When you use a rideshare program like Uber to pick you up and take you home after a night out with friends, it’s reasonable to expect you’ll get home safely. However, sexual assault and harassment have become more common for passengers of Uber.
Some passengers have filed lawsuits claiming they were assaulted after passing out in the backseat of an Uber. Sadly, the Safety Report that Uber released analyzing the years 2017 and 2019 listed 5,981 incidents of alleged sexual assault across the nation.
For 2019 and 2020, 3,824 sexual assault incidents were recorded in Uber’s study. Even though the numbers seem to have gone down, it’s important to remember that not every passenger that is harassed or assaulted files a report.
In fact, Uber has suggested that it only reports the incidents when it deactivates the driver in question. That was shot down by an overseeing commission, though it still highlights the fact that not every single sexual harassment or assault that occurs in an Uber ride share is reported.
What Is Uber Doing to Protect Passengers?
As of 2019, Uber claimed that it had begun training its drivers to avoid sexual assault and harassment by working with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), among other agencies. It was a good start, though the commission has mandated that every ride-hailing platform develop a program helmed by a recognized expert to train drivers.
Uber and other rideshare companies would be required to provide a copy of their policies for the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual assault to all drivers and passengers. They are additionally required to issue a timely response to assault claims.
Unfortunately, it’s not always enough to keep passengers safe in an Uber. If Uber can’t help prevent sexual assault and harassment, then it means you’ll have to take matters into your own hands.
What Actions Can You Take If You’re Sexually Assaulted or Harassed in an Uber?
According to Uber sexual assault lawyers Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, you should not hesitate to call 911 if you think you are in immediate danger while riding in an Uber. But if it’s not an urgent situation, you can record what is going on with your phone. You should make note of the date, time, where the Uber driver picked you up, and where they dropped you off.
Make sure you take note of the specific comments the driver made to you. This is why recording the incident can be helpful because it provides evidence to show the driver was inappropriate.
Once you have this evidence, report the driver to Uber. You can also use the rating system on the app and explain why you gave them a low rating. If you don’t feel that Uber has done enough, your next step should be contacting a sexual assault lawyer with experience in Uber cases.