Uber safety report says sexual assaults are down but traffic fatalities are up

Uber said in a safety report Thursday that sexual assaults in its ride-hailing vehicles are down significantly since its last report, but fatal car crashes are up.

The company said 3,824 sexual assaults were reported on its US platform in 2019 and 2020, while 20 people died in assaults and 101 died in accidents.

The report was a follow-up to Uber’s initial report, which was released in 2019. The company committed to releasing reports every two years, but said the new review had been delayed due to a pandemic-related lag in 2020 data. National Highway Traffic Safety. Management. Uber uses the agency’s methodology and data standards to analyze vehicle fatalities.

Reported sexual assaults are down from 5,981 in 2017 and 2018, the period covered by Uber’s first report, though the company recorded far fewer rides in 2020 due to the pandemic: 650 million compared to 1.4 billion in 2019. Still, Uber said the rate of reported sexual assaults had dropped 38 percent.

Assault deaths rose from nine in the previous period, as did fatal crashes, which killed 58 people in 2017 and 2018. Uber said the rise in fatal car crashes reflected a deadlier year overall on the roads in 2020, which is supported by NHTSA data.

Deaths rose that year in part due to speeding on less-traveled highways during the pandemic, making it the deadliest year since 2007, the NHTSA said. Although most of the Uber-related vehicle fatalities in the two years occurred in 2019, the rate was higher in 2020.

The company said 99.9 percent of Uber rides are incident-free and only 0.0002 percent of all rides include one of the critical safety incidents mentioned in the report. The data does not include injuries and counts, only trips, not food deliveries at UberEats.

Uber has tried to reshape its image, and the release of safety data has been seen as a key component of that image change.

The company has added safety options in recent years, such as the ability for drivers to film trips and for both drivers and passengers to record their audio in the Uber app. Uber said more than 500,000 prospective drivers failed its screening process in 2019 and 2020, and more than 80,000 drivers were removed from the app as a result of the company’s ongoing criminal background checks.

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

He added: “By confronting the problem and counting the reports consistently, we can work together to help end sexual violence.”

In recent months, driver advocacy organizations and members of Congress have pushed concert companies to improve safety for their drivers, with one report estimating that at least 50 concert drivers had died on the job since. 2017. Uber’s report on Thursday said 19 drivers were killed. in 2019 and 2020: 14 in clashes and five in assaults.

Uber works with insurance companies to help drivers with accidents and injuries, and directly compensates drivers in some states where the law requires it, said Andrew Hasbun, a spokesman for the company. The company also offers an Uber-specific hotline for survivors of sexual assault, in partnership with the National Rape, Abuse and Incest Network, he said.

Uber said it could not provide figures on Covid-19 exposure or deaths among Uber drivers, but that it had allocated $50 million globally for safety supplies like masks and hand sanitizer, and had given drivers affected by covid more than $40 million in aid.

Uber breaks reported sexual assaults into five categories, including non-consensual kissing, rape, and attempted rape. The largest number of reports were “nonconsensual touching of a sexual body part.”

In all five categories, the suspected perpetrators and targets were roughly split between passengers and drivers. Drivers were charged with assault in 56 percent of cases and passengers in 43 percent. Drivers were the victim at 39 percent and passengers at 61 percent.

Indira Henard, a member of Uber’s Safety Advisory Board and executive director of the DC Rape Crisis Center, said releasing data on sexual assaults could help dispel stigma around a type of crime that goes underreported. .

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

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