Samantha Josephson (copy)

Samantha Josephson. Columbia Police Department/Provided

The parents of slain University of South Carolina senior Samantha Josephson, who died last month after getting into a car she mistakenly thought was her Uber, called for ride-booking services to add front license plates and code stickers to boost rider safety.

"We grow up teaching our kids not to get into cars with strangers and what do we do? We get in cars with strangers," Seymour Josephson said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Marci Josephson said people have become too comfortable with ride-booking services.

"We've heard from strangers all over the country and so many people have told us it could have been our daughter, our son, ourselves," Marci Josephson said.

"And I think it's become such a natural phenomenon using Uber," she continued. "But we trust people and you can't. You have to change what the laws are to make it safer."

Seymour Josephson noted that 19 states, including South Carolina, do not require front license plates to make it easier to identify the right ride-booking car. He did not ask the states to change their laws for all cars, but he wants to require that ride-hailing services have front license plates on their cars. 

He also called for adding window stickers with codes that riders can scan with their phones to confirm the car is the right one supposed to pick up a passenger.

The S.C. House passed a bill last week requiring ride-hailing services have lighted logos in car windows.

Marci Josephson reminded riders to ask drivers the name of the person they are supposed to pick up. "It has to be automatic like putting on a seat belt," she said.    

The Josephsons, who called Samantha "Sweet Pea," are following through on a pledge to work for ride-hailing safety made during a vigil for their daughter at USC. 

USC President Harris Pastides also has been promoting ride-booking safety since Josephson's death with a "What's my name?" campaign.

Samantha Josephson's death shocked the nation.

At the end of a night out with friends at a Five Points bar on March 29, the 21-year-old New Jersey native disappeared after she hopped into a black sedan that she thought was her Uber ride. 

Josephson's body was found more than 12 hours after her disappearance by hunters in a Clarendon County field 60 miles east of Columbia.

Nathaniel David Rowland was arrested early March 30 after an officer spotted a car in Five Points matching the one that picked up Josephson.

Blood matching Josephson along with her phone were found in the car, Columbia police said. Child safety locks were activated in the car, which would trap someone in the back seat. 

Rowland, a 24-year-old from New Zion, has a hearing April 22 on murder and kidnapping charges.

Josephson, who received a full scholarship to Drexel University law school next fall, will receive a posthumous degree, Pastides said last week. Her parents plan on attending next month's USC commencement.

"It will be the hardest thing to go," Marci Josephson said. "But we have to go. She wanted us there." 

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Columbia Bureau Chief

Shain runs The Post and Courier's team based in South Carolina's capital city. He was editor of Free Times and has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Charlotte, Columbia and Myrtle Beach.