Uber Releases Data on Sexual Assaults that Occurred During Trips
Breit Cantor Grana Buckner—December 10, 2019
In December of 2019, Uber released an 84-page safety report that sheds light on the number of sexual assaults that occurred during trips on the platform. The company teamed up with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) and the Urban Institute to define, compile, and analyze the data related to these types of offenses. The report also included the number of Uber-related car accident fatalities and deaths resulting from physical assaults.
Uber said that examining data from accidents and assault incidents will help make the platform safer for both drivers, riders, and third-parties. The company’s Chief Legal Officer, Tony West, stated that many organizations resist making information such as that concerning sexual assault public because of how it would affect their business. However, “it’s only by shining a light on these issues that we can begin to provide clarity on something that touches every corner of society.”
The push to develop the safety report came after Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sought to find a way to make the company’s ridesharing platform the safest in the world. To understand issues faced by riders and drivers, it reviewed hundreds of thousands of incident reports it received between 2017 and 2018. Uber pointed out that during the analysis period, over 2.3 billion trips were taken in the U.S., and most of those (99.9%) were incident-free.
Uber’s Sexual Assault Incidents Data
Before providing the numbers on sexual assault incidents that occurred on its platform, Uber laid out the detailed methodology it, along with the NSVRC and Urban Institute, used to analyze the data. It stated that the examination was done in a way to ensure confidence in the accuracy, reliability, and consistency of the information.
Uber collected data from incidents that occurred during trips (when drivers and riders were matched until the rides’ completion), as well as those that happened within 48 hours of the trip. During 2017 and 2018, Uber received 5,981 reports of sexual assault, which accounted for .00047% of trips that happened in that period.
According to Uber’s analysis, sexual assault incidents were as follows:
- Non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part: 570 instances in 2017, and 594 in 2018
- Attempted rape: 307 incidents in 2017, and 280 in 2018
- Groping: 1,440 instances in 2017, and 1,560 in 2018
- Non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part: 390 in 2017, and 376 in 2018
- Rape: 229 instances in 2017, and 235 in 2018
Sexual assault incidents were reported nearly equally regardless of a person’s status on the platform. Drivers were the victims in 42% of the cases, and riders in 56%. The remaining 2% of victims were third-parties (typically someone who took a ride with an Uber user but didn’t use the app themselves).
Uber stated that when it receives a report of sexual assault, an agent investigates the matter to identify the accused. The company restricts that person’s account to prevent them from using the app while the review is being conducted. If the accused was a third-party, the company attempts to see if that individual has an account with Uber. If they don’t, the person who hailed the ride would be restricted because they are responsible for their guest’s actions.
Traffic Accident and Physical Assault Fatality Data
In addition to providing information about sexual assault incidents that occurred on its platform, Uber also examined those involving car accidents and physical assault deaths.
According to the report, in 2017, there were 49 Uber-related traffic collision fatalities. In 2018, there were 58.
Regarding physical assault deaths, 10 were reported in 2017, and 9 in 2018.
Measures to Increase Safety
Uber stated that it has been seeking, and will continually look for, ways to increase the safety of drivers and riders who use its platform.
Some of the measures it has implemented or plans to implement include:
- The ability to share real-time trip details with friends and family
- A button in the app that lets users call 911
- A method to share the names of banned drivers with other rideshare platforms
- A survivor support hotline
- A PIN code to verify drivers
Discuss Your Case with Breit Cantor Grana Buckner
If you or a loved one was harmed during or within 48 hours of an Uber trip in Virginia, you may be entitled to pursue a personal injury claim. Our team is here to provide the legal help you need for this complex process.