Weekly Wonder: Uber reveals over 3,000 sexual assaults reported in 2018

By Mia Ping-Chieh Chen
BU News Service

Uber found more than 3,000 sexual assaults involving drivers or passengers were reported during its U.S. rides last year.

In its safety report released Thursday, 3,045 allegations of sexual assaults were reported across the company’s 1.3 billion rides last year. Among those, 235 reports were of rape, up from 229 the previous year. In 2017, a total of 2,936 sexual assault cases were reported during 1 billion rides.

Instances of non-consensual touching of a sexual body part and non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part both increased, from 1,440 and 570 cases in 2017 to 1,560 and 594 cases in 2018. On the other hand, instances of attempted rape decreased from 307 reports in 2017 to 280 in 2018. Uber also estimates a 17% to 20% decrease of the overall rate of sexual assault in 2019 compared to the full year 2018.

Uber’s report suggests that both riders and drivers could face sexual assault incidents during the ride. Approximately 99.4% of rider reports were reporting a rider — either themselves or a guest rider — as the victim and about 66.7% of driver reports were reporting themselves as the victim. The company indicated that a driver may observe and report a sexual assault between riders.

“Doing the right thing means counting, confronting and taking action to end sexual assault,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted about the report. “Our work will never be done, but we take an important step forward today.”

The report also shows there were 107 total fatalities the past two years across 97 fatal crashes reported in relation to Uber, which was at a rate about half the national average for automotive fatalities, according to the company.

In April 2018, CNN reported that the Boston Police Department had received 24 complaints or reports of Uber drivers allegedly sexually assaulting passengers since 2016.

In 2017, more than 8,000 drivers for ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft failed a new Massachusetts background check, The Boston Globe reported. Hundreds of them were disqualified for having serious crimes on their record, including violent or sexual offenses, according to the state Department of Public Utilities.

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