ROBBINSVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – New Jersey is rolling out new rules for rideshare drivers, aimed to protect passengers.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed new legislation Thursday morning known as “Sami’s Law,” after college student Samantha Josephson, who was killed earlier this year after getting into a car she thought was her Uber ride.

In the months since her brutal murder, her parents have been pushing through their grief, working toward this moment.

“We can not begin to imagine the terrible grief the Josephson family has carried. I am well aware that this could have happened to any member of our community, to any New Jersey family, including our own. The problem with senseless tragedies is that they are indeed senseless,” Murphy said. “As rideshare becomes more ubiquitous… we will need to take precautions that a simple convenience does not turn into a dangerous situation, as it did for Sami. That is what we are doing today.”

Web Extra: Gov. Phil Murphy Signs Sami’s Law

“Samantha had no chance. There was no signage, no nothing. She got into a vehicle that was impersonating an Uber,” her father Seymour Josephson said.

The Josephsons tearfully watched the governor signed Sami’s Law in Robbinsville, requiring drivers to show more identification. That’s protection that Sami never had when she mistakenly entered the wrong car in South Carolina earlier this year.

That’s a mistake riders in New Jersey told CBS2’s Christina Fan could happen to anyone.

21-year-old Samantha Josephson (Credit: Columbia Police Dept.)

“I actually Uber home from work a lot late at night. So especially late at night there’s not a lot of people around. It gets scary. You’ve just always got to double check and be careful,” said Jennifer Toron of Hoboken.

The new law not only required rideshare companies to provide reflective signs in the front and rear windows, drivers also need two copies of a barcode that riders can scan to make sure it’s the right car.

“Once you get into a car and you start checking for credentials, it’s too late,” Seymour Josephson said.

Rideshare customers in New Jersey say they’re all for more safety. Many of them are already wary before getting in their rides.

MOREUber Shares Key Safety Tips After Murdered New Jersey Student Reportedly Got In Wrong Car

“I do always make sure I check the license plate. I always make sure that the face matches the driver,” said rider Chris Barbosa.

Josephson’s family says they’re working to get a law passed federally next.

Police said on March 29, Samantha, a 21-year-old University of South Carolina student, was trying to take an Uber ride home from a night out with friends when she mistakenly got in the car of 24-year-old Nathaniel Rowland. Her body, covered with stab wounds, was found deep in the woods more than 65 miles away. Rowland was arrested during a traffic stop the next day with blood and the young woman’s cellphone in his car. He has been charged with kidnapping and murder.

Samantha’s death spawned the #WhatsMyName campaign, which urges rideshare passengers to demand drivers tell them their names before getting in the vehicle.

She was laid to rest in an emotional service in April.


Comments (2)
  1. Nate Raptur says:

    Being sober helps enormously. Nobody mentions that miss Sami was drunk as a skunk when she got in the car. I drive for rideshare. I can’t tell you how many times a drunk person has approached my car and tried to get in.

    Put the responsibility back where it belongs.

    BTW, I have been physically (sexually) accosted twice by riders. Where is my law to let me know more about a rider than their name. They don’t even have to have a photo, or a name. I get lots of initials to pick up.

  2. Peter Staffieri says:

    This law in no way changes anything. It’s the rider’s responsibility to make sure the car and driver match the information uber and lyft provide them.

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