Saturday, 22 February, 2020

Uber: Over 3,000 sex assaults reported on rides in 2018

Uber reveals thousands of sexual assault reports last year		
		
	Megan Rose Dickey

			@meganrosedickey	 
		8 hours Uber reveals thousands of sexual assault reports last year Megan Rose Dickey @meganrosedickey 8 hours
Irene Mckinney | 07 December, 2019, 00:25

In the last year, Uber reported that it facilitated 1.3 billion trips in the USA, and out of those trips a total of 3,045 Uber passengers reported sexual assault last year, 229 of which reported rape.

The report from Uber focused exclusively on rides in the USA and not the 65 other countries where Uber operates, including India, where a driver was sued in 2017 for allegedly raping a passenger. "And when you're operating at that kind of scale, thankfully, 99.9 percent of those rides end with absolutely no safety incident whatsoever". Riders in fact accounted for roughly half of the accused parties in cases of sexual assault, it said. Taking into account incidents from 2017 as well, that number jumps to almost 6,000, but as many sexual assaults aren't reported, the numbers could be higher. Riders make up 45 percent of accused parties.

As reported by The New York Times, the figures detail 3,045 sexual assaults during rides, along with nine murders and 58 people killed in crashes.

From 2017 to 2018, there were 107 total fatalities across 97 fatal crashes reported in relation to the Uber app. Later that year, Uber added a feature called Ride Check, which will activate if the Global Positioning System sensor in the driver's phone notices there's an abnormally long or unexpected stop during the trip.

Uber began examining the issue of sexual assault in late 2017 and has worked with organizations such as the National Sexual Violence Resource Center to improve its reporting process for sexual violence and other safety issues. 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. Sexual assaults commonly go unreported. Nevertheless, the same study shows that cases involving sexual assaults over the Uber platform have persisted from 2017 to 2018, despite the company's attempts to protect both riders and drivers. 90% of all fatal accidents occurred in urban areas. "If we want to change this reality, we need more data and more companies who are willing to be transparent and accountable".

Almost half of the accusations of sexual assault mentioned in the safety report were against passengers, indicating that Uber drivers were also victims of serious incidents. Company executives said they would appeal the ban.

Uber believes the data will help it develop best practices to prevent future safety incidents. In May 2018, Uber added an in-app 911 calling feature.

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Whilst that sounds pretty harrowing at face value, 1.3 billion rides were taken in the USA last year, which means that the number of unsafe incidents makes up just 0.0002 percent of total rides.

A Lyft spokeswoman said the company understood that women faced "disproportionate risks" when they traveled.

The firm, which operates in 70 countries, said the report showed its commitment to transparency to improve accountability and safety industry-wide.

Uber and Ola have had to deal with sexual assault complaints in India too.

Uber does conduct background checks of its drivers.

Uber had warned the investors ahead of its initial public offering in April that the planned release of its safety report could affect its valuation, CNN reported at the time. Uber stock is down slightly in pre-marketing trading Friday.

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