Uber safety report reveals 3,000 alleged sexual assaults in U.S. rides last year

Uber safety report reveals 3,000 alleged sexual assaults in U.S. rides last year

Uber disclosed more than 3,000 sexual assaults took place while riders used its service last year in a new safety report released Thursday.

The ride sharing service reported 235 cases of rape and 3,045 more cases of sexual assault. The number of incidents represented 0.0003 percent of Uber’s 1.3 billion rides in the U.S. in 2018.

“Our commitment to you is that we will continuously work to reduce these incident rates, work to make Uber the safest platform on earth, and work to make rideshare an even safer way to travel,” Uber said in the report’s conclusion.

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“At its core, this report is about more than Uber. It’s about taking a new, better approach to an age-old problem that too many in our society normalize and may live with every day. It’s about improving safety for women and everyone else. It’s about accountability—to riders, drivers, and the entire industry,” it wrote. 

The company said it would continue to release a safety report every two years. It also called on airline, taxi, ridesharing, home-sharing and hotel companies to conduct and release their own safety reports.

“Uber is taking an important step, but every company has a role to play. We look forward to working together to confront these issues, count them, and make progress toward ending them,” Uber said. 

The long-awaited report comes as the company faced intense scrutiny from lawmakers and advocacy groups over its safety practices.

The ride-sharing company has made several changes as the industry has grappled with complaints over lack of safety and transparency. Uber instituted an in-app tool so passengers can call 911 if they are in danger and added check-ins should drivers veer off course. It has also given users the option of reporting uncomfortable interactions with drivers. 

The adjustments have not significantly tamped down frustration on Capitol Hill, however, as lawmakers say more must be done.

“All of those steps are starters because these ride-hailing companies have been abjectly failing in their duty to protect against predators or criminals,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who sits on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, told The New York Times.

Uber is not the only company in its field to grapple with issues over passengers’ safety. Twenty women Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Lyft, Uber’s chief competitor, alleging they were raped or sexually assaulted by the company's drivers. That lawsuit follows one that was filed in September, in which 14 women alleged they had either been raped or sexually assaulted by Lyft drivers between 2018 and 2019.