By Levi Sumagaysay
Uber Technologies Inc. on Thursday released its second U.S. safety report, which showed a rise in fatalities from motor-vehicle crashes and assault incidents, and a drop in sexual-assault reports, compared with its previous safety report.
Uber (NYS:UBER) said that in 2019 and 2020, it saw 101 fatalities across 91 fatal Uber-related crashes, an increase of 7% from its previous report, which covered 2017 to 2018. That was about half the national average, the company noted. It reported 6.2 trillion U.S. miles driven on its platform from 2019 to 2020, compared with 6.4 trillion miles from 2017 to 2018.
The ride-hailing giant also reported 20 fatalities in 19 assault incidents, an 18% increase from its previous report, which it called “in line with the increase in national homicide fatalities.” Fifteen of those who died were passengers, and five were drivers, the company said.
Also in 2019 and 2020, Uber said it received 3,824 reports of the five most severe categories of sexual assault and misconduct, which includes “non-consensual sexual penetration” and kissing and touching of sexual body parts. That’s a 38% drop from the 5,981 reported in its 2017-’18 report, it said. In 43% of those sexual-assault reports, riders were the accused party 43% of the time, similar to what the company found in its first report.
More specifically, there were 247 reports of rape in 2019 and 141 in 2020, according to the report.
The company noted that the period its latest report covers includes a ride-volume decrease of as much as 80% in April 2020 because of shutdowns after the emergence of COVID-19.
Uber is facing pressure from workers groups and politicians over worker safety. Gig Workers Rising recently released a report about more than 50s gig workers who have been killed on the job since 2017, which included 26 people who were fatally assaulted while working for Uber.
On the heels of that report, several lawmakers, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, asked Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi for more detailed information about worker safety, including the company’s policies and practices when one of its drivers dies on the job. They asked for a response by June 22.
“Uber has not sufficiently protected and supported [drivers] in the face of a global pandemic, increasing violence, and economic instability. Your refusal to grant them basic insurance and benefits, even in the face of death on the job, and despite their key role in your business, is unacceptable,” the lawmakers wrote.
Uber has not returned a request for comment about whether the company has responded to the lawmakers’ letter.
Uber’s stock has tumbled 51.2% year to date through Thursday, while the S&P 500 index (S&P:SPX) has dropped 20.6%.