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Uber wants to pacify drunk passengers with a kids' toy

Uber wants to pacify drunk passengers with a kids' toy

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Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Most Uber rides come and go without any serious altercations between drivers and their unknown passengers. However, there always exists the chance that a driver will pick up an aggressive, potentially violent drunk person. Without a protective barrier between the driver and the passenger, similar to taxis', drivers are left vulnerable and in close quarters. Assault is a huge risk and one that most drivers would prefer not to have. To address it, Uber already has a passenger rating system, but is now also reportedly running a test in Charlotte, North Carolina, that consists of putting a children's toy in drivers' backseats. The toy, a Bop It, distracts drunk riders and, ideally, stops them from assaulting their DDs.

You remember Bop It, right? It debuted in the '90s, and was itself a welcomed tool for parents looking to distract hyperactive children. Players hear a beat that's then accompanied by a voice telling them various commands, like bop it, twist it, and pull it. Whoever is holding the toy has to do those commands before time runs out. Here’s a commercial to jog your memory:

The car service directly markets itself to intoxicated passengers. It partnered with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to study how these apps can counter drunk driving; one study found that Uber rides peaked in Miami at the exact time that historically had the most drunk driving accidents. Ride requests in Pittsburgh also reached a high when the city's bars closed.

Uber hasn’t said whether its Bop It experiment has been successful, but we all know drunk people are really just adult babies, so it will likely at least be a slight distraction. That being said, if Bop It doesn't work, how about Simon? Or a Rubik's Cube?