Uber said in a safety report Thursday that sexual assaults in its driving vehicles have decreased significantly since its… last report but that fatal car accidents had increased.
The company said 3,824 sexual assaults were reported on its US platform in 2019 and 2020, while 20 people were killed in attacks and 101 died in crashes.
The report was a follow-up to Uber’s first report, which it released in 2019. The company promised to release reports every two years, but it said the new assessment was delayed by a pandemic-related delay in 2020 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration† Uber uses the agency’s methodology and data standards to analyze vehicle fatalities.
The number of reported sexual assaults was down from 5,981 in 2017 and 2018, the period covered by Uber’s first report, although the company made far fewer trips in 2020 due to the pandemic: 650 million compared to 1.4 billion. in 2019. Still, Uber said the number of reported sexual assaults had fallen 38 percent.
The number of deaths from attacks had risen from nine in the previous period, as well as fatal accidents, which killed 58 people in 2017 and 2018. Uber said the spike in fatal car accidents was a reflection of an overall deadlier year on the roads in 2020, that is. supported by data from NHTSA†
Deaths rose that year, in part from speeding on less congested highways during the pandemic, making it the deadliest year since 2007, the NHTSA said. While most Uber-related car deaths occurred in the two years in 2019, the percentage was higher in 2020.
The company said 99.9 percent of Uber rides are incident-free and that only 0.0002 percent of all rides contain one of the critical safety incidents identified in the report. The data does not only include injuries and rides, no food deliveries on UberEats.
Uber has tried to reshape its image, and the release of safety data is seen as an important part of that makeover.
The company has added safety options in recent years, such as the ability for drivers to film rides and for both drivers and riders to record audio from them in the Uber app. Uber said more than 500,000 potential drivers failed the 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 record checks.
“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 act and also be honest with the public about their safety records.”
He added: “By addressing the issue and consistently counting reports, we can work together to help end sexual violence.”
In recent months, executive advocacy organizations and members of the congress pressured gig companies to improve the safety of their drivers, and one report estimated that at least 50 gig drivers have died on the job since 2017. Uber’s report on Thursday said 19 drivers were killed in 2019 and 2020 – 14 in crashes and five in attacks.
Uber works with insurance companies to help drivers with accidents and injuries, and reimburses drivers directly in some states where the law requires it, said Andrew Hasbun, a company spokesperson. The company also provides an Uber-specific hotline for sexual assault survivors, in partnership with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, he said.
Uber said it could not provide figures on exposure to Covid-19 or deaths among Uber drivers, but it had allocated $50 million worldwide to safety equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer, and drivers affected by Covid more than $40 million. had given aid.
Uber divides reported sexual assault into five categories, which include consensual kissing, rape and attempted rape. The largest number of reports concerned “unconsensual use of a sexual body part”.
Across the five categories, alleged perpetrators and targets were roughly divided between drivers and drivers. In 56 percent of the cases, motorists were accused of assault and in 43 percent of the drivers. Drivers were the victims in 39 percent and drivers in 61 percent.
Indira Henard, a member of Uber’s Safety Advisory Board and the executive director of the DC Rape Crisis Center, said releasing data on sexual assault could help remove the stigma surrounding an underreported type of crime.
“By being transparent about their safety record, Uber wants to end the silence around gender-based violence,” said Dr. Henry in an interview.