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First Uber Safety Study Reveals 3,000 Reported Assaults in Just 1 Year

Following a damning report showing that members of Uber’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) were trained to put the company’s interest first and advise victims of assault not to come forward with their story, the ride-sharing company has published the results of its very first study on safety.
Uber releases first safety study, reveals 3,000 cases of assault in 1 year in the U.S. 11 photos
Photo: YouTube / Uber
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Over 3,000 incidents of sexual assault were reported in the U.S. in just one year (2017 through to 2018) after Uber rides, The Washington Post reports. Riders and drivers were equally victimized, and incidents ranged from improper touching or behavior, to rape and attempted rape, and more violent crimes.

To conduct the study, Uber divided misconduct into 21 categories, on the premise that it would tackle a different approach to the issue than police. Going through 6,000 reports, it singled out 235 instances of rape and thousands of instances of assault involving unwanted kissing, touching and attempted rape.

In that same timeframe, there were 107 motor-vehicle fatalities, 97 of which involved users on the app, and 19 fatal physical assaults. Comparing these numbers to an average of 3.1 million trips a day, Uber concludes that 99.9 percent of rides were carried out without incident.

“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,” Uber’s chief legal officer, Tony West, says the executive summary of the report. “The moment is now for companies to confront it, count it, and work together to end it.”

The study is part of a larger initiative from Uber to address the issue of in-ride safety. To that end, the company launched an in-app safety tool kit that includes a 911 button riders can call whenever they feel threatened, the possibility to report “uncomfortable” interactions or unsafe driving, and to send status reports to family members and friends during the ride.

As for the investigation that revealed that SIU members were trained to advise victims of assault to stay quiet (more on that in the video at the bottom of the page), Uber denies such a practice. It also denies intentional lack of transparency regarding misbehaving drivers, who, after being booted for reported assaults, could list their services with rival car-sharing platform Lyft because Uber would not go public with the incident.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
Elena Gorgan profile photo

Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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