Uber Releases Safety Report Documenting Number of Sexual Assaults, Murders in 2018

Posted by: Jesse Kleib on 11/16/2021

Do we need to worry about ridesharing apps?

The numbers, at first, sound rather jarring. A New York Times headline read “Uber Says 3,045 Sexual Assaults Were Reported in U.S. Rides Last Year.”

When we look closer, though, Uber might be safer than some might expect. After all, we were always told not to get into a car with a stranger. Today, it’s pretty commonplace.

That’s certainly a lot of cases, in total. Sexual assault is terrible and definitely not to be taken lightly. Every single case is something to be pursued to the highest extent of the law. It’s also important that Uber takes a role in making sure that it doesn’t occur in their cars.

However, when we break it down, that headline doesn’t necessarily spell out a complete disaster. In fact, the odds say that a given Uber ride will have a negative side effect in astronomically low proportions. In fact, we would say that most who use the service are almost certain to be safe, by the numbers.

Let’s dig into that “3,045” figure to see where it stands on the spectrum of Uber rides, as a whole. The report from Uber says that they were accountable for 1.3 billion rides in 2018. That means that there was about a .0002% chance of sexual assault happening in each ride. In other words, it would occur once out of every 5,000 rides, if we did the math correctly. This comes along with an average of 2,750 examples of groping or unwanted sexual touching total in 2018. If we’re rounding up, that just about doubles these sorts of occurrences to two times out of 5,000 rides. The actual number is ever so slightly less.

The report included the numbers for murders and fatal crashes as well. In 2018, the company reports that those numbers were 9 and 58, respectively. The murders were split just about evenly between passenger and driver. In other words, the odds that this will happen are negligible.

In a world where getting into a car with a stranger is rather concerning, it seems like Uber has done a good job of weeding out potential hazards. Uber does require any drivers to go through a background check. The check covers the driver’s driving record and criminal history.

Now, these numbers could always be better and it will be important for the company to stay vigilant. However, we would say that their quoted 99.9% success rate of safe rides isn’t bad for such a young outlet. As they grow, we would expect to see these numbers improve.

Fights, arguments and more have broken out in Uber as well. During the rides, verbal disputes are not uncommon.