Ride-hailing firm Uber has disclosed that it received 3,000 cases of sexual assault in the United States last year. This is the first time a ride-hailing firm has reported the total number rather than hiding it with a PR stunt. Uber stated it the safety report was carried to keep transparency which could be a step in improving the application for riders and drivers alike.
Image Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The assaults that were reported were a part of Uber’s safety study that was published on Thursday. The firm is facing criticism regarding its safety practices and obligation to increase its clarity over the problem.
Uber’s chief legal officer, Tony West, said, “Confronting sexual violence requires honesty, and it’s only by shining a light on these issues that we can begin to provide clarity on something that touches every corner of society. The moment is now for companies to confront it, count it, and work together to end it.”
According to the report, 99.9% of Uber’s 2.3 billion U.S. trips in 2017 and 2018 stopped without any safety incidents. Uber further added that it received some 235 reports of non-consensual sexual penetration last year and 280 of attempted non-consensual sexual penetration – which was all filed by women. The other assaults that were reported included incidents of undesired kissing or touching of body parts.
“I suspect many people will be surprised at how rare these incidents are; others will understandably think they’re still too common. Some people will appreciate how much we’ve done on safety; others will say we have more work to do. They will all be right,” tweeted Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi.
The firm said that the 2018 figures regarding the incidents from the previous year witnessed a 16% drop in the five most serious categories of sexual assault reported.
Deciphering the process of hiring the drivers, Uber said that the drivers through a strenuous background check before they are accepted onto its platform. The report also highlights that one million drivers failed to pass the screening test in 2017 and 2018 while more than 40,000 drivers were removed from the app after an extra screening.
Californian ride-sharing company Lyft has also vouched to release a similar report. Alexandra LaManna, a Lyft spokeswoman, said, “The company was committed to releasing that report, as well as sharing information about drivers who don’t pass its initial or ongoing background checks or are otherwise deactivated. It is Lyft’s goal to make the U.S. ride-sharing industry the safest form of transportation for everyone.” As to when the report will be available wasn’t mentioned.