TECHNOLOGY

Uber Safety Report Says Sexual Assaults Down but Traffic Deaths Up

Uber mentioned in a security report on Thursday that sexual assaults in its ride-hailing autos have been down considerably since its final report but that deadly automotive crashes had elevated.

The firm mentioned 3,824 sexual assaults have been reported on its US platform in 2019 and 2020, whereas 20 folks have been killed in assaults and 101 died in crashes.

The report was a sequel to Uber’s preliminary report, which it launched in 2019. The firm dedicated to releasing stories each two years, but it mentioned the brand new assessment had been slowed by a pandemic-related delay in 2020 knowledge from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Uber makes use of the company’s methodology and knowledge requirements to investigate car fatalities.

Reported sexual assaults have been down from 5,981 in 2017 and 2018, the interval coated by Uber’s first report, although the corporate logged far fewer journeys in 2020 due to the pandemic: 650 million in comparison with 1.4 billion in 2019. Still, Uber mentioned the speed of reported sexual assaults had decreased 38 p.c.

Deaths from assaults have been up from 9 within the earlier interval, as have been deadly crashes, which killed 58 folks in 2017 and 2018. Uber mentioned the spike in deadly automotive crashes mirrored an total deadlier 12 months on the roads in 2020, which is backed by knowledge from NHTSA.

Deaths elevated that 12 months partly due to rushing on less-crowded highways through the pandemic, making it the deadliest 12 months since 2007, NHTSA mentioned. Though a lot of the Uber-related car deaths within the two years occurred in 2019, the speed was larger in 2020.

The firm mentioned that 99.9 p.c of Uber rides happen with out incident, and that simply 0.0002 p.c of all rides embody one of many crucial security incidents talked about within the report. The knowledge doesn’t embody accidents and tallies solely rides, not meals deliveries on UberEats.

Uber has tried to reshape its picture, and releasing security knowledge has been seen as a key element of that makeover.

The firm has added security choices in recent times, akin to the power for drivers to movie rides and for each drivers and riders to file audio from them within the Uber app. Uber mentioned that greater than 500,000 potential drivers had didn’t move its screening course of in 2019 and 2020, and that greater than 80,000 drivers had been faraway from the app on account of the corporate’s steady checking of felony information.

“Secrecy doesn’t make anybody safer,” Tony West, Uber’s chief authorized officer, mentioned in an announcement. “That’s why we name on corporations throughout the trade to step up and likewise be sincere with the general public about their security information.”

He added, “By confronting the problem and counting stories persistently, we will work collectively to assist finish sexual violence.”

In latest months, driver advocacy organizations and members of Congress have pressured gig corporations to enhance the security of their drivers, and one report estimated that at the least 50 gig drivers had been killed on the job since 2017. Uber’s report Thursday mentioned 19 drivers have been killed in 2019 and 2020 – 14 in crashes and 5 in assaults.

Uber works with insurance coverage corporations to assist drivers with accidents and accidents, and compensates drivers instantly in some states the place legal guidelines require it, mentioned Andrew Hasbun, an organization spokesman. The firm additionally affords an Uber-specific hotline for survivors of sexual assault, in partnership with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, he mentioned.

Uber mentioned it couldn’t present numbers about Covid-19 publicity or deaths amongst Uber drivers, but that it had allotted $ 50 million globally towards security provides like masks and hand sanitizer, and given drivers affected by Covid greater than $ 40 million in assist.

Uber divides reported sexual assault into 5 classes, together with nonconsensual kissing, rape and tried rape. The largest variety of stories have been “nonconsensual touching of a sexual physique half.”

Across the 5 classes, alleged perpetrators and targets have been roughly break up between riders and drivers. Drivers have been accused of assault in 56 p.c of circumstances and riders in 43 p.c. Drivers have been the sufferer in 39 p.c and riders in 61 p.c.

Indira Henard, a member of Uber’s Safety Advisory Board and the chief director of the DC Rape Crisis Center, mentioned releasing knowledge on sexual assaults might assist dispel stigma round an underreported kind of crime.

“By being clear with their security file, Uber is aiming to cease the silence round gender-based violence,” Dr. Henard mentioned in an interview.

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