In support of the recently enacted “Sami’s Law,” which provides protections for patrons of rideshare services, the Manchester Township Police Department is pleased to announce the installation of awareness signage throughout the township serving as a safety checklist for riders before they enter any vehicles.
On March 29, 2019, Samantha “Sami” Josephson, of Robbinsville, a 21 year old senior at the University of South Carolina, got into a stranger’s car – mistaking it for her Uber. The child safety locks were activated, preventing her from escaping. Sami was kidnapped and murdered by the driver of the fake Uber.
While still grieving the loss of their daughter, Seymour and Marci Josephson set out to share her story and educate others on the importance of ride share safety so that no other family would have to suffer this kind of loss. They created the #WHATSMYNAME Foundation, reminding people to always ask their ride share driver to repeat back their name before getting into the vehicle.
Days after Sami’s murder, South Carolina legislators introduced the “Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act.” New Jersey soon followed, and on June 20, 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed “Sami’s Law” to enhance protections for ride-share passengers. It went into effect on March 20, 2020, and requires ride-share companies to issue additional identification materials to drivers to help passengers correctly identify their vehicle. First, ride-share companies must issue two identifying markers to each driver to be displayed on the front windshield and rear window. Second, ride-share companies must create and provide every driver with two copies of a two-dimensional barcode or other machine-readable code that passengers can scan to confirm the identity of the vehicle. Third, ride-share companies shall produce and issue two credential placards to be displayed on the driver and passenger side rear windows that include the driver’s name, photo, and license plate number.
Drivers who fail to comply with these provisions are subject to a fine of $250, and ride-share companies that fail to comply with these provisions can have their permit to operate in New Jersey suspended or revoked.
Mr. Josephson addressed the Ocean County Police Chief’s Association on February 12, 2020, leading to the launch of the #WHATSMYNAME Ride Share Safety Program in Ocean County. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has distributed 300 SAMI signs to be placed throughout Ocean County. These signs will be displayed in areas frequented by ride-share passengers.
These “Rideshare Zone” signs remind passengers of “SAMI”: Stop to review safety features; Ask what’s my name?; Match the license plate and display; and Inform by sharing ride details. The first of these signs will be installed at Manchester Plaza, Hudson City Savings Plaza, Whiting Commons, Commonwealth Plaza, Emilio’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, and the Manchester Municipal Complex this week.
Anyone who would like a SAMI sign to display at their business is asked to contact Bryan Huntenburg at the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, ext. 2911. For more information on the #WHATSMYNAME Foundation, please visit www.whatsmyname.org.
A similar piece of legislation, also named “Sami’s Law,” was recently introduced at the federal level – cosponsored by Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker in the United States Senate, and led by Representative Chris Smith in the House of Representatives.