November 28, 2022

Uber said in a safety report on Thursday that sexual assaults in its ride-hailing vehicles have fallen significantly since its last report, but fatal crashes have risen.

The company said 3,824 incidents of sexual assault were reported on its U.S. platform in 2019 and 2020, with 20 people killed in assaults and 101 in car crashes.

The report is a sequel to Uber’s initial report published in 2019. The company has pledged to publish reports every two years, but it said new reviews have slowed due to pandemic-related delays in 2020 data. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Uber uses the agency’s methodology and data standards to analyze vehicle fatalities.

Reported sexual assaults fell from 5,981 in 2017 and 2018 (the period covered by Uber’s first report), although the company recorded far fewer trips in 2020 due to the pandemic: 650 million compared to 1.4 billion in 2019. However, Uber said it reported a 38% decrease in sexual assaults.

The death toll from attacks is similar to the 19 in the previous period, as are fatal car crashes, which killed 107 people in 2017 and 2018.Uber said the spike in fatal crashes reflects a year in 2020, when the overall number of fatalities on the road increased, namely Data Supported by NHTSA.

Part of the increase in deaths that year was due to speeding on less congested highways during the pandemic, making it the deadliest year since 2007, despite Uber-linked vehicles in both years, NHTSA said. Most of the deaths occurred in 2019, but the death rate is higher in 2020.

The company said 99.9 percent of Uber trips were accident-free, and only 0.0002 percent of trips included one of the serious safety incidents cited in the report. The figures do not include injuries, only record rides, and do not include food delivery services on UberEats.

Uber is trying to reshape its image, and the release of safety data has been seen as a key part of that revamp.

In recent years, the company has added safety options, such as the ability for drivers to film rides, and the ability for both drivers and passengers to record their audio in the Uber app. Uber said that in 2019 and 2020, more than 500,000 potential drivers failed its screening process, and that more than 80,000 drivers have been removed from the app as the company constantly checks criminal records.

“Secrecy doesn’t make anyone safer,” Uber chief legal officer Tony West said in a statement. “That’s why we’re calling on companies across the industry to step up and be honest with the public about their safety records.”

He added: “By confronting this issue head-on and reporting consistently, we can work together to help end sexual violence.”

In recent months, driver advocacy groups and lawmakers have pressured gig companies to improve driver safety, with one report estimating that at least 50 gig drivers have been killed on the job since 2017. Uber reported Thursday that 19 drivers were killed in 2019 and 2020 — 14 crashes and five assaults.

Uber works with insurance companies to help drivers deal with accidents and injuries, and pays injury protection insurance in some states where it is required by law, company spokesman Andrew Hasborn said. The company is also partnering with the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network to provide a dedicated Uber hotline for survivors of sexual assault, he said.

Cherri Murphy, a former Lyft driver and spokesperson for driver advocacy group Gig Workers Rising, questioned whether it was safe to drive for Uber.

“Uber executives want you to think that throwing numbers and statistics at reporters will fool us into believing that Uber is safe for workers and passengers,” Ms Murphy said in a statement. “But workers have long known that the safety features they’re talking about are bogus and don’t guarantee worker safety.”

Uber said it couldn’t provide figures on Uber drivers’ exposure to Covid-19 or deaths, but it had allocated $50 million globally for safety supplies like masks and hand sanitizer, and more than $40 million in Covid-affected drivers. assistance.

Uber divided reported sexual assaults into five categories, including involuntary kissing, rape and attempted rape. The most reported was “involuntary touching of body parts”.

Within these five categories, alleged perpetrators and targets are broadly divided into riders and drivers. In 56% of cases, the driver was charged with battery, and in 43% of the cases, the driver was charged with battery. Drivers were 39 percent victims and riders 61 percent.

Indira Henard, a member of Uber’s safety advisory board and executive director of the Washington Rape Crisis Center, said releasing data on sexual assault could help de-stigmatize an underappreciated type of crime.

“By being transparent about their safety records, Uber aims to stop the silence around gender-based violence,” Dr. Hernard said in an interview.

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