(December 9, 2019) Our Uber rides might not be as safe as most of us like to think, whether we are passengers or drivers. Nearly 6,000 Uber sexual assaults were reported in the United States in 2017 and 2018. The monster rideshare company leader released the shocking figures for the first time last week, on December 5.
450 Uber Rapes, 19 Uber Assault Deaths
More than 450 of Uber’s reported sex assault cases involved rape. Uber-ride sex assaults also included 19 assault-related deaths over the two-year period. Both Uber and its main rival, Lyft, face mounting pressure to cope with the growing number of complaints of abuse from both passengers and drivers.
Uber received 464 reports of non-consensual sexual penetration and 587 of attempted non-consensual sexual penetration in 2017 and 2018. Most of the remaining assaults fell into categories named as “non-consensual kissing” or “touching.”
Drivers Also Assaulted
It is not only passengers who are being assaulted. Uber data shows that 42 percent of those reporting sexual assault were drivers. Uber and Lyft drivers, it appears, are assaulted almost as often as passengers.
Vox reported last week that more than 3,000 people were sexually assaulted during Uber rides last year. Additionally, the data came out the same week that 19 women sued Lyft, charging that Lyft riders sexually assaulted them.
Overall, most of the assault reports are from female drivers who report having been fondled while driving by drunken male passengers. “Non-consensual touching of a sexual body part” was the most commonly reported type of sexual assault across all Uber rides, accounting for 1,560 individual reports in 2018.
But passengers may be more vulnerable to certain types of assault. Many riders who reported being assaulted said they had fallen asleep during an Uber or Lyft ride, then woke up to find the driver attacking them. Some 92 percent of people who suffered sex assault that involved penetration were passengers, according to reports Uber has received.
But drivers – including the 19% of Uber and 30% of Lyft drivers who are women – often report being groped by passengers. And since they are independent contractors for gig-economy companies, they lack some of the protections available to taxi drivers and other transportation workers, such as partitions separating them from their passengers.
Rapes Rise while Uber touts Sex Assault Decrease
While the number of sex assault reports increased from 2017 to 2018 in three of the five categories, including non-consensual sexual penetration and non-consensual touching of a sexual nature, Uber claimed it had achieved across-the-board declines in the “incident rate” based on a larger number of overall trips sans sex assault booked late in the year.
Uber’s report read: “From 2017 to 2018, Uber saw an approximate 6 percent decrease in the average incident rate across the five most serious sexual assault categories reported. Additionally, there were rate decreases across each of the five individual categories.”
Uber also reported 10 “fatal physical assaults” in 2017, compared to nine deadly assaults in 2018.
Uber said that during 2017 and 2018, “[T]here were 19 fatal physical assaults occurring in a total of 18 incidents” that were related to the company’s services. Eight of the dead were riders; seven were drivers; four were third parties that included bystanders.
To help bolster rider confidence and in anticipation of litigation which has already begun for victims of poorly-vetted Uber drivers or else poorly protected (usually female) drivers, the company has taken out full-page advertisements in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere, timing their release to help answer the shocking numbers of Uber riders who have been raped, assaulted, and/or killed during Uber–sanctioned rides.
Uber Lawsuits – Free Legal Consultation
Our law firm is investigating cases for Uber riders who were sexually assaulted, injured, or killed by a Uber drivers. If you believe you may have a case against Uber or Lyft, contact us for a free legal consultation regarding a potential Uber lawsuit, or a potential Lyft lawsuit. We work on a contingency fee basis, charging no fees or attorney expenses unless we win a case for our clients and deliver them financial compensation.
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