The Slatest

Uber Releases First Safety Report Disclosing Thousands of Sexual Assaults

An Uber and a Lyft sticker are displayed on the back window of a ride-hailing SUV.
Arriving passengers wait to board Uber vehicles at LAX in November.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Uber published its first safety report Thursday showing more than 3,000 instances of sexual assaults took place during Uber rides taken in the U.S. in 2018. The report is a first for the ride-hailing industry that has come under increasing pressure to be more transparent about its safety record. Uber, like its competitor Lyft, has faced complaints and lawsuits over safety issues, particularly sexual misconduct, prompting the company to release a broad set of safety statistics. In disclosing its U.S. safety record, the company stressed the numbers should be considered in relation to Uber’s massive scale—some 1.3 billion rides in 2018 alone, amounting to several million rides each day.

According to the report, there were 2,936 reported sexual assaults during Uber rides in 2017 and 3,045 in 2018. “There are few comparable figures to judge Uber’s safety record against,” the New York Times notes. “The New York Police Department, which keeps a register of sex crimes and rapes that occur on transit systems, counted 533 in 2018.” There was a wide range of behaviors that fell under the sexual misconduct category, including unwanted touching, kissing, or attempted rape. The report covered the safety of drivers as well, and while the vast majority of the 235 instances of rape last year were attributed to drivers, the company found that other forms of sexual assault were reported by drivers at about the same rate as by customers, though it didn’t make clear who the perpetrators were in each instance. There were also 19 murders in 2017 and 2018; the victims ranged from drivers to passengers to bystanders.

The report also covered more general vehicle safety issues, something that has been a point of concern as ride-hailing companies have skirted previously established driver regulations to allow tens of thousands to download the app and start driving without much oversight. Uber’s safety figures showed there were 58 fatal crashes last year, up slightly from 49 in 2017, and that those crashes over that two-year span resulted in 107 motor-vehicle fatalities. Uber said its increased use of automated technology to screen drivers resulted in the deactivation of 40,000 drivers in the U.S.