Exploring Recent Sexual Assaul...


Exploring Recent Sexual Assault Cases Involving Uber and Lyft: Legal Analysis

Legal Analysis
The Silicon Review
02 August, 2023

Uber and Lyft have innovated how people get around, offering more availability than taxis in smaller cities and suburbs. However, as these rideshare options have grown popular, they’ve increased sexual assault cases.

For 2017 and 2018, Uber had nearly 6,000 sexual assault reports. For 2019 and 2020, sexual assault reports were close to 4,000. Likewise, Lyft released its own safety report detailing statistics from 2017 through 2019. Lyft’s numbers revealed over 4,000 reported sexual assaults, including 360 specifically for rape, while more than 2,000 were related to nonconsensual touching.

As such, both Uber and Lyft have faced numerous lawsuits claiming that they do not have adequate safety measures to protect passengers.

About Sexual Assault Crimes

Unfortunately, sexual assaults happen, and when they do, they often go unreported. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), more than two out of every three sexual assaults are not reported.

Looking at the recorded reports for both Uber and Lyft becomes more troubling since those are only for the known sexual assaults. There could be many more for both companies that have not been reported, indicating that the problem is much more significant than reported.

Sexual Assault Lawsuits Involving Uber and Lyft

Both rideshare platforms are facing considerable fallout due to the reluctance to initially reveal any information about sexual assault and harassment. It’s led to plenty of lawsuits for each company.

Uber Lawsuits

Uber’s report showed that both passengers and drivers had been victims of sexual assault. This also adds another layer that begs the question, what is Uber doing about workplace safety for its drivers?

Uber only published its safety report due to a lawsuit in April 2018. This lawsuit was filed by 14 women who claimed they were victims of sexual assault. It resulted in Uber lifting forced arbitration requirements for any passenger, driver, or employee who wanted to file a sexual lawsuit against the rideshare platform.

Lyft Lawsuits

Lyft has also faced numerous sexual assault lawsuits. The filings claim that the company has inadequate background checks and does not have proper safety measures to keep passengers safe.

Additionally, reports have claimed that Lyft did not acknowledge sexual assault incidents. In one case, Lyft reportedly told a passenger who had reported being raped by a driver that she would get her money back for the ride, but it never addressed her report of the sexual assault.

One lawsuit against Lyft brought by 19 women who were sexually assaulted by drivers was filed in December of 2019. They claimed that Lyft did nothing to prevent these sexual attacks as it had not implemented basic safety measures. Additionally, once they each reported these incidents, Lyft failed to follow up. In some cases, the rideshare giant didn’t take the allegations seriously.

Since sexual assault cases continue to occur, many are left to wonder what the rideshare companies will do next. Better preventative measures need to be implemented, and those that experience sexual assault must be given the confidence and assurance to report the assault. Otherwise, the numbers will be skewed. After all, rideshares operate across the country, and there’s no telling how many more victims have yet to file a report with Uber or Lyft.

What Can You Do If You’re Worried About Being Sexually Assaulted in a Rideshare?

When you’re traveling and need a ride from the airport or around town, or you’ve had too much to drink and need a sober ride home, you may need to call Uber or Lyft. It’s important to note that not all rideshare drivers will attack or harm you.

Still, you should feel safe when using these services. While Uber has introduced sexual misconduct training and other features to keep riders and drivers safe, Lyft has lagged behind.

Regardless of safety features, the best way to protect yourself when using a rideshare service is first to make sure that the car that arrives is a legitimate driver from the company. In fact, they should know your name, and asking them to say your name will reveal whether they are legitimate or not.

The apps will also have information about the driver that you should take a moment to check before getting in the car. Things like the vehicle’s make and model, license plate number, and a photo of the driver are often included.

Once inside, use the trip-sharing features with your friends or family so they can keep track of you. Let the driver know this because it means they’d be more likely to get caught when you’re using this feature.

If you are sexually assaulted in a rideshare, you should speak to a lawyer about what to do next. You can click here to read more.