3,000 Sexual Assaults in Uber Safety Report
Uber delivered their long-anticipated U.S. safety report Thursday, which revealed that there were more than 3,000 sexual assaults, including 229 rapes, reported during its during its 1.3 billion U.S. rides in 2018. The report says that both drivers and riders were attacked, and some of the assaults happened between riders, according to the AP.
The company provided the data in response to criticism over its safety record. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said on Twitter that, “Some people will appreciate how much we’ve done on safety; others will say we have more work to do. They will all be right.” The company had previously disclosed 2,936 reported sexual assaults during 1 billion U.S. trips in 2017, but that number is probably higher as many assaults commonly go unreported.
Both Uber and ride-share competitor Lyft have faced similar safety criticism, and Lyft is currently facing suits from dozens of women. A lawyer for some of the women said, "One of the problems with both of these companies is that they have hidden and have tried to conceal the number of sexual assaults that occur in their vehicles," a charge Uber says is "baseless."
Uber pledges to release a safety report every two years: “Keeping this information in the dark doesn’t make anyone safer," they said. Lyft has also promised it will release one, but would not say when.
I think the important takeaway is that you cannot have this false sense of safety, no matter where you are or what you're doing. Ride-share passengers are easy targets as they have no control where they're being driven and sometimes vulnerable if they're taking an Uber or Lyft because they're intoxicated.
When I Uber, I try to remember to stay off of my phone, watch what's happening around me and take advantage of their location share service where you can send your location to a friend while riding.