For the first time, Uber has released a safety report about its rides in the US that includes all of 2018 and part of 2017. According to the report, there were 3,045 sexual assaults that occurred during Uber trips last year. Additionally, Uber says nine people were murdered during Uber rides and 58 people died in auto-related crashes.
"Every form of transportation is impacted by these issues," the report says. "For example, the NYPD received 1,125 complaints of sex offenses in the transit system during the same time period covered by this report."
"In the United States alone, more than 45 rides on Uber happen every second," the report said. "At that scale, we are not immune to society’s most serious safety challenges, including sexual assault. Yet when collecting data for that portion of our report, we found there was no uniform industry standard for counting and categorizing those types of incidents. That’s why, last fall, we partnered with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and the Urban Institute to create this much-needed classification system—and we made it open source so that other companies can use it to improve safety for their own customers."
To address sexual assault and safety challenges, the report notes that Uber is working with law enforcement officials, road safety organizations, and more than 200 gender-based violence prevention experts—including the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence—to innovate on new approaches that will raise the bar on safety in ridesharing.
The report said, "Because intent alone is not enough, we’ve tripled the size of our safety team since 2017, with more than 300 professionals now dedicated to safety for our core rides business. And because we have one of the best technology teams in the world focused on safety, we’ve also added new safety features like our In-App Emergency Button, more rigorous background checks that continuously look for new criminal offenses, and technology that allows us to check in with customers if we detect a potential crash or unexpected long stop during a trip. We’re constantly pushing to do more on safety. We’re rolling out new features that allow riders to verify their driver with a secure PIN code, send a text message directly to 911 operators, and report safety incidents to Uber before their trip is even over. In some countries, we’re testing a feature to give drivers and riders the option to securely record audio during their trip as a safety precaution. We’re also committed to sharing the names of drivers who have been banned from our platform for the most serious safety incidents with our ridesharing peers."
Uber is also teaming up with RALIANCE, a national partnership dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation, to establish RALIANCE Business: a new resource center that will be dedicated to helping public and private sector leaders adopt consistent, evidence-based standards and strategies to improve how they measure, respond to, and prevent sexual violence that may occur in the workplace or within business operations.