The Rideshare Rape Epidemic

Madeleine Jones
January 10, 2018

Uber, one of the largest and most popular ride-share services around the world is now under fire for numerous allegations of rape and sexual assault by its drivers. In the past few years, hundreds of passengers reported that they were sexually assaulted by Uber drivers while using their ride-share services, exposing the ride-share rape epidemic that spans throughout America.

If you or a family member was seriously injured in a rideshare, call a car accident attorney at Cogburn Law Offices today for a free case consultation.

Are Ride-Share Services Safe?

Most alleged assaults have been perpetrated against female passengers by male drivers, but some female drivers say they have been sexually harassed by male passengers as well. The growing number of alleged sexual assaults against Uber drivers has created a dangerous ride-share rape epidemic across the country, leaving passengers fearful that ride-share services are not safe.

Several states, including California, Texas, and Massachusetts, have launched investigations into Uber over reports of alleged sexual assaults. They claim that Uber routinely fails to perform adequate background checks on drivers and fails to monitor drivers for any inappropriate conduct after they are hired. District attorneys claim that Uber is misleading passengers about driver background checks that are rarely done. The company has a history of hiring drivers with criminal histories. In Los Angeles and San Francisco, lawsuits have been filed against Uber for fraudulently charging $1 “safe ride fees” per ride that guarantee the safety of passengers.

Injury lawyers have expressed safety concerns with Uber’s ride-share services, which use a smartphone app to pair passengers with drivers using their own cars. Some state lawmakers allege that Uber misleads its customers about business and safety practices.

Uber currently operates in more than 70 countries, and many government officials are now questioning the safety of their ride-share services. In California, Uber has refused to comply with state laws that protect consumers from harm and fraud. Recently, similar lawsuits have been filed by state regulators in Nevada and Oregon, as well as foreign countries including Spain, India, and Thailand. In Nevada, a Las Vegas injury lawyer sees a growing number of personal injury claims being filed against ride-share services. In 2017, Uber faced a number of personal injury claims and lawsuits regarding sexual assault and harassment allegations. In June, Uber’s CEO was forced to resign, and a new CEO was hired to turn things around.

Alleged Cases of Sexual Assault

Los Angeles, California

In June 2017, an Uber driver was arrested after sexually assaulting an intoxicated female passenger who fell asleep. Instead of taking the woman to her destination, the Uber driver drove her to a motel, rented a room, carried her inside, then sexually assaulted her. The Uber driver who was arrested for the assault has five prior felony convictions in California for narcotics-related crimes.

Seattle, Washington

In August 2017, police arrested an Uber driver for holding a passenger hostage and raping her for hours. After she was picked up in an affluent Capitol Hill neighborhood, the driver canceled the ride and told the woman that there was no charge. He then drove her to an apartment building, forced her inside, and carried out the sexual assault. Seattle police are warning ride-share passengers about safety risks if rides are canceled by drivers while en route to a destination.

Other cases of sexual assault have been filed across the country, as well as in other countries:

  • In 2017, an Uber driver in Virginia Beach allegedly raped a 19-year-old female passenger after picking her up from her boyfriend’s house in a nearby area.
  • In 2017, a Lyft driver in Chicago allegedly raped a 25-year-old woman after he picked her up and she fell asleep in the vehicle.
  • In 2017, an Uber driver in Brisbane, Australia was arrested and charged with raping a female passenger. He is suspect is numerous other sexual assaults.
  • In 2016, Uber settled a lawsuit that alleged the rape of a female passenger by a driver in India. Although the lawsuit was settled, it was reignited in 2017 after it was discovered that Uber executives obtained the victim’s medical records and mishandled the file before the settlement.

With numerous, world-wide allegations and charges of sexual assault by Uber drivers, the future of the ride-share company seems uncertain. Uber is reportedly worth approximately $68 billion and is the largest ride-shade service in the world, recent allegations of sexual assault may change that in the near future.