Uber trials use of Bop It toys to curb attacks on drivers
Drunk taxi passengers aren’t exactly a new phenomena, but Uber has come up with a novel solution. In the US city of Charlotte in North Carolina, the company is reportedly experimenting with children’s toys to divert potentially aggressive intoxicated passengers.
“An intoxicated rider who is engaged in something interesting is less likely to be irritable and aiming aggression at the driver,” Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer told The Guardian.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of the Bop It, the toy was first released in the 1990s and consists of a number of knobs and buttons to pull, twist and “bop” on command. The idea is that leaving the toy on the back seat will occupy intoxicated passengers and prevent them from distracting, and potentially assaulting, drivers.
In January, a woman in Miami was filmed attacking her driver, while in November 2015 a man in California was filmed and consequently sued for beating up his driver. Personally, a noisy toy doesn’t seem like the subtlest tool to prevent driver distractions, but in terms of assault, it could be a simple way to deflate potentially aggressive situations before they escalate.