The COVID-19 pandemic changed pretty much everything about modern life.
Streaming services, store pickup, and grocery stores with curbside pickup shot to overnight popularity.
Uber Eats is likely not the first profession you think of when you ponder dangerous jobs.
Consider, though, that these drivers interact with strangers every day.
Uber Eats Driver Killed
Uber drivers have to go to areas that may not be safe and put themselves in dangerous circumstances.
Mohammad Anwar, an Uber Eats driver, experienced the danger of driving firsthand.
On March 23, 2021, Anwar became a murder victim on the job.
Anwar and his death have brought several hidden dangers of driving with Uber to light.
The events below bring driver rights, juvenile rights, and law enforcement into question.
Who was the victim in the incident in DC
Here is some vital information on the case.
What Happened to the Uber Eats Driver in DC?
In late March of 2021, Mohammad Anwar was driving for Uber Eats when two girls attacked him with a stun gun.
The attack caused him to crash his vehicle.
His attackers shot him with a Taser as he was driving and took the wheel.
Anwar was flung from the vehicle and onto the sidewalk near Nationals Park.
When first responders arrived on the scene, Mohammad had full-body injuries.
Upon his arrival at the hospital, Mohammad was no longer alive.
Who Was the Driver for Uber Eats?
Mohammad Anwar was 66 years old when he died and had otherwise been in good health.
He immigrated to the United States in 2014 to give himself a better life.
He immigrated from Pakistan but had lived in Kuwait before he arrived in the United States.
He leaves behind a wife, three children, and four grandchildren.
Reports state that his family missed him during the Islamic holidays of Eid and Ramadan.
His wife has remained distraught since the day of the incident.
Victim statements from the trial state Anwar called his grandchildren daily.
He came to America to start his own business.
Related: Lyft driver shoots carjackers
Now that you know about the victim let’s get into who committed the crime.
Who Killed the Uber Eats Driver in DC?
The names of the girls charged with murdering Anwar remain anonymous.
Anonymity is for their safety and to protect them upon release.
The only personal information available to the public is that at least one of the girls is from Southeast DC.
Their identities must remain unknown until they reach age 18.
However, there are a few details available about the two girls and what happened that day:
- They asked Anwar for a ride, and he agreed
- 13-year-old claims she did not mean to kill him
- They stole the vehicle from Anwar
Allegedly, the two perps each have legal records of previous criminal activity.
Both defendants plead not involved.
Were the Suspects Charged in the Crime?
Both of the defendants are currently in jail for the felony murder of Anwar, but as juveniles – not as adults.
Despite the horrific nature of the crime, the judge ruled to try them as juveniles.
Washington DC law states that anyone 13 and under cannot face adult sentencing.
Juvenile detention concentrates on reform and changing destructive behavior.
Many individuals wanted the girls charged as adults due to the extreme nature of the crime.
Family members of the victim allowed the judge to do what he deemed fit.
The idea behind the law is that teenagers are simpler to rehabilitate than adults.
There is more of a chance that the girls will understand the weight of the crime during their sentences.
The possibility of recidivism may also decrease.
How Long Did They Get in Jail?
Each of the perpetrators received the highest sentence possible for juvenile offenders.
They will remain in a juvenile detention center until they reach age 21.
Release before then is possible if they show signs of rehabilitation.
So, what’s the aftermath of this case?
What does it mean for other Uber drivers?
What Does This Case Mean for Uber Eats Drivers Nationwide?
Uber did not change any laws or rules after this tragedy.
Their official statement commended Metropolitan Police and offered condolences to the family.
Uber Eats has not declined in popularity, and drivers have not stopped working for the service.
However, there are a few aspects of this case that have gained traction in the aftermath:
- Maltreatment of service workers
- Juvenile policies and procedures
- Rideshare driver safety
The consensus is that driving for Uber needs to be safer – not only for drivers but for riders, too.
Driving a car is not secure. Traffic deaths account for 38,000 deaths per year.
Yet, millions of people flock to highways every day.
If you compare the delivery profession to that of a standard driver, it seems much safer.
You are not dealing with people in your vehicle, and no-contact delivery is available.
The biggest apparent concern for Uber Eats drivers is other vehicles or traffic.
Case of Raquel Spohn Wehber
Raquel Spohn Wehber, another Uber Eats driver killed on the job, got stabbed during a seemingly routine call.
Spohn fell victim to a juvenile girl and died from stab wounds.
Spohn Wehber was 58 and died in National City, San Diego.
Following the stabbing, several drivers state they refuse to drive at night.
Some may turn down jobs if they feel uncomfortable.
How Many Carjackings Are There in Washington, DC?
Carjackings in Washington DC are rampant in 2021, with upwards of 19 cases involving at least one juvenile.
In the first four months of 2021, at least 102 total carjacking incidents occurred.
Law enforcement attributes the uptick to a few factors:
- The desire for social media attention
- Most of the arrested juveniles are in the Family Services System or abuse victims
- Sense of thrill and risky behavior
- The COVID-19 pandemic
Some perpetrators have been as young as 12 years old.
The DC police formed a task force to cut down on juvenile carjackings.
Many think that systemic reform may be necessary for a permanent fix.
Restaurant owners have had to remind drivers to turn their cars off before entering.
Some carjackers target restaurants for Uber Eats drivers, especially at carry-out counters.
What the Metropolitan Police Department in DC Has to Say:
No one is to blame for carjacking.
In response to this event, DC police have warned citizens of places that carjackings often occur.
They have also explained how to avoid carjacking and who is at risk.
Common carjacking locations include ATMs, gas stations, and garages.
Some unexpected carjacking locales are intersections, exit ramps, and even driveways.
Authorities recommend never driving solo.
They suggest keeping windows rolled up, locking doors, and utilizing the center lane.
Avoid parking in low-lit areas.
Never park near dumpsters or other obstacles that obstruct your view.
Is Uber Eats Safe for Drivers?
For the most part, Uber Eats is a safe profession or side hustle.
Uber implemented a few new regulations to ensure driver safety in 2021, such as:
- Direct contact from the app to authorities
- GPS tracking
- Phone anonymization
- RideCheck to report crashes or strange routes
In the case of Anwar, these features may not have been helpful.
The two girls that attacked him came out of nowhere.
Since this incident, Uber has emphasized double-checking riders and not accepting unsolicited rides.
Uber takes as many measures as it can to keep drivers safe.
Incidents like the murder of Mohammad Anwar are impossible to predict.
Driving for Uber is safe.
The problem lies with the unpredictable nature of human beings.
Related: Is Uber safe?
The murder of father Mohammad Anwar was a tragedy felt nationwide.
As Uber drivers continue to be in high demand, there is a greater emphasis on driver rights and safety.
Lehra Bogino launched a GoFundMe to pay for a traditional Islamic funeral for Anwar.
So far, the effort has raised over $1 million.