URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — An Illinois mother is making it her mission to fight for better safety when it comes to rideshare drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft.

Marla Flowers Rice’s son, 29-year-old Kristian Philpotts, was shot and killed during a robbery while he was driving three teenagers in Urbana. His mother has been giving suggestions to Lyft on how to improve their safety.

“Their safety features have not been updated since July of last year,” Rice said. “It needs to be improved.

But she said that nothing has changed since her son’s death.

“Lyft, in my opinion, it seems like they don’t care about their drivers or their families,” Rice said.

Since her son’s death, Rice has reached out to the company, but said she has gotten the standard “We’ll get back to you” response.

“They keep releasing this generic message saying ‘Oh we’re working daily on enhancing our safety features,'”

Lyft driver Brad Stephens disputes that claim.

“For probably three years, there has not been any change to make it safer for the drivers,” Stephens said.

He too has experienced safety issues when picking up passengers.

“They became very violent,” Stephens recalled of one incident. “I’ve had people kick my vehicles, I’ve had people take swings at me, try to hit me through the vehicle, I’ve had people threaten my life over it. I have contacted Lyft about it and Lyft has done absolutely nothing.”

Rice said her son’s murder was not the first bad experience he had with the rideshare app. She said he was carjacked in December and when he ran away, he received a text from the company asking if he needed help since his car did not reach the destination.

“He replied ‘Yes’ on that one” Rice said. “A generic message came back and said ‘Your reply cannot be forwarded.’ That app malfunctioned when he needed help.”

Rice said that when her son was shot, he received a similar message, asking if he needed help since the vehicle was not moving. By that time, it was too late.

“That app, they say they are doing updates,” Rice said. “That’s not true.”

Stephens said that when he reached out to Lyft for his experience, their response was to remove unruly passengers from getting him as a driver again.

“The problem is ‘What about the next Lyft driver that tries to pick up that person?'” Stephens said.

Both Rice and Stephens said they have given suggestions to the company on ways to improve safety, like a panic button in the car to alert law enforcement, bulletproof glass in Lyft-owned cars or better identification of passengers.

“By being able to see who you’re picking up and it being that person. Second, background checks to the person,” Stephens listed as a few suggestions. “We have to do background checks, they should have to do background checks also.”

Both said they have yet to hear back about their suggestions.

Before his death, Kristian Philpotts finished his master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University and was planning to attend the University of Illinois’ College of Veterinary Medicine. His mother is now raising money via GoFundMe for an endowment for other students going into a field with animals so they don’t have to take a second or third job to pay for school.

A Lyft representative responded to our request for comment with the following statement:

“Since day one, we’ve built safety into every part of the Lyft experience. We are committed to doing everything we can to help protect drivers from crime, and will continue to take action and invest in technology, policies and partnerships to make Lyft as safe as it can be.”

Lyft safety policies.