In a safety report that was released on Thursday, Uber said that the number of fatal automobile accidents had climbed but the number of sexual assaults that occurred in its ride-hailing cars had drastically decreased since the company’s last report.
According to the corporation, there were 3,824 reports of sexual assaults made on its platform in the United States in 2019 and 2020. Twenty individuals were murdered in attacks, and 101 people were killed in accidents.
This report was a follow-up to the first report that Uber published in 2019, which can be seen here. The business made a commitment to release reports every two years; however, it said that the new study had been dragged down because to a delay in 2020 data caused by a pandemic. This delay came from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When analysing vehicle fatalities, Uber adopts the methodology and data requirements established by the government.
The number of reported sexual assaults has decreased from 5,981 in 2017 and 2018, which was the time period covered by Uber’s initial report. Despite this, the firm registered considerably less journeys in 2020 due to the epidemic, which was 650 million compared with 1.4 billion in 2019. Despite this, Uber said that the number of reported instances of sexual assault has dropped by 38 percent.
Assault-related fatalities were unchanged at 19 compared to the previous month, while fatal collisions continued to claim the lives of 107 persons in both 2017 and 2018. According to Uber, the increase in the number of fatal automobile accidents represented an overall deadlier year on the roads in 2020. This assertion is supported by statistics provided by the NHTSA.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2015 was the worst year on record since 2007 due to a spike in deaths brought on in part by drivers speeding on roadways that were less populated as a result of the epidemic. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Uber-related traffic fatalities in the two years happened in 2019, the rate was much higher in 2020.
According to the firm, 99.9 percent of all Uber trips are completed without a hitch, and just 0.0002 percent of all rides include one of the significant safety issues described in the study. The data does not contain information about injuries, and it only counts rides, not food delivery made via UberEats.
Uber has been working to improve its public image, and the disclosure of safety data is widely seen as an important part of that makeover.
In recent years, the firm has increased the number of safety features available, such as enabling drivers to record trips on video and enabling both drivers and customers to record audio from rides directly inside the Uber app. Uber stated that more than 500,000 prospective drivers had failed to pass its screening process in 2019 and 2020, and that more than 80,000 drivers had been removed from the app as a result of the company’s continuous checking of criminal records. Both of these statistics were based on the fact that Uber checks drivers’ criminal records continuously.
One investigation indicated that at least 50 gig drivers had been murdered on the job since 2017, and driver advocacy groups and members of Congress have been putting pressure on gig businesses to enhance the safety of its drivers in recent months. According to a study released by Uber on Thursday, 19 drivers passed away in 2019 and 2020. Of those deaths, 14 were caused by accidents, and five were the result of attacks.
According to Andrew Hasbun, a spokesperson for the firm, Uber works with insurance carriers to assist drivers in the event of accidents or injuries, and the company also foots the bill for injury protection insurance in jurisdictions where such coverage is mandated by law. According to him, the firm also provides a hotline that is exclusive to Uber for those who have survived a sexual assault. This service is provided in conjunction with the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.
Cherri Murphy, a former driver for Lyft who is now a representative for the organisation Gig Workers Rising, which is an advocacy group for drivers, questioned the safety of driving for Uber.
Uber has stated that it is unable to provide numbers regarding the number of drivers who have been exposed to Covid-19 or who have died as a result of it. However, the company has stated that it has allocated $50 million worldwide toward safety supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer and has given drivers who have been affected by Covid more than $40 million in aid.
Reports of sexual assault made to Uber are sorted into one of five categories, including nonconsensual kissing, rape, and attempted rape, among others.
In each of the five categories, riders and drivers made up about an equal number of the accused offenders and targets. In 56% of the incidents, the drivers were accused of assaulting the riders, while riders were implicated in 43% of the cases. 39 percent of the incidents had drivers as victims, while 61 percent involved riders.
Indira Henard, executive director of the D.C. Rape Crisis Center and a member of Uber’s Safety Advisory Board, said that disclosing statistics regarding sexual assaults might help eliminate the stigma around an underreported sort of crime.