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Uber Safety Report Says Sexual Assaults Down but Rate of Traffic Deaths Up

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Uber said in a security report on Thursday that sexual assaults in its ride-hailing vehicles were down significantly since its last report but that the speed of fatal automobile crashes had increased.

The corporate said 3,824 sexual assaults were reported on its U.S. platform in 2019 and 2020, while 20 people were killed in assaults and 101 died in crashes.

The report was a sequel to Uber’s initial report, which it released in 2019. The corporate committed to releasing reports every two years, however it said the brand new review had been slowed 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 research vehicle fatalities.

Reported sexual assaults were down from 5,981 in 2017 and 2018, the period covered by Uber’s first report, though the corporate logged far fewer trips in 2020 due to pandemic: 650 million compared with 1.4 billion in 2019. Still, Uber said the speed of reported sexual assaults had decreased 38 percent.

Deaths from assaults were similar from 19 within the previous period, as were fatal crashes, which killed 107 people in 2017 and 2018. Uber said the spike in the speed of fatal automobile crashes reflected an overall deadlier yr on the roads in 2020, which is backed by data from NHTSA.

Deaths increased that yr partially due to speeding on less-crowded highways throughout the pandemic, making it the deadliest yr since 2007, NHTSA said, Though a lot of the Uber-related vehicle deaths within the two years occurred in 2019, the speed was higher in 2020.

The corporate said that 99.9 percent of Uber rides happen without incident, and that just 0.0002 percent of all rides include one among the critical safety incidents mentioned within the report. The information doesn’t include injuries and tallies only rides, not food deliveries on UberEats.

Uber has tried to reshape its image, and releasing safety data has been seen a key component of that makeover.

The corporate has added safety options in recent times, comparable to the flexibility for drivers to film rides and for each drivers and riders to record audio from them within the Uber app. Uber said that greater than 500,000 prospective drivers had did not pass its screening process in 2019 and 2020, and that greater than 80,000 drivers had been faraway from the app in consequence of the corporate’s continuous checking of criminal records.

“Secrecy doesn’t make anyone safer,” Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, said in a press release. “That’s why we call on firms across the industry to step up and in addition be honest with the general public about their safety records.”

Updated 

June 30, 2022, 4:38 p.m. ET

He added, “By confronting the problem and counting reports consistently, we are able to work together to assist end sexual violence.”

In recent months, driver advocacy organizations and members of Congress have pressured gig firms to enhance the protection of their drivers, and one report estimated that not less than 50 gig drivers had been killed on the job since 2017. Uber’s report Thursday said 19 drivers were killed in 2019 and 2020 — 14 in crashes and five in assaults.

Uber works with insurance firms to assist drivers with accidents and injuries, and pays for injury protection insurance in some states where laws require it, said Andrew Hasbun, an organization spokesman. The corporate also offers an Uber-specific hotline for survivors of sexual assault, in partnership with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, he said.

Cherri Murphy, a former Lyft driver and spokeswoman for Gig Employees Rising, a driver advocacy group, questioned whether driving for Uber was protected.

“Uber executives want you to think that throwing numbers and statistics on the reporters will idiot us into believing Uber is protected for employees and for passengers,” Ms. Murphy said in a press release. “But employees have long known that the protection features they speak of are fake, and fail to maintain employees protected.”

Uber said that it couldn’t provide numbers about Covid-19 exposure or deaths amongst Uber drivers, but that it had allocated $50 million globally toward safety supplies like masks and hand sanitizer, and given drivers affected by Covid greater than $40 million in aid.

Uber divides reported sexual assault into five categories, including nonconsensual kissing, rape and attempted rape. The biggest variety of reports were “nonconsensual touching of a sexual body part.”

Across the five categories, alleged perpetrators and targets were roughly split between riders and drivers. Drivers were accused of assault in 56 percent of cases and riders in 43 percent. Drivers were the victim in 39 percent and riders in 61 percent.

Indira Henard, a member of Uber’s Safety Advisory Board and the chief director of the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, said releasing data about sexual assaults could help dispel stigma around an underreported kind of crime.

“By being transparent with their safety record, Uber is aiming to stop the silence around gender-based violence,” Dr. Henard said in an interview.

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