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Kalamazoo raises safety questions with Uber

Posted at 10:36 PM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 00:37:11-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The suspect in Saturday's deadly shooting leaving six people dead in Kalamazoo, Michigan was an Uber driver, the company confirmed.

Jason Dalton was reportedly driving Uber passengers in between the shootings which happened at three different locations.

Uber has grown since it first started offering services. It picked up its one-billionth rider on New Years Eve, but with the Kalamazoo shooting, some have safety questions.

"It kind of makes me question who is behind the wheel now, I'm going to be kind of concerned the next time I get in the car with someone" said Kayla Caviglia.

There are already safety precautions built into an Arizona law passed last year by Governor Doug Ducey. The law requires certain things from drivers using a ridesharing service: drivers must have a background check, have a $250,000 liability insurance, get vehicle inspections, and there is a zero-tolerance policy with drugs or alcohol.

In Michigan, Dalton initially passed the background check.

"No background check process would have flagged and anticipated this situation," said Joe Sullivan, the Chief Security Advisor with Uber in a phone call Monday.

He says Uber is not planning on changing its background check policy.

Some Tucsonans consider what happened with Dalton, an isolated incident saying they will continue to use the service.

"It really hasn't changed the way I feel about using Uber. I've used Uber many times to get home safely if I've been having a drink or two," said Patrick Freel.

"There's obviously some insecurities about it, but I don't mind," said Korey Banesh.

The Kalamazoo shooting is not the first incident of accused wrongdoing by an Uber driver. A man in Scottsdale was arrested last month for inappropriately touching a 16-year-old Uber passenger.

However, drivers are also at risk. A high profile example comes from California where a viral video shows a man hitting an Uber driver from the backseat. The passenger was identified as a Taco Bell executive named Benjamin Golden.

As for safety using a service like Uber, you can always call 911 during or after the ride. Also, you can call Uber with a complaint. Uber says they did received several complaints about Dalton on Saturday, including one person claiming he was driving erratically. Dalton had a fairly good rating as an Uber driver. Uber says it was 4.73 out of five.