New changes to Uber's driver app will make it easier for the hard of hearing to drive for Uber.
While Uber remains in both the national spotlight and the Michigan spotlight for a range of issues related to its insurance coverage, licensing issues, and disputes with traditional cab companies, the multi-billion dollar technology-driven cab company has decided to make its services more easily usable by the deaf and hard of hearing. According to Uber's recent press release:
These updates incorporate suggestions and feedback from our partners as well as the National Association of the Deaf, the nation’s leading non-profit advocating for economic empowerment for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. While the changes themselves are small, we’re confident of the significant impact they can have for drivers and their riders.
Uber drivers who are deaf or heard of hearing can sign onto their Uber apps in select markets and have the option for passengers to contact them by text only (instead of having the option to call as well), when a passenger requests a ride, the Uber driver's phone screen will flash like a strobe light, it will advise riders that the driver is deaf or hard of hearing.
Leaders in the deaf and hard of hearing community praised Uber for its technology innovations. “These Uber app updates showcase a demonstrated commitment to make addressing specific situations faced by the deaf and hard-of-hearing population a priority," said Don Cullen, Director of Public Relaitons for Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. Howard Rosenblum, the CEO of The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) commended Uber on behalf of the NAD "for enhancing their mobile app to improve communications between drivers and passengers, regardless of whether they are hearing or deaf."