On Thursday, Uber released its first safety report, and its findings aren’t reassuring for riders. The ride-hailing company revealed that there were 3,045 sexual assaults, nine murders, and 58 people killed in accidents. The study is the first of its kind for the major ridesharing platforms and was led by Uber’s chief legal officer, Tony West.
While the company pointed out that these incidents represented 0.0002 percent of it’s 1.3 billion rides in the United States throughout 2018, West still found the numbers disappointing. “The numbers are jarring and hard to digest,” said West to The New York Times.
Are Ride-Hailing Services Safe?
Safety has been a concern for critics of ride-hailing companies such as Lyft and Uber since the first days the companies started operations. Both companies sent shockwaves through the taxi industry as they allowed just about anyone to become a driver. Notably, drivers for ride-hailing companies lack the background checks and training required for professional taxi drivers. This skirting of regulations allowed these companies to expand throughout the United States rapidly.
While this report was an attempt to be transparent by Uber, it reveals the company has a lot of work to do to prevent dangerous incidents and protect the safety of customers. In 2014, a woman was raped by an Uber driver in India. The incident received global attention, and the company received scrutiny for how it handled the situation. It obtained her medical records and accused her of making up the claims to hurt the reputation of the company. The victim sued the company and reached a confidential settlement in 2017.
This week, 19 women filed a lawsuit against Lyft. They’re accusing the Uber competitor of failing to have the proper safeguards in place to protect passengers from sexual assault.
"Lyft’s response to this sexual predator crisis amongst Lyft drivers has been appallingly inadequate,” the suit states. “Instead of taking a few basic and simple measures to prevent rapes and sexual assault of their passengers, Lyft … has chosen to hide and conceal from the United States public the staggering number of reported rapes and sexual assaults that occur within their vehicles."
What Are Uber & Lyft Doing to Protect Passengers?
In 2018, Uber introduced an automated technology that regularly checks the driving records and criminal history of drivers. Uber has used the technology to deactivate over 40,000 drivers since its introduction. Lyft has said that it’s “committed to releasing our own safety transparency report.”
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut has made it clear that it’s time to make sure that ride-hailing companies are operating responsibly. He’s calling on the companies to take more steps to protect riders and wants them to start performing background checks by checking fingerprint databases.
“All of those steps are starters because these ride-hailing companies have been abjectly failing in their duty to protect against predators or criminals,” Blumenthal said.
If you've suffered because of a lack of safety standards from Uber or Lyft, call HHR today at (888) 498-3023. We have a history of helping people just like you and we're ready to provide a free consultation!