We shouldn’t be so stupid as to wait for a tragedy to occur for changes to be made