Lyft and Uber Sexual Assaults
Rideshare giant Uber recently came out with its first safety report covering the years 2017 and 2018. One disturbing statistic found concerning physical and sexual violence was that there were 3,045 sexual assaults during Uber rides in the United States in 2018.
Uber claims that these sexual assault incidents, while obviously distressing, are extremely rare. The company asserts that the vast majority of the 1.3 billion rides it provides per year in the U.S. happen without any problems of violence. According to Uber, serious incidents, including murders (9) and deaths in Uber ride accidents (58) accounted for 0.0002% of all rides in 2018.
While this safety report provides an unprecedented level of transparency from Uber, the fact remains that over three thousand sexual assaults occurred in an Uber car. And we can only guess how many rideshare sexual assaults go unreported. As a point of reference, the New York Police Department reported 533 rapes and sex crimes in New York City transit systems in 2018.
A barrage of constant negative news stories here in California alone, spotlight some of the physical and sexual violence and their aftermaths. Uber and Lyft’s history of being slow to respond/responding poorly adds to concerns about safety for rideshare passengers and those passengers who do file Uber sexual assault claims or sexual harassment claims.
Lyft, which promises to release a safety report in the future, has received its own share of criticism for failing to be proactive regarding sexual assault. It has lagged behind Uber in implementing stronger safety features. As an example, Lyft added enhanced identity verification checks two years after Uber did. They were also slow to add an emergency button to their app, something that Uber did a year before they finally did.
One of the loudest criticisms of Lyft and Uber has been their insensitive treatment of sexual assault victims. Women received automated responses when they attempted to report the assault and in some cases were even charged for the ride.
Both Uber and Lyft have promised to do everything possible to combat sexual assault. Uber has increased the size of its safety team to 300 agents and counting. These trained agents are available around the clock to help passengers who may be in danger. Lyft partnered with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) to create a Community Safety Education program that is now mandatory for all drivers.
In another step to increase passenger safety, Lyft and Uber have announced that they plan to voluntarily share driver information with each other and smaller rideshare companies in an effort to weed out dangerous drivers.
As rideshare passengers, we all expect to get to our destination safe and sound, without the concern of sexual harassment or assault. While Lyft and Uber’s enhanced safety standards are certainly welcome, even one sexual assault is one too many. By holding the rideshare companies accountable through criminal and civil lawsuits, victims can obtain justice while effecting positive change.
The Dominguez Firm is a nationally recognized personal injury law firm that has been successfully meeting the needs of sexual abuse victims for over 30 years. For a free and confidential case consultation, please call us at 800-818-1818 to speak to a sexual assault lawyer.