Uber reports more than 3,000 sexual assaults on 2018 rides

Daniel Fowler
December 6, 2019

The firm also said reports of assaults on passengers overlooked risks for drivers as riders accounted for roughly half of the accused.

RALIANCE Business: Uber is teaming up with RALIANCE, leaders in sexual violence awareness and prevention, to create a resource center that will help companies adopt consistent, fact-based standards and strategies and improve how they respond to, prevent, and publicly report on sexual violence.

Uber, which in the past has faced criticism over safety on its platform and has been repeatedly hit with lawsuits over driver misconduct, previous year committed to releasing a safety report in a sign of a cultural turnaround under its new CEO. In its report, it said one million drivers failed to pass the screening test in 2017 and 2018 and more than 40,000 were removed from the app after extra screening layers.

Twenty women filed lawsuits against Lyft in San Francisco on Wednesday, following another 14 complaints filed in September.

The company has introduced other safety features to combat incidents included in the report, including the introduction of a "panic button" for use in instances of an emergency.

Uber first pledged to release the report almost a year ago in response to a CNN investigation that found at least 103 Uber drivers in the United States had been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing their passengers in the previous four years. Sexual assaults commonly go unreported. "Some people will appreciate how much we've done on safety; others will say we have more work to do". The company said that "people have the right to know about the safety records of the companies they rely on every day".

Uber said it will release safety reports on a bi-yearly basis moving forward. However data obtained from a public information request show that in Chicago alone more than 300 drivers were banned from Uber, Lyft and rival Via for allegations of sexual misconduct between January 2016 and August 2019.

Along with Uber, Lyft has pledged to release a transparency report of its own.

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"As a effect of her assault, they offered her a refund of her ride", Mr Bomberger said.

"The bottom line is that Lyft does not take safety of their passengers seriously, and never has", Mike Bomberger, who is representing the 34 women, told a news conference.

Uber operates almost 4 million trips every day in the U.S. alone.

Sexual assault in the report is defined broadly into categories including non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part, attempted non-consensual sexual penetration, non-consensual touching of a sexual body part, non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part and non-consensual sexual penetration.

The report stated that Uber rides were involved in 97 reported crashes in 2017 and 2018, resulting in 107 deaths.

It also detailed 10 fatal physical assaults in 2017 and nine in 2018 - eight victims were riders, seven were drivers using Uber's app, and four were third parties such as bystanders.

Uber plans to release these reports every two years, and hopefully the changes it's making, as well as a focus on dealing with these kinds of issues, means there's a lot less to talk about in the next one.

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