For years, Uber has resisted talking directly about its safety record. In fact, it was not until 2019 that Uber finally reported its safety numbers. While the transparency is important, the disclosure was hardly positive. In the 2019 report, Uber acknowledged that 3,045 cases of Uber sexual assaults were reported in 2018. This number only reflects incidents in the United States.
It is also worth noting that the reports of sexual assault are probably underplayed. Uber's numbers reflected incidents of unwanted kissing, touching of sexual body parts, attempted rape and rape. However, cases involving touching of nonsexual body parts and sexual harassment were not included. This means that the numbers are even higher.
After the report was released, Uber was quick to point out that the numbers, however daunting they may look, reflected just a small portion of its overall rides. In 2018, Uber completed 1.3 billion rides in the United States. There were violent incidents reported in just 0.0002 percent of them.
Uber's attempt at spin aside, the numbers are still deeply troubling. After all, Uber's lax regulations have made such incidents possible. The company is finally taking some action. Now, Uber uses automated technology to routinely check driving records and criminal history of drivers. With this increased vigilance, Uber deactivated 40,000 drivers in the United States. It is a step in the right direction, but the risk is still real.