Uber reveals almost 6,000 incidents of sexual assaults in new safety report

The Thursday report, which the company hailed as the first of its kind, provides a rare look into the traffic deaths, murders and reported sexual assaults that took place during billions of rides arranged in the USA using Uber's service.

USA customers took about 1.3 billion trips a year ago, Uber said.

Uber operates in about 70 countries and said that it would use what it had learned in producing the US report for its "next steps" in other places, although it did not commit to creating new reports.

These numbers mean that almost 99.9% of Uber rides went without incidents.

Uber said the 84-page report showed its commitment to transparency with the goal of driving "accountability and improve safety for Uber and the entire industry".

However, with a large number of women using the cab service and a pitifully large number of sexual abuse cases in India, a report on how safe women are while taking a cab, from Uber, Ola and likes would help cab-hailing startups and law enforcement authorities act better.

The company divided sexual assault into five categories ranging from "non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part" to "non-consensual sexual penetration".

Of these incidents, riders were accused as the perpetrator 45% of the time.

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Throughout 2017 and 2018, the reported incidents occurred on 0.00002% of trips, according to Uber.

Another safety report is scheduled to come out in two years, the company stated.

Uber noted, however, that while reports of sexual assaults declined by approximately 16% from 2017 to 2018, the amount of reported cases could increase as more victims become aware of Uber's assault prevention and reporting initiatives.

Ten murders occurred in 2017 and nine in 2018, the company said. However, as its report noted, sexual assaults are often not reported, so the actual numbers could be much higher. Uber said there were 107 motor vehicle fatalities in 2017 and 2018 in a total of 97 fatal crashes involving users on the app. It says that 40,000 drivers in the USA have been deactivated since 2018.

Uber has published its first safety report detailing the number of serious crimes committed by both drivers and riders that use the platform. It also comes against the backdrop of the company's quest to regain public trust under CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, following a series of scandals under previous leadership. But even though the decision to do so was hard, we have chosen to produce this report because we believe that for too long, companies have not discussed these issues publicly, particularly those relating to sexual violence.

Despite what may seem like staggering data, West emphasized that a majority of rides end safely for both the driver and rider, especially after establishing safety features like an In-App Emergency Button and rigorous background checks.

Uber has faced a steady stream of complaints in court across the country over driver misconduct, and Lyft has recently seen an explosion in legal claims by passengers. Uber plans to offer a dedicated hotline for survivors of sexual assault to provide support and specialized services.

  • Darren Santiago