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Recent Uber incidents raise safety concerns

Springfield Police said passengers should always wait inside before their car arrives, as well as double check you are getting in the correct car. (WRSP)

On Friday, a former Uber driver was sentenced to a year of court-ordered supervision and a $500 fine for exposing himself to a passenger back in 2015.

The State's Attorney had asked for jail time, probation, and mandatory counseling.

Along with Friday's sentencing, Uber is facing a new lawsuit from a Chicago passenger claiming she was groped by a driver.

Both incidents, shine a light on safety concerns from the app.

Springfield Police said the app works to ensure the safety of their passengers, but there are things riders should do before stepping into the car.

"Familiarize yourself with the way the company operates," advised Sergeant Kris Rhodes, with the Springfield Police Department.

The Uber website lists features they have to help keep passengers safe, like showing you who your driver is, their picture, and their license plate number.

"Know where you're going, know where they're picking you up at, and then also make sure you let someone else know 'hey I'm getting a ride with Uber, this is who the person is and I'm going from here to there,' that way people know where you're going and where you're going to be," said Rhodes.

Brian Berns has been driving with Uber for two and a half years

He first had to go through a process.

First, you apply, then Uber asks for your personal information, they also do a background check.

“I think every company has their process and I'm sure Uber has a very detailed process, but like anything, a roach will slip through," said Berns.

Berns said the safety of his riders is his top priority and riders should always feel comfortable.

“If they feel unsafe, get out of the car as soon as possible and report the driver to Uber because Uber promotes and suggests if you feel unsafe in a situation tell them about it so they can investigate the situation and possibly not have the Uber driver be on that platform anymore," said Berns.

Joel Woehrmann, a Springfield resident, rides in Uber every day and said he's never had a problem.

"I never get nervous with any of my drivers, they're all awesome," said Woehrmann.

Springfield Police said passengers should always wait inside before their car arrives, as well as double check you are getting in the correct car.

If there is a problem, police said to call them immediately.

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