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Uber, Lyft, and Sexual Assault

By September 26, 2019No Comments

Rumors and horror stories of sexual assault by Uber drivers have made their way into urban legend. Sadly, those rumors are based in startling facts. A CNN investigation found at least 103 Uber drivers accused of sexual assault. While statistics for Lyft are harder to find, they aren’t any different. Both are often used by intoxicated people who are doing the right thing by choosing not to drive under the influence. Unfortunately, intoxicated riders then become easy prey for drivers who perpetrate sexual assault on their riders.

Both companies have been slow to properly address these issues. Neither of these services does any real background check on drivers. And, of course, there’s no way to background check passengers either. The problem is so bad that there is a running list of the injured kept online.

And the problem is not just for the riders, but also for drivers. Many drivers have reported problems with sexual harassment from passengers. Again, the companies’ responses have been inadequate.

Remember that if a sexual assault happens, the victim is not to blame. It is always the perpetrator, and sometimes companies that negligently fail to provide for customer safety. Here are the companies’ safety tips for using their services:

  1. Wait inside. Outside, studying your phone, you look like someone waiting for a ride.
  2. Confirm details – of the car and the driver – to make sure it is your ride
  3. Map your ride yourself
  4. Do not share private information with your driver. This includes phone numbers, credit card numbers, and other personal identifiers.
  5. Ride in the backseat.
  6. Tell a friend where you are going and who you are with. Both Uber and Lyft apps have an option to share this information with someone else. The “share status” option in the Uber app gives your friend information about your ride, even if they don’t have the app. The “send ETA” feature on the Lyft app does the same thing.

Finally, trust your gut. If something feels unsafe, you can use the emergency button located in the Uber app, which also can provide your real-time location and trip details to share with the dispatcher. You can also call 911.

Understanding your legal rights in the civil justice system is important. If you have experienced an assault while using a rideshare service, contact Koller Trial Law   to learn more about your rights.