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Report: Sexual assaults in Uber vehicles decreased amid pandemic; fatal crashes rose

Uber released its safety report for the years 2019 and 2020 Thursday showing that sexual assaults dropped compared to its previous report covering 2017 and 2018. File Photo by Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler/<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LyftUberCar.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</a>
Uber released its safety report for the years 2019 and 2020 Thursday showing that sexual assaults dropped compared to its previous report covering 2017 and 2018. File Photo by Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler/Wikimedia Commons

June 30 (UPI) -- Rideshare company Uber said in a safety report published Thursday that sexual assaults in its U.S. vehicles experienced a dramatic decrease while fatal car crashes experienced a slight uptick amid the pandemic compared to its previous disclosure.

The report covers the years 2019 and 2020 and examines three categories of critical safety incidents: motor vehicle fatalities, physical assault fatalities and sexual assault, which is then broken down into a further five subcategories of non-consensual sexual activity.

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According to the document, Uber received 3,824 reports of sexual assault during the two years of the pandemic, representing a 38% drop from the 5,981 instances reported in its first safety report covering the years 2017 and 2018.

The change in the rate of sexual assault reports could be due to several factors, Uber said, including the pandemic's effects on how people used its services as well as safety changes the ride-hailing company has implemented over the years.

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"Each reported incident represents a harrowing lived experienced for the survivor," the report states. "Even one report is one report too many."

Drivers were accused of sexual assault 56% of the time while riders were accused in 43% of the reports, which Uber said is a similar rate to what was found in its previous report.

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Riders were also found to be the victim in 61% of all reports with drivers being listed as a survivor of sexual assault 39% of the time. The document notes that the person who makes the report is not always the victim of sexual assault with drivers issuing the report on behalf of riders 5% of the time.

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Concerning motor vehicle fatalities, there were 101 people killed in 91 Uber-related crashes during the pandemic, representing a 7% increase from its previous report, it said, adding that this is in line with the 6% increase the nation experienced during this time period.

Speeding was involved in 32% of the fatalities, alcohol impairment for 23%, driving the wrong way was involved in 15% of crashes and unbuckled occupant for 13%, it said.

At 42%, deaths categorized as "vulnerable road users," including pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists were the highest.

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"Half of the fatalities connected to the Uber app in 2019-2020 involved at least one risky driving behavior ... 94% were the result of such behaviors by third-party drivers," the report said. "While there was a marked increase in risky driving by third parties, these trends were no evidence among drivers using the Uber app."

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During the target years, there were also 20 reported fatalities in 19 physical assaults in Uber vehicles, representing an 18% increase from its previous report.

Uber in the document states that while 99.9% of its trips end without the issuing of a safety report it recognizes that each report issued "represents a devastating experience for the individuals, families and communities impacted."

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