Parents worry about teenagers’ safety using cabs

New York: Many parents are concerned about safety of their children who use ride-sharing services like Uber and Ola for going to college or live independently in a new city, say researchers.

The study showed the top concerns of parents involve driving safety and risk of sexual assault by drivers. In addition, according to one in eight parents, their minor children have used a ride-sharing service despite rules banning it.

“Ride-sharing services are increasingly used as a convenient way to get around for adults and may potentially be an attractive option for teens with busy schedules and social lives,” said Gary Freed, paediatrician at the University of Michigan in the US.

“Company policies prohibit minors from riding without an adult, but these rules can be difficult to enforce and it may be challenging to verify a rider’s age,” Freed said.

The findings showed two-thirds of parents shared concerns that a ride-sharing driver might sexually assault their teenager. This concern was more common among parents for daughters than sons (79 per cent versus 55 per cent).

Further, the concern was more common among parents for teenagers aged 14-17 compared with those aged 18 (69 per cent versus 58 per cent).

Drunk driving or driver being distracted by phones and teenagers not wearing seat belts were the factors that worried parents regarding safety of children. Besides, travelling with a friend and not alone, teenagers should ask the driver to stop the car or call 911 if they feel they are in any danger.

Freed noted parents may also consider using technology to track the route of their children to make sure the ride goes as planned.