Today, the NY Times reported that over 3000 sexual assaults were reported in US rides last year. Lyft has reportedly been sued by 55 women to date, for sexual assaults committed through their service. Both services screen their drivers for criminal backgrounds and persons required to register as sex offenders are not allowed to drive for either company.
Both ride share programs point out that their companies provide millions of rides per day, and in 99.9% of cases nothing remarkable happens. Still, news reports will focus on and inevitably legislative policy will target the extremely rare occurrences that barely ever happen.
Yesterday, Uber published it’s US Safety Report (you can read the executive summary here). Among other information, it provided statistics for sexual assaults and traffic crashes.
You can chose to spin the statistics the way the New York Times and the articles from earlier this week about dating apps did, and say that as a result of motor vehicle accidents during Uber rides there were 107 total fatalities in 2017 and 97 in 2018. That might be factually correct, but when taken in the context of another fact; “this year, nearly 4 million Uber trips happened every day in the US—more than 45 rides every second”, those stats seem pretty low.
To quantify the “problem”, rides where serious incidents occurred (such as sexual assaults or accidents in which injuries were sustained), accounted for 3/10,000ths of 1% of all rides. Because of this 0.0003% chance, you will now have people going to their legislators and asking them to create unnecessary new laws.The media could have just as easily reported that 99.9997% of all rides went perfectly. Couldn’t the NY Times have reported just how safe Uber and Lyft are instead of creating hysteria?