Uber safety report reveals over 3,000 sexual assaults in US rides in 2018

ReutersUber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
  • The ride-hailing app Uber on Thursday released its first safety report, revealing 3,045 sexual-assault reports in the US last year and 2,936 reports the year before.
  • The 84-page report disclosed data on sexual-assault complaints, car crashes, and murders during its rides. It also shared details on Uber’s safety processes and progress.
  • Ride-hailing companies have come under fire over safety standards in the past few years.
  • Uber began working on this report close to two years ago, after CEO Dara Khosrowshahi took over managing the company.
  • Rainn, a nonprofit for victims of sexual violence, called for other companies and organisations to take the same step.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The ride-hailing app Uber on Thursday released its first safety report, which said 3,045 sexual assaults had been reported in the US in 2018.

The company’s long-awaited 84-page report sought to establish a benchmark for the company’s safety by publishing data on the sexual assaults and deaths that took place during Uber rides in 2017 and 2018.

The report said US customers took 1.3 billion trips in 2018. Fifty-eight people were killed in car crashes and nine were murdered, according to its findings.

Uber sought to contextualize its findings in the report in its executive summary, saying 99.9% of its trips were safe.

“It’s important to understand the scale of Uber’s business in interpreting this data,” the report said. “This year, nearly 4 million Uber trips happened every day in the US – more than 45 rides every second.”

But the company’s reported sexual assaults – 2,936 in 2017 and 3,045 in 2018 – also stood out from the findings.

“Doing the right thing means counting, confronting, and taking action to end sexual assault. My heart is with every survivor of this all-too-pervasive crime. Our work will never be done, but we take an important step forward today,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted, with a link to the report.

“In the long run, we will be a better company for taking this step today – because I firmly believe that companies who are open, accountable, and unafraid are ultimately the companies that succeed,” he said in a later tweet.

Advocates for victims of sexual violence also said the report was an important step to solving the problem and called for other companies to follow Uber’s example.

Karen Baker, the CEO of the National Violence Resource Centre, said her company worked with Uber and the Urban Institute to help classify sexual-assault reports (the study classifies sexual assaults into five categories). Baker said the report set a “new bar for corporate responsibility and transparency.”

“Never before have we seen a company disclose this level of information proactively,” she wrote in the report.

The nonprofit Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network also said it welcomed Uber’s transparency in releasing the data and called for other organisations to do the same thing.

“We’d love to see organisations in every industry, including educational institutions, make a similar effort to track and analyse sexual misconduct within their communities,” Erinn Robinson, Rainn’s press secretary, told Business Insider. Uber said it was also partnering with Rainn in one of its new safety initiatives.

Other victim-advocacy organisations such as No More and Jane Doe sent similar statements.

Both Uber and its ride-hailing competitor Lyft have come under fire for driver misconduct over the past few years. Most recently, Uber’s licence to operate in London was revoked, as regulators said they were uncertain about Uber’s ability to guarantee the safety of its passengers.

This summer, Lyft also saw a surge in lawsuits from more than 50 passengers who say they were assaulted or harassed by their drivers.

Under Khosrowshahi’s management, Uber committed to release a safety study more than a year ago. Lyft soon followed with the same promise, but it has yet to release its findings. A company representative said the company remained committed to releasing its own transparency report but issued no expected date for its publication.

Uber said it would continue to publish safety reports every two years.

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