Uber says 3,045 sexual assaults involving drivers and passengers reported in U.S. rides last year

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/12/05/uber-says-3045-sexual-assault.html

1 Like

Uber says 3,045 sexual assaults reported in U.S. rides last year

I’m thinking that number does not reflect the reality that most go unreported…


All I want to know is how does (did?) the rate, not the number, the rate, compare to conventional taxi services, though?

Especially because cab drivers have a certain (IMO unearned) reputation of being skeezy, and Uber not being that was a large part of its appeal.

I’m assuming this is what happens when a business relies solely on freelance labor rather than actual fairly compensated employees: they check the car, do a basic background check, and that’s it.
Nobody’s there long enough to notice that something’s off with Joe before something serious happens.


Although they do keep detailed records of who was driving and who was in the car. The investigations should be relatively easy.

I’m thinking more along the lines of having others around who could notice behavioral red flags before a serious incident occurs.

Though, yes, I did think about the possibility that a higher reporting rate could be a good thing, if Uber makes it easier to lodge complaints than a traditional Taxi service would.

Gosh! Who would have thought that a company created to avoid govt regulations and oversight would have serious problems?


Skeezy? Get real, people use uber and lyft because they are cheaper and phone app based.

Of course the cheapness comes from not having drivers with CDLs, not paying the drivers well, and avoiding a bunch of govt transportation regulations.

Ever been to Lima, Peru? Their taxis are unregulated. Getting in the wrong one could be the last thing you ever do. Uber and Lyft are taking us to that type of system.


So class action civil lawsuit right?

They clearly don’t care about people’s safety, maybe hitting them in the wallet will change things.

Though there is an increasing amount of gaming going on, with drivers having multiple accounts, presumably using fake IDs, to get more jobs. That environment may make traceability difficult.

Trying to phrase this without saying/blaming/shaming the victims here - apologies in advance for any poor phrase-ology etc - their safety & trust has been abused!

I would be interested in comparison to other taxi services in each of the communities that they serve - right now we appear to have figures for USA as a block - maybe these need to be broken down by town/city with comparisons to other services to identify how risky Uber etc are!

Also, what about the rest of the world? Don’t they deserve to know also?


As the Transport for London case against Uber demonstrates, the records can be inaccurate with at least 14,000 identified as being false, with drivers not being licensed and or insured.


That’s the other significant part, of it, sure, but on busy times when the fare multiplier is active, it’s not always the case, and people still choose it over cabs. Maybe people really are that lazy, maybe being drunk is a huge part of it, but I still feel there’s some other reason.

I’ve seen multiple discussions, back a few years ago, in various local discussion groups, about Uber vs a Taxi, when Uber was just barely coming to town, and there was a pretty strong consensus that cabs are “gross” and cabbies are “creepy” whereas Uber drivers are “friendly” and their cars are “clean.”
I’ve also heard the same sort of thing from people I know firsthand.
Sure, the plural of anecdote isn’t data, and, again, I personally disagree with it, but it’s still a narrative I’ve seen pop up more than once.

Ever been to Lima, Peru? Their taxis are unregulated. Getting in the wrong one could be the last thing you ever do. Uber and Lyft are taking us to that type of system.

No disagreements there.


Too late. They’ve already started “in light of the number of rides, it’s a very small number” defenses.


"As troubling as those statistics are, the incidents they capture are rare. People in the U.S. took 2.3 billion rides using Uber in those two years. For 99.9% of those trips, no safety incident was reported, while 0.1% had some sort of complaint. But the serious safety problems detailed in the report were even more uncommon.

“At the scale that Uber operates, we’re going to see both the good and the bad that happens in society because we’re operating so many trips every single day,” said Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer."

IOW, if women go out in public, you know, some are gonna get raped. No biggie! It’s just how stuff is. Get over it! :face_vomiting:


So that is the real issue…what do we not know about, right?

I saw on morning TV “Shocking report…UBER reports 5000 sexual assaults!!”
And my first thought was…wait, what percentage is that of rides UBER gives? As it turns out it is less than 1%. Now I thought…what is the benchmark? As in what is the percent of assaults reported by percentage of any “activity” and I am willing to be (I do not know) it is probably about the same percent.

My point here is…this isn’t an UBER problem. This isn’t a shocking number. It is horrible that it is any number higher than 1 regardless of the percentage. This is as usual a FUCKING MALES BEING ASSHOLES WHO CANNOT CONTROL THEMSELVES PROBLEM.

I believe the phrase here might be toxic masculinity or perhaps rape culture?


You would think UBER would use this opportunity to say something like…“This isn’t an UBER problem, this is a HUMAN problem…and we are going to help fix it. Let’s work to change rape culture and hold men accountable for their actions when they do this”

Or something to that effect, way more articulate and poignant.

1 Like

Rate is 3,000 per 1.3 billion rides. So one assault for every 433,000 rides. Not sure where to find the equivalent rate for taxis.

I wish more reporting would include rates.

Your math seems to be off. 6,000 incidents over 2.3 billion rides is 0.00026%, not 0.1%. You are off by 4 orders of magnitude. This is a level of risk on par with being hit by lightning.

1 Like

Not my math, but the “0.1%” was specifically “some kind of complaint” unspecified. I would guess the sexual assaults were a small subset of that.

It’s hard to read anything into “some kind of complaint” numbers, since those include a fair bit of nonsense like “the driver was ugly looking” and “the seats didn’t match my outfit”.