Uber's first safety review contains thousands of sexual assault reports

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				REUTERS

The company claims that all the incidents combined represent just 0.0002 percent of Uber's 1.3 billion rides in the United States past year.

The ride-sharing giant said the safety report was conducted with the intent of providing transparency and accountability around its app for both riders and drivers. During the two-year-span, eight riders were killed, seven were drivers using the Uber app and four were third parties - likely bystanders, the data showed.

The report also examined other safety categories, including violent crimes such as physical assaults and motor vehicle deaths.

Of these incidents, riders were accused as the perpetrator 45% of the time. Just in California, at least 52 riders have sued Lyft this year over allegations they were assaulted or harassed by their drivers, according to filings reviewed by Bloomberg News.

In 2017, 2,936 instances of sexual assault across Uber's five major categories were reported, with 3,045 instances being reported in 2018.

The next safety report will be published in two years' time.

The five subcategories it classed sexual assault into ranged from "Non-Consensual Kissing of a Non-Sexual Body Part" to "Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration".

"During 2017 and 2018, there were 19 fatal physical assaults occurring in a total of 18 incidents in relation to Uber", the company said.

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The company also said Uber rides were involved in 58 traffic fatalities, and nine murders in 2018. According to Uber, approximately 90% of Uber-related fatal crashes occurred in urban areas. For instance, Thomson Reuters Foundation 2018 survey says India is the most risky country for sexual violence against women.

In a tweet, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said: "Doing the right thing means counting, confronting, and taking action to end sexual assault".

Uber said it will release safety reports on a bi-yearly basis moving forward. The company also says it owes it to both drivers and riders to disclose these incidents so they know how safe a ride will be when they decide to pull up the Uber app. But even though the decision to do so was hard, we have chosen to produce this report because we believe that for too long, companies have not discussed these issues publicly, particularly those relating to sexual violence.

Whilst that sounds pretty harrowing at face value, 1.3 billion rides were taken in the US last year, which means that the number of unsafe incidents makes up just 0.0002 percent of total rides. The company has also tripled its safety team since 2017, now employing 300 people.

A Lyft spokeswoman said the company understood that women faced "disproportionate risks" when they traveled.

Last month, London refused to renew Uber's license to operate in the city, after reports of safety issues concerning impostor drivers. We are partnering with RAINN, the nation's largest sexual violence organization, to design and implement this program.

In explaining its background checks, the report revealed that 76% of the more than one million prospective drivers who failed Uber's screening process were disqualified during the MVR check, which screens for people driving under the influence, reckless driving, and leaving the scene of a crash.

Rival Lyft Inc in a statement said it was committed to releasing its own safety report and sharing information on unsafe drivers. Uber stock is down slightly in pre-marketing trading Friday.

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