Uber on Thursday unveiled updates to its app to better accommodate deaf drivers.
The special features, being tested in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., are flipped on by drivers. Once activated, drivers will see a flashing light—in addition to an audio notification—to indicate a new trip request. Passengers won’t be able to call deaf or hard-of-hearing drivers; they’ll only be able to relay special pick-up directions by text. Passengers will receive a notification that their driver is deaf or heard-of-hearing, and they’ll get an extra prompt to input their destination.
Thursday’s announcement could be seen as an attempt by Uber to improve its reputation or gain a competitive edge. Disabled passengers have sued Uber in the past for discrimination. One lawsuit by the National Federation of the Blind of California, for example, says an UberX driver stuffed a blind passenger’s guide dog in the trunk and refused…
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