Uber adds text to 911 feature in some Kentucky counties

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA (WTVQ)- You’ve heard the ride share horror stories. Now, Uber is offering a new safety feature it says will keep riders and drivers safer.

The company says, starting Tuesday, users will be able to text 911 in several counties across the country, including several in Kentucky.

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Those are: Carlisle, Daviess, Edmonson, Marshall, Anderson, Fayette, Jessamine,
Garrard, Harrison, Lincoln, Lee, Greenup, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Franklin, Scott, Barren, Marion, Metcalfe, and Oldham.

Riders and drivers will be able to access the feature inside the Uber app’s safety toolkit.

While on a trip, users can choose to text or call 911. First responders prefer calling, but sometimes riders and drivers can’t so they’ll be able to text instead.

“In an emergency, every second counts. This new addition to the app will allow Uber users to reach out to 911 in situations where they may not be able to make a phone call,” said Sachin Kansal, Uber’s Head of Safety Products.

The feature automatically adds trip details into a text, including current location.

According to the company, dispatchers will be able to keep texting with the person until police make contact.

“We are always exploring ways to help make travel safer,” said Kansal, “After piloting this feature in Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Indiana we are excited to expand it into more regions where text to 911 is available.”

Text to 911 is only available in some areas, according to the FCC.

If text to 911 is not available, Uber says the user will receive a response clarifying text to 911 is not available.

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!