UBER & LYFT
Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft are popular options for grabbing a convenient ride. Tragically, it has become increasingly common to hear accounts of sexual assault perpetrated by ride-share drivers. A sexual assault victim can take legal action against the driver and the ride-share company with the help of a sexual assault lawyer.
Melissa Hague is a woman warrior dedicated to getting justice for the survivors of sexual assault. Reporting a ride-share assault to the police can bring charges and jail time through criminal court, but it does nothing to repair the damage done to a victim.
Melissa believes that pursuing legal action through civil court is an important part of the healing process. A sexual assault injury takes a physical, mental, and emotional toll that stays with a survivor for a lifetime. Compensation after an Uber or Lyft sexual assault can provide a survivor with the resources necessary for healing.
Regain your voice today. Contact sexual assault lawyer Melissa Hague and schedule a free, confidential consultation about your options after an Uber or Lyft sexual assault.
Sexual Assault by Rideshare Drivers
For years, sexual assault victims have accused Uber and Lyft of failing to protect their passengers from sexual assault by drivers. They say the companies do too little to ensure a safe environment for riders, and are often more concerned with their bottom line than with safety.
In a 2015 lawsuit, 14 plaintiffs who had allegedly suffered abuse while using Lyft’s platform accused the company of failing to adequately investigate their drivers’ backgrounds, failing to provide sufficient sexual harassment training, and not taking reasonable measures to monitor driver behavior.
Uber has faced similar allegations and has also been accused of doing little to follow up on allegations of assault when they do occur.
A 2019 investigation by the Washington Post found that employees tasked with investigating allegations of misconduct against Uber drivers often failed to report the incidents to police. Even when faced with credible allegations, former investigators for the company said, their role was primarily to protect Uber from liability, rather than its passengers from harm.
Amid widespread public pressure, both Uber and Lyft have released reports in recent years about the frequency of sexual assault on their platforms, showing that allegations of assault were commonplace.
- According to a “community safety report” released in 2021, Lyft received more than 4,000 allegations of sexual assault on its platform between 2017 and 2019, including non-consensual touching, non-consensual kissing, and non-consensual sexual penetration
- Uber’s 2015 safety report detailed 5,981 sexual assault accusations between 2017 and 2018 using similar definitions of assault as those used by Lyft
- Uber received 235 reports of rape in 2018, an average of about four per week
The reports from both companies emphasized that the vast majority of their rides are safe, and that the rate of assault on their platforms is low compared to the number of rides booked.
How to Avoid Being Sexually Assaulted by Rideshare Drivers
Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are such popular travel options that passengers often don’t think to take basic safety precautions. A passenger might never predict that sexual assault will occur in an Uber or Lyft vehicle. However, there are some basic safety steps passengers can take to maximize the chances of a safe ride.
Before getting into a rideshare vehicle, a passenger should:
- Wait in a well-lit area
- Make sure the vehicle type and license plate match the app information
- Ask the driver to give their name and confirm it matches the app information
- Call someone and stay on the phone with them if you have to ride alone
- Don’t sit in the front seat
Uber and Lyft are intended as safe transportation choices when a customer is under the influence, overly tired, or otherwise unable to safely drive. Unfortunately, drivers for these services have been known to take advantage of customers who are impaired.
Victims of rideshare sexual assault often report noticing concerning behavior before the assault occurred. Red flags to watch for in a rideshare driver include:
- Sexual comments
- Nervous behavior
- Taking an unexpected route
- Passing the destination
- Overly personal questions
- Claiming that the app isn’t working
If a rideshare driver ever makes you uncomfortable, the safest move is to call someone you trust, inform them of your current location, and ask the driver to let you out of the vehicle prematurely.
Both Lyft and Uber apps allow passengers to call 911 from within the app, and driver information can be shared with friends to let them know exactly where you are.