TechnologyEnhancing Passenger Safety The Fight Against Uber Assaults

Enhancing Passenger Safety The Fight Against Uber Assaults

In recent years, concerns surrounding the safety of ride-hailing services have been brought to the forefront. The issue has particularly risen about assaults committed by Uber drivers. 

The vast majority of Uber rides occur without incidents claiming a negative experience from the passengers. There have been, however, reported cases of passengers being subjected to various forms of assault, ranging from verbal to physical. 

These incidents have raised important questions about the screening and accountability measures in place for Uber drivers. The company is also being questioned on the responsibility to ensure the safety of their riders.

The increasing cases of harassment in the United States have resulted in the filing of Uber sexual assault lawsuits by individuals across the country. Many female passengers have filed these lawsuits against the incidents of rape, harassment, sexual assault, and other sexual violence acts.  

This article aims to shed light on the troubling issue of assaults involving Uber drivers, highlighting the need for increased awareness and rigorous safety protocols to protect passengers from harm.

Rising Issues of Assaults

Uber is one of the most commonly used daily cab services globally. However, in recent years the number of people alleging cases of sexual assault has been rising rapidly. Allegations range from groping to kidnapping to rape.

According to TorHoerman Law, nearly 10,000 cases of sexual assault have already been reported between 2017-2020. The majority of the victims and plaintiffs are women all across the country. Looking at the increasing cases, these lawsuits were consolidated into multidistrict litigation in October 2023.

Uber’s own U.S. safety report has seen 3, 824 complaints across five categories filed on the company’s app. Women are slowly opening up about these assaults with the help of social media and taking legal action against the drivers. 

Two sexual assault survivors shared their story on ABC7News. They thought that taking Uber was a safer option but it proved to be the exact opposite of that. One of them had been negatively affected because of the incident and it took her years of acceptance to talk about the issue.

Safety Initiatives by Uber

After receiving multiple reports of sexual assaults, Uber has kept launching different safety features in the app. In 2018, it launched a 911 button and location-sharing feature which made it easier to share a passenger’s location to a friend.

In 2021, it launched an audio feature that allowed both riders and drivers to 

record audio during the trip. In the next year that followed, Uber launched a pilot to provide live help from a safety agent. Pin verifications were also enhanced to ensure connection with the correct drivers.

However, survivors and attorneys are asking for better technological enhancements. In-vehicle surveillance cameras are highly requested by the passengers. Additionally, more extensive background checks and driver training are highly on demand.

Fighting Big

One of the worst feelings of powerlessness takes over when the culprit is roaming free and the victim is suffering. A case from LA seems to have the same story.

A young girl just started attending a fashion school and therefore shifted from Los Gatos to LA. The incident happened in 2019 when she booked an Uber and was picked up around 01:00 a.m. from a nightclub.

She was heavily intoxicated due to alcohol consumption and wanted to go home. While entering the cab, she was asked to sit in the front seat by the driver and it was all blur after that.

According to the police report stated on NBCBayArea, she was in the cab till 6:30 a.m. She was allegedly raped by the driver. After filing charges, she is still waiting for the case to close.

There have been significant delays in the case due to the shifting of cases from the state court. Her attorney has suggested that it could take around a decade to reach a verdict. 

The victim has commented, ‘I don’t have ten years to wait. My physique is degenerating by the minute, day by day. It’s only getting worse. I need to figure out a way to survive now.’

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What safety measures should I look for in a cab?

Look for cabs equipped with functioning seat belts for all passengers. Additionally, some modern cab services offer additional safety features like GPS tracking, emergency buttons, and driver ratings, which can provide an added layer of security.

What actions should I take if I encounter an unsafe or unprofessional cab driver?

If you experience inappropriate behavior or feel unsafe during a cab ride, report the incident immediately to the cab company. Provide them with details about the driver and the incident itself. Additionally, consider reporting the incident to local authorities, as appropriate, to help ensure the safety of others. 

How can I verify the legitimacy of a cab driver?

Before getting into a cab, check for identification and licenses prominently displayed in the vehicle. Note the driver’s name and photo, and compare them with the information provided by the cab company’s app or website. If you have any doubts, it’s best to cancel the ride and request another cab.

 What should I do if I feel uncomfortable or unsafe during a cab ride?

Trust your instincts. If you sense something is wrong, you can ask the driver to stop in a populated area and exit the cab. If you feel threatened or in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to call emergency services. It’s crucial to prioritize your safety and well-being.

The occurrences of assaults involving Uber drivers have shed light on the critical issue of passenger safety within the ride-hailing industry. Uber and other companies must prioritize robust screening processes, thorough background checks, and ongoing monitoring of their drivers. 

As users of ride-hailing services, it is equally important for passengers to remain vigilant, trust their instincts, and report any incidents promptly. 

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