MANCHESTER – Some new signs have been popping up around the township. Township Police Capt. Todd Malland issued a department statement regarding the Sami’s Law Rideshare Awareness signs and their purpose.
The signs will bring awareness to the recently enacted “Sami’s Law,” which provides protections for patrons of rideshare services. Manchester Police were pleased to see the installation of that signage throughout the township serving as a safety checklist for riders before they enter any vehicles.
The law was named after Samantha “Sami” Josephson of Robbinsville. On March 29, 2019, the 21-year-old senior at the University of South Carolina, got into a stranger’s car – mistaking it for her Uber.
The child safety locks were activated which prevented her from escaping. Sami was kidnapped and murdered by the driver of the fake Uber.
While still grieving the loss of their daughter, Seymour and Marci Josephson set out to share her story and educate others on the importance of ride share safety so that no other family would have to suffer this same kind of loss.
The Josephsons created the #WHATSMYNAME Foundation, reminding people to always ask their ride share driver to repeat back their name before getting into the vehicle.
Days after Sami’s murder, South Carolina legislators introduced the “Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act.” New Jersey followed soon afterwards, and on June 20, 2019, Gov. Phil Murphy signed “Sami’s Law” to enhance protections for ride-share passengers. It went into effect this year on March 20.
The law requires ride-share companies to issue additional identification materials to drivers to help passengers correctly identify their vehicle.
First, ride-share companies must issue two identifying markers to each driver to be displayed on the front windshield and rear window.
Second, ride-share companies must create and provide every driver with two copies of a two-dimensional barcode or other machine-readable code that passengers can scan to confirm the identity of the vehicle.
Third, ride-share companies shall produce and issue two credential placards to be displayed on the driver and passenger side rear windows that include the driver’s name, photo, and license plate number.
Those drivers who fail to comply with these provisions are subject to a fine of $250, and ride-share companies that fail to comply with these provisions can have their permit to operate in New Jersey suspended or revoked.
Seymour Josephson addressed the Ocean County Police Chiefs Association on Feb. 12, leading to the launch of the #WHATSMYNAME Ride Share Safety Program in Ocean County.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has distributed 300 SAMI signs to be placed throughout Ocean County. These signs will be displayed in areas frequented by ride-share passengers.
These “Rideshare Zone” signs remind passengers of “SAMI”: Stop to review safety features; Ask what’s my name?; Match the license plate and display; and Inform by sharing ride details.
The first of these signs were installed at Manchester Plaza, Hudson City Savings Plaza, Whiting Commons, Commonwealth Plaza, Emilio’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, and the Manchester Municipal Complex.
Anyone who would like a SAMI sign to display at their business should contact Bryan Huntenburg at the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, ext. 2911. For additional information on the #WHATSMYNAME Foundation, visit whatsmyname.org.
A similar piece of legislation, also named “Sami’s Law,” was recently introduced at the federal level – cosponsored by U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker and led by Representative Chris Smith in the House of Representatives.
How To Help
You can help the organization by taking part in the #WhatsMyName 5K run/1 mile walk on Sept. 26, 2020. The event is from 9-11 a.m. at Gazebo Park in Robbinsville, NJ.