Grab announces app updates, partnerships to bolster safety standards for its drivers

The initiatives were announced at the company's Health and Safety Carnival event held at The Star Performing Arts Centre on Oct 16, 2018. PHOTO: GRAB

SINGAPORE - Ride-hailing firm Grab rolled out a number of initiatives designed to improve safety standards for both commuters and drivers on Tuesday (Oct 16), including enhancements to the app and training programmes for drivers and delivery partners.

The initiatives were announced at the company's Health and Safety Carnival event held at The Star Performing Arts Centre in Buona Vista.

From Tuesday, Grab drivers will receive notification reminders to rest when the app detects that they have been driving for too long.

Drivers will be assigned a fatigue score, which is calculated based on several real-time metrics such as the driver's age, how many hours they have been driving and how many jobs they have accepted.

When a driver's fatigue score exceeds a certain threshold, the app will send them a notification reminding them to take a break.

The fatigue score model will be improved as drivers continue to use the app through artificial intelligence and machine learning, in which computer systems "learn" on their own by identifying patterns in data.

Commuters will also be able to exercise greater control over the personal data that the Grab app collects about them through a new privacy centre feature.

By the fourth quarter of this year, passengers may be required to provide additional information for verifying their identity as well. This measure is intended to protect the safety of the drivers, such as in situations where female drivers get harassed by passengers.

Currently, Grab drivers are required to take a selfie when logging into the app to confirm that the car is being driven by a verified driver.

Aside from new app features, Grab also announced partnerships with various government agencies, such as the Health Promotion Board (HPB), to implement optional training and educational programmes for its private hire drivers and delivery partners, including riders, cyclists and personal mobility device users.

For example, Grab and HPB will provide free voluntary health screening and medical consultations and is aiming to screen 1,000 drivers and delivery partners in the first year of the partnership. More screenings may be provided if there is a strong demand.

Grab will also provide training in life-saving skills to its drivers and partners, such as how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs), through the Dispatcher-Assisted First Responder (Dare) programme. The company aims to train 500 drivers and partners in the first year of a partnership with the Ministry of Health's Unit for Pre-hospital Emergency Care.

Mr Lim Kell Jay, head of Grab Singapore, said: "This programme, we believe, will literally save lives. We want to equip as many of our driver partners as possible with the capability to be a first responder."

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