Amsterdam, Uber agree on traffic safety measures after fatal accidents

The municipality of Amsterdam and Uber concluded a so-called Social Charter in which they made agreements on road safety, data sharing, and sustainability, among other things. The Social Charter is the outcome of the Uber Task Force he municipality established in February following a number of fatal accidents in the city involving Uber drivers, the city said in a press statement.

The Social Charter states that Uber will join the city's Road Safety Coalition by the end of this year. The members of this coalition all have to adhere to joint agreements made about the safe use of smartphones in traffic. They also work on further measures to make traffic safer. Uber also agreed to take road safety into account when developing financial incentives to reward loyal drivers.

An academic institution will be commissioned to do an independent investigation into the satisfaction, merits, flexibility and working hours of Uber drivers. A recent study by Oxford University on Uber drivers in London will be used as an example. The study will be launched before the end of this year, Amsterdam and Uber agreed. 

To prevent fraud with Uber accounts, Uber will use implement its already existing face verification system in Europe. And to promote sustainability, Uber promised to have at least 750 emission-free vehicles running through its app by December next year. 

Finally, Uber agreed to share aggregated data with the municipality each quarter from the fourth quarter of this year. This data is intended to give the municipality more insight into the Uber operations in the city. Data will include the number of Uber drivers and passengers active in the city, the average journey distances, and places where the most passengers are picked up and dropped off.

"Uber wants to be a good partner for Amsterdam", Thijs Emondts, General Manager of Uber Benelux, said in a statement. "That is why we are taking concrete steps to jointly improve road safety, for example by sharing data and joining the Road Safety Coalition. We'll start immediately with the implementation."

In December and January four people were killed in three accidents involving Uber drivers in Amsterdam. A 9-year-old girl was also seriously injured in a hit-and-run with a taxi, though for which company the driver works was not revealed. Following these accidents, Uber announced that it is increasing the minimum age for its drivers from 18 to 21 years and that all its drivers will  have to compete a mandatory road safety course.