The popular ride-sharing company Uber Technologies reported that it received around 3000 complaints of sexual assault and rape from its clients in the USA for the year 2018. They also stated that this figure denotes a 16 percent drop in the number of complains when compared to the previous year. The report also states that Uber rides were involved in 58 traffic fatalities and 9 murders in the last year. As per the report, there were 229 rape complaints in 2017, which increased to 235 in 2018. The company does not provide any information about the assault cases in Canada in the report.
The sexual assault report is released at a time when the company is under pressure from regulators around the world due to its inability to secure the safety of its passengers. The regulators in London have recently rescinded Uber’s license to carry passengers because of its repeated failures to maintain the safety and security of its passengers.
After releasing the 84 page report, the company reiterated its commitment to transparency and accountability to the goal of improving safety of its passengers. A Tweet from the company’s official Twitter handle @Uber states that The Company is committed to improve safety and that is why they chose to release the report.
As per Uber, drivers were the victims in more than half of the sexual assault cases, but media reports wrongly cast them as the aggressors. The report classifies sexual assault into 5 categories and reports that in more than half of the sexual assault cases, riders were the assailants.
Lawyer Mike Boomberger, who represents around 100 victims of sexual assault in Uber and Lyft states that technology based companies like Uber and Lyft can prevent such cases, if they wanted to. Installing cameras and making police reporting mandatory will help to reduce the incidence of these crimes in ride-sharing services.
Moreover, he opines that the number shared by Uber were only a fraction of the actual cases that occur. He states that one in 3 women, who are subjected to sexual assault report the incident. The victim shaming and lengthy legal procedures discourage women from reporting the assault.
Uber has acknowledged the problem of repeated sexual assaults in its cabs and vowed to take measures to improve the safety of its passengers.