Every year, millions of people secure rides using Uber, the application that pairs riders with sanctioned drivers to deliver people to their destination. While it is thought of as a safe alternative, there are still plenty of dangers when getting into a car with a stranger. On December 5, 2019, Uber released a report detailing the number of Uber-related sexual assaults from 2017 through 2018. It was an effort to be more transparent, and so Uber released this report voluntarily. It is one of the first reports to give information on sexual assaults that occur when using a ride-sharing application. The release of this report helps shine a light on the victims of physical and sexual assault and to help spread awareness to the app’s users.
In their examination, the company focused on five subcategories of sexual assault. Those were:
- non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part
- attempted non-consensual sexual penetration
- non-consensual touching of a sexual body part
- non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part
- non-consensual sexual penetration.
Of these five categories, 56% of the reporting parties were riders while 42% of reporting parties were drivers. Of the reports Uber received, 56% of the accused parties were drivers while 45% of the accused parties were riders.
In 2018 alone, there were 235 reports of non-consensual sexual penetration, or rape. While the number of sexual assaults reported while using Uber decreased from 2017 to 2018, if 1 is too many, 235 is still inexcusable. The company tallied thousands of reports regarding unwanted touching, kissing, or attempted rape.
It goes without saying but riding in Ubers with other people can reduce the chances of inappropriate and illegal behavior. Uber has begun instituting safety features within the Uber app itself to let riders share their rides with friends and loved ones and call for help in an emergency.
If a rider becomes a victim of an Uber-related sexual assault, Uber has developed an Uber Survivor Support Hotline operated the RAINN (the rape, abuse & incest national network). The hotline offers crisis support and services for survivors.
This problem is not solely focused on the riders. Of the sexual assaults that were reported by drivers, 66.7% of non-consensual sexual penetration were reporting the driver as the victim. In that vein, drivers need to be vigilant about who they let into their vehicles and to report riders who become violent or problematic during the ride. It is also in their best interest to obtain security cameras to place in their vehicles that can record riders and act as a deterrent for inappropriate behavior of any form.
Whether you are an Uber rider or an Uber driver, you deserve to complete your trip safely. If you are involved in an Uber or another ride-sharing trip in which you sustain an injury, the attorneys at the law firm of Allen and Allen can assist you. For a free consultation, visit Allen & Allen or call 1-866-772-1384.