COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - More than a year after Samantha Josephson was killed after getting in a car she believed was her Uber, her parents have spearheaded a bill through the U.S. House in her honor.
SAMI’s Law makes it illegal for ride-share companies to sell their car logos to anyone who isn’t a driver. It also requires ride-share companies to develop a system that makes it easy for passengers to check they’re getting into the right car before beginning their ride. In addition, it establishes a council within the Department of Transportation to come up with performance standards for ride-share technology.
Now, the bill is headed to the Senate where it needs a simple majority of 51 votes to pass before heading to the president’s desk.
Samantha’s dad, Seymour Josephson, acknowledges how much he and his wife have accomplished in the past year to advocate for ride-share safety and get this bill passed, but he would trade it all to have his daughter back.
“It’s a really bittersweet time and, honestly, I’d rather have Samantha sitting next to me than sitting here talking to you than Congressmen Smith, Pelosi, McCarthy,” he said through teary eyes. “I’d rather not met everyone and would rather have my youngest daughter back with me, so it’s an emotionally hard day.”
He says “every day is a fight” and what carries him through the hard days is the hope that no one else’s child will be trapped in a ride-share with the car locked.
“We do this so no one else has to endure what we are enduring,” Seymour said.”It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.”
Josephson and his wife, Marci, started the #WhatsMyName Foundation in the wake of their daughter’s death and this is bill builds on their partnerships with Lyft, Uber, and college campuses to promote ride-share safety.
“It’s happened more times than people realize. We get emails from individuals where this has happened…an attempt,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of information that this has helped and stopped people from getting into cars.”
In addition to the bill’s sponsor Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), U.S. House Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), who represents the area where Josephson was killed, met with the family and advocated for the passage of “SAMI’s Law.”
“Any time you have incidents that reveal a flaw in the system, we have to do something to correct it,” Clyburn said. “I have no idea why Samantha got in that car other than she thought it was her ride, well it has occurred to me that you get a sign from any kind of ride off the internet and put it in your window.”
Clyburn was optimistic about the bill’s chances to pass the Senate. Seymour Josephson said they’ve already met with key Senators to advocate for the law’s speedy passage, but said he isn’t sure if that’ll happen.
To the Senate Josephson says, “We’ve done everything you’ve asked, now it’s up to you to make this safe for the general public.”
But he is ready to work hard to make sure this bill, which he hopes is the first of at least two, is signed into law. He is used to fighting ever since Samantha was killed.
“Every day is a fight. Every day, we look at pictures of Samantha, but every day, we get up for each other and our other daughter.”