Rideshare services have been an increasingly popular form of transportation, with rapid growth in the past decade alongside the popularity of the internet and smartphones. The innovation of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft has allowed for more convenient and instantaneous transportation in comparison to traditional taxi companies. While Uber has become an efficient and beneficial way to travel from one destination to another, whether in a busy city center or as a ride home after a night of drinking, the company has been under scrutiny for how they screen their drivers. Uber and Lyft drivers are hired as independent contractors and are required to pass a background check annually. Uber also uses a new offense notification program which alerts the company when there has been a recent change in criminal activity.
With these screening practices stated, passengers argue about the lenient safety measures given the number of sexual assault cases with drivers. Uber has been scrutinized for their process of handling complaints on safety incidents and removing sexual offenders from their app.
Uber Sexual Assault Cases
The prevalence of sexual assault cases in rideshare services like Uber and Lyft has become an unfortunate reality. Even more so, a high number of sexual assault cases go unreported and are dismissed by the rideshare companies, allowing for sexual abusers to continue driving passengers and putting innocent people at risk. In a 2019 report, Uber received nearly 6,000 sexual assault claims in the U.S. over the past two years. The data breakdown shows five categories of serious sexual assaults reported in U.S. Uber rides in 2017 and 2018:
Transparency of Uber Sexual Assault and Harassment Data
More recent data on Uber’s sexual assault cases have not been publicly released as the company has failed to comply with requests from California regulators. In a recent settlement agreement between Uber, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), Uber agreed to pay $9 million as a resolution for an Order to Show Cause for failing to provide sexual assault and sexual harassment data. Uber’s agreement to pay $9 million goes towards supporting programs for passenger safety initiatives including:
- $5 million to the California Victim Compensation Board to support the victims of violence and sexual violence
- $4 million for efforts to address physical and sexual violence in the passenger carrier industry
- $150,000 fine to the state’s general fund
As part of the settlement, Uber also has agreed to providing information on sexual assault and harassment to the CPUC going forward. In the effort to protect the right to privacy of sexual assault survivors, Uber has agreed to implement a “unique identifier system” when providing data to the CPUC. Furthermore, Uber will create an opt-in process for survivors who are willing to provide more information on their specific case with the CPUC.
Rideshare Sexual Assault Study
According to a study from Uber sexual assault lawyers, a comprehensive survey of over 1,000 female passengers shares reports of uncomfortable experiences including sexual harassment or assault with Uber or Lyft drivers. The following statistics were found from the study:
- 66% of respondents said their Uber or Lyft driver has made them feel uncomfortable.
- Over 60% of respondents reported that an Uber of Lyft driver asked personal questions.
- 12% of respondents reported having an experience where a rideshare driver attempted to touch them without warning or consent.
- Over 5% of respondents reported an Uber or Lyft driver non-consensually touching or kissing a non-sexual body part.
- Approximately 72% of female passengers experienced some form of questionable behavior by a rideshare driver during their ride.
- A recent investigation found at least 103 Uber drivers in the U.S. who were accused of sexually assaulting passengers in the past four years, with at least 31 of these drivers were convicted for related crimes.
For more information on professional legal help with an Uber or Lyft sexual assault case, visit https://www.ubersexualassaultlawyer.com. Working with an experienced Uber sexual assault attorney can provide victims with compassionate support and legal resources to seek compensation and reclaim your rights.