There are national concerns that rideshare companies are not doing enough to keep their passengers safe. After numerous lawsuits, companies like Lyft and Uber are under pressure to perform stronger driver background checks and adopt better security measures to protect rideshare passengers.
Are Rideshare Services Safe?
Uber and Lyft, popular rideshare companies, are currently under investigation for numerous allegations of physical assaults, rapes and sexual assaults, incidents of verbal abuse, and other forms of inappropriate conduct by their drivers.
Numerous complaints allege that Uber and Lyft routinely fail to perform adequate background checks on drivers and fail to monitor drivers for inappropriate conduct after they are hired. Investigations show that rideshare drivers with criminal backgrounds are often hired after minimal background checks that don’t include fingerprinting, putting rideshare passengers at risk of serious harm.
In 2017, a Los Angeles Uber driver was arrested after sexually assaulting an intoxicated female passenger who fell asleep during the ride. Instead of taking the woman to her requested destination, the driver drove to a nearby motel and rented a room, where the sexual assault took place. After the Uber driver was arrested, police noted that he had five prior felony convictions in California for drug-related crimes.
In 2018, police arrested a Seattle Uber driver who held a female passenger hostage for hours. After picking the intoxicated passenger up in a Capitol Hill neighborhood, the driver canceled the ride and told the woman there was no charge. He then drove to an apartment building, forced her inside, and carried out a sexual assault.
In 2019, a New Orleans Lyft driver was arrested and charged with second-degree kidnapping and rape. The victim was a 43-year-old female who was intoxicated and without a designated driver. Although the woman used a Lyft rideshare app to call for a ride, the driver changed the route while traveling and took the passenger to his own home, telling her he had to make a quick stop.
In the past few years, Uber accident attorneys have seen hundreds of personal injury claims and civil lawsuits filed by rideshare passengers across the country. Although recent safety changes have been made with Uber and Lyft apps and driver identification procedures, law officials are recommending fingerprint-based criminal background checks, video and/or audio recordings of rides, and an option for women to request a female driver, since most sexual assaults are perpetrated by male drivers on female passengers.