Uber tends to get a lot of flack but here’s a story that even the most ardent Uber detractor can get on board with. The ride-sharing company today announced a new initiative whereby it will send out AMBER Alerts to drivers who happen to be located in the vicinity of an abducted child. With over 160,000 Uber drivers (as of January 2015), the program is a smart way to leverage the ubiquity of Uber drivers for a great and important program.
Uber’s press release reads in part:
Starting today and in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), Uber driver-partners in over 180 cities across the U.S. will begin to receive time-sensitive and critical AMBER Alerts specific to their region. When an AMBER Alert is issued, driver-partners will immediately receive geographically targeted information that may help to locate and recover a missing child.
“The AMBER Alert program’s success is built on the ability to reach the right people at the right time with these potentially life-saving messages,” NCMEC’s director of special programs Robert Hoever added. “Uber’s presence in communities all across the country will be an incredible asset and we are proud to team up with Uber to increase the reach of the AMBER Alert program and help bring more missing children home safely.”
Since the AMBER Alert program began in 1996, over 722 children have been rescued specifically due to AMBER Alerts. Typically, such alerts are broadcast to the public via TV and radio stations, digital highway signs, transportation agencies, and even smartphones. And with Uber boasting that its network of drivers now covers 75% of the U.S. population across 180 cities, it’s a good bet that Uber’s new program will be an important tool in the fight against child abductions.