Extraordinary Number of Sexual, Physical Assaults by Uber and Lyft Drivers in Single Month Point to Dangerous Trend
National Reporting Rates Hint That Overall Number of Sexual Assaults by Drivers Could Be Even Higher
As Uber and Lyft continue to resist submitting their drivers to fingerprint background checks, the evidence mounts that passengers are at serious risk, with January being one of the worst months on record for assaults against customers.
Alleged incidents involving Uber and Lyft drivers
In just the first month of this year, the following alleged incidents involving the drivers were reported:
- Uber driver accused of sexually assaulting female passenger while burglarizing her home (Athens, Georgia; 1/7/16).
- Lyft driver charged with groping, stalking female passenger (Jacksonville, Florida; 1/19/16).
- Uber driver arrested for sexually assaulting 16-year-old girl passenger (Phoenix, Arizona; 1/1/16).
- Male passenger sues Uber alleging sexual assault and false imprisonment by driver (Los Angeles, California; 1/18/16)
- Uber driver pleads not guilty to rape and assault charges (Cape Cod, Massachusetts; 1/8/16).
- Uber driver charged with pulling gun on passenger (Bradenton, Florida; 1/25/16).
- Uber driver arrested for molesting woman journalist (Delhi, India; 1/22/16)
- Uber driver allegedly assaults woman passenger (Cincinnati, Ohio; 1/18/2016)
- Woman says Uber driver broke her jaw (Los Angeles, California; 1/13/16)
Even more worrisome is that the actual number of passengers who’ve suffered physical and sexual assaults at the hands of Uber and Lyft drivers could likely be substantially worse than has been reported in the news media. Statistics by a variety of expert sources support this:
- U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics: 15.8 to 35 percent of all sexual assaults are reported to the police.
- National Research Council: 80 percent of sexual assaults go unreported to law enforcement.
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN): Only 32 percent of rapes are reported to police.
The above statistics pertain to the percentage of sexual assaults typically reported to police. Lesser still, will be the number of sexual assaults reported in the news media. For example, the “Who’s Driving You?” campaign had previously tallied zero sexual assaults in the cities of Austin, Texas and Kansas City, Missouri until news reports citing police sources alleged seven sexual assaults attributed to the drivers in each city (grand total of 14). A list of all assaults reported thus far in the media is posted to the “Who’s Driving You?” website.
“The number of sexual assaults publicly attributed to Uber and Lyft is likely the tip of the iceberg,” said Dave Sutton, spokesperson for ‘Who’s Driving You?’ “The fingerprint checks that Uber and Lyft resist won’t completely eliminate risks to passengers, but nothing could better mitigate them. There simply cannot be any more doubt: Allowing these drivers to skip background checks that use fingerprints is a serious and imminent threat to public safety.”
Some government officials are beginning to grasp the severity of the problem. In Massachusetts, for example, the statewide association of police chiefs as well as all of the state’s district attorneys sent letters in recent weeks urging state lawmakers to require that the drivers be fingerprinted.
‘Who’s Driving You?’ is a public safety campaign promoting for-hire vehicle safety and highlighting the risks of Uber and Lyft. It is an initiative of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA), an international non-profit trade association involved in advocating passenger-transportation policy for nearly 100 years and whose membership consists of some 1,000 transportation companies. For more information, visit www.WhosDrivingYou.org, follow us on Twitter (@WhosDrivingYou) and follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/WhosDrivingYou)