On Thursday 20, 2019, Gov. Phil Murphy signed what sponsors called Sami’s Law, named for Samantha Josephson, a New Jersey woman studying at the University of South Carolina who was killed after she got into a car she thought was her Uber.
Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft operating in New Jersey must start identifying vehicles with signs and require drivers to carry barcode ID cards, under a new safety law prompted by the killing of a student who mistakenly got into the wrong car.
Nathaniel David Rowland, 25, was charged with Josephson’s murder after an investigation found her phone and blood in the Impala he was driving. Surveillance footage showed Rowland pulling up to the Bird Dog bar just after 2 a.m. and Josephson getting into the car. He used childproof locks to prevent her from escaping before he killed her.
“No parent should have to experience the loss of a child, especially due to a lack of common-sense safety measures for ride-share services,” said Assemblyman Daniel Benson, D-Mercer, one of the bill sponsors.
Ride-sharing companies are also required to provide every driver with two copies of a barcode or “machine-readable” code unique to that driver and vehicle. The code must be scanned to confirm the driver’s identity and must be displayed on the driver’s- and passenger’s-side rear windows while the driver is logged into the company’s digital network.
Credential placards will be created by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and issued to drivers and will include the driver’s first name, a high-resolution color photo of the driver, the vehicle’s license plate number and the state that issued the plate.
USC student Samantha Josephson was murdered after police say she got into her accused killer’s car, mistakenly believing it was the Uber she’d called for. USA TODAY
Drivers must return the signs and identification cards to the ride-sharing company within 30 days after they stop working with the company.
Drivers could face fines of $250 if the identifying markers are not displayed, and they can be locked out of the digital identification system if they failed to display the placard or identifying markers at least three times.
If Uber or Lyft or any other ride-sharing company does not issue any of the items or fails to stop a driver who did not display the proper items, the Motor Vehicle Commission will be forced to suspend or revoke the company’s permit to operate in New Jersey.