Amid disability lawsuits, Uber launches features for deaf drivers

by Sean Riley

Venture Beat

On-demand ride provider Uber is working on an update to its app in order to cater specifically to “deaf and hard-of-hearing” drivers. The update is “now being tested in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.,” Uber told us.

The timing for today’s announcement is interesting. Uber has recently faced lawsuits for not complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act — a law that Uber has claimed to be exempt from.

At the heart of this issue rests a familiar debate: Is Uber a transportation company or a technology company? Although an Uber spokesperson stated that its app “was built to expand access to safe, reliable transportation options for all,” the company argues that it can’t be held responsible for enforcing compliance in the same ways a traditional taxi company does.

Obviously, at least some disabled passengers see things differently.