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Lyft, Uber drivers in Seattle push for additional safety measures

An Uber driver parks at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 2016.
Ted S. Warren
The Associated Press
An Uber driver parks at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 2016.

After several drivers have been killed in recent months in King County, including one just last week, advocates are calling for more to be done to keep Uber and Lyft workers safe.

Kerry Harwin is with the statewide Drivers Union that represents app-based workers in Washington state. He said his organization is helping raise funds for the family of Amare Geda. The 52-year-old driver and father of two was recently shotin Seattle's SODO neighborhood in the early morning hours. Geda was originally from Ethiopia.

But the union is also thinking about broader solutions.

“We think that the best way to support rideshare drivers is to make sure that they are paid at a level that means they don't have to be working a second job in SODO at 3 A.M., making sure that they have access to health insurance, so that should an incident happen, they are taken care of,” Harwin said.

Ahmed Mumin of the Seattle Rideshare Drivers Association said his group is pushing for more technology.

“The drivers are not getting any kind of help when it comes to keeping them safe, specifically, you know, when it comes to cameras,” Mumin said.

"We have an issue where people are using fake information to enter the Uber or Lyft platform. And therefore, maybe they have a fake name, they have fake email, fake numbers," he said. "And they know if they commit a crime, there is no chance for them to be caught. And therefore, the drivers need a camera in their vehicle."

Mumin would also like to find a way for drivers to be able to quickly contact law enforcement in case of an emergency. He said his group plans to support candidates for local office who prioritize safety.

Community members are currently raising funds to help with the costs of Geda's funeral in Ethiopia. Geda is the second driver to be shot in Seattle this year.

Seattle police have arrested an 18-year old suspect charged with killing Geda. They say the crime appears to have been random and that the suspect was not a passenger.

Lilly Ana Fowler covers social justice issues investigating inequality with an emphasis on labor and immigration. Story tips can be sent to