A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article about Uber safety issues in South America.
I closed by commenting that your mother’s advice not to get into a car with a stranger was wise, but was also the Uber business model.
Today, I saw this article and realized that maybe it wasn’t so funny after all.
Over 3,000 sexual assaults were reported during Uber rides in the U.S. in 2018, according to an eye-opening company safety report released Thursday.
That number includes 235 reported rapes in the ride service’s 1.3 billion trips in the U.S. that year. The previous year, 2,936 sexual assaults were reported across 1 billion trips.
Additionally, nine people were murdered and 58 were killed in car crashes, the report found.
There’s more detail in the article and car crashes are a risk no matter who is driving, but still it seems unwise for people, especially young women, to get into a vehicle with a complete stranger.
“I suspect many people will be surprised at how rare these incidents are; others will understandably think they’re still too common,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted Thursday. “Some people will appreciate how much we’ve done on safety; others will say we have more work to do. They will all be right.”
Well, there’s a semantically null statement. No doubt carefully crafted by a lawyer or public relations hack.
When riding with strangers, stay alert, stay off your phone, be aware of your surroundings. I also sometimes put the destination into Waze on my phone just to be sure we’re not “getting lost.”
Keeping track of your surroundings and route is a very good idea. Also, you may want to “share your ride” so someone else knows what you’re doing.
The bottom line is that this is not a risk free activity. Nor, of course, is a ride in a taxi. Both are arguably safer than hitch hiking.