Women and anyone who takes an Uber alone may worry if it is safe, given stories of drivers attacking clients and the rising number of Uber sexual assault cases. Specifically, many people wonder, “Is Uber safe for females?” This is an unfortunate question, as it shows that a lack of trust exists between Uber and its many riders. However, it is an important question nonetheless. The subject of women’s safety is just as important as ever, and it is our responsibility to hold companies accountable for their safety measures and the actions of their employees.
At Reich & Binstock, our team of Houston sexual assault lawyers has extensive experience representing victims of sexual assault. Many victims of sexual abuse don’t realize that they can not only press charges against their abuser, but they can also file a personal injury lawsuit. Filing through civil court might give you the opportunity to receive compensation for your recovery. For more information, or to schedule a free consultation, please call 713-622-7271 today.
Is Uber Safe to Take Alone?
Uber is one of the most widely used ride-sharing applications in the country. Its popularity has grown in recent years as a convenient and affordable mode of transportation. Many people question if it is safe to go alone in an Uber because practically anybody can be an Uber driver.
According to The New York Times, Uber issued a report in 2019 showing that the company knew of over 3,000 sexual assaults that happened during trips in the United States in 2018. The business allegedly stated that the number reflects a small percentage of Uber rides taken; nonetheless, advocates stated that the ridesharing company should have taken more precautions to protect Uber customers and drivers.
Uber has introduced steps to better keep riders secure in response to safety concerns. Everyone who wants to be a driver is subjected to a “multi-step safety test,” according to Uber. A check for traffic infractions, impaired driving, and criminality is shown on the screen. Furthermore, the firm claims that it now rescreens drivers every year and maintains track of them throughout the year.
Additionally, the business has integrated technologies into the Uber app to assist riders in an emergency. If a rider contacts 911, the app will display the rider’s position for the 911 operator to see, according to the Uber website.
Uber also claims to have created a tool called RideCheck. According to the Uber website, RideCheck employs sensors to detect whether a trip deviates significantly from its intended path or if a vehicle accident occurs.
Is Uber Safe for Females as Drivers?
Female Uber customers and female Uber drivers have both been put in dangerous circumstances, and the service is now facing sexual assault claims. The question of safety for female drivers gets a little complicated when we consider a few things. First, there’s no real way to screen your potential passengers, especially if they don’t yet have a rating. Second, many Uber drivers work late hours and drive all over town. There’s no telling where they may end up on any given night. Luckily, we’ve put together some safety tips for female Uber drivers that should lessen the chances of a negative experience.
Check the ratings of each rider.
This two-way rating system allows both the driver and the passenger to rate each other. Each time you receive a ride request, check the rating of the passenger. If their rating is below a four-star, that might be a red flag.
Give ratings to each rider.
Rating each passenger after they leave your vehicle might take time, but it helps out other drivers in the long run. Be open and honest about your experience with the passengers, as Uber might deactivate their account if their ratings don’t improve.
Keep up with your vehicle.
In terms of general safety, you should always make sure that your automobile is in good functioning order as you are ready to drive. Don’t put off getting it serviced or having the oil changed, then go pick up complete strangers. If you are injured in an Uber or Lyft accident, contact a rideshare accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Choose your driving times carefully.
If you can, try to choose driving times that you feel comfortable with. After 9 PM, most areas lose a bit of safety and visibility. To avoid this, stick to daylight hours whenever possible.
Choose where you drive carefully.
Aside from avoiding driving at insecure times, it’s advisable to stay away from places where you don’t feel comfortable. This might be the street with all of the bars near campus, or an area with a history of crime and violence. In any case, if you don’t feel good about being there, you should probably avoid it.
Cancel whenever you feel unsure.
When driving for Uber or Lyft, you may feel pressured to never cancel a rider, especially in the beginning. You obviously want to have excellent ratings, and you don’t want to risk getting deactivated because you cancel frequently. However, there is a decent moment to cancel, and that time is when you come to pick up a rider and feel in any way uncomfortable. Remember that you’ll be able to explain why you canceled the trip, and that your safety is clearly the most essential consideration.
Devise a plan for passengers under the influence.
As most rideshare drivers will tell you, there’s no way to avoid picking up an intoxicated passenger now and again. If a passenger’s inebriation appears to be harmful in any manner, you should feel free to discontinue the trip. There is no need to let someone inside your car if they make any improper statements when you arrive to pick them up.
Let someone know when you start driving.
Getting people involved in your safety is one of the finest ways to feel and be safe while driving. Make sure someone is aware that you are on duty at all times. Simply text them to let them know you’ll be working for the next few hours. You may also download applications that let your loved ones check in on you if they haven’t heard from you in a while.
Uber Women’s Safety
Certain safety tips exist that may help passengers feel safer during their trips with Uber. Below, we list ways that we recommend increasing safety while using ridesharing services.
- Wait inside for a ride. Reduce the amount of time you spend alone outside with your phone in your hand. Instead, stay inside until your driver’s arrival is indicated by the app.
- Double check your ride. Make sure you’re getting into the proper car with the appropriate driver every time you take an Uber ride by comparing the license plate, car make and model, and driver photo to what’s given in your app.
- Ride in the back seat. Sit in the rear seat whenever feasible, especially if you’re traveling alone.
- Share your trip status with loved ones. While riding, hit Share trip status in the app to send a friend or family member your driver’s name, photo, license plate, and location. They’ll get a text or push notice with your current location and estimated arrival time.
- Trust your instincts. When requesting an Uber trip, trust your instincts and apply your best judgment. If you ever feel unsafe, you can always end the trip and call the police.
- Provide feedback and ratings after the trip. Rating drivers helps keep others informed, and holds them accountable for their actions. Try to rate your experience after each ride to increase accountability.
Steps to Take if You Feel Unsafe in an Uber
Before you ever sit in the Uber, double check that the license plate, make, model, and driver appearance all match what you have in your app. Additionally, ensure that the driver knows your name and destination before you get in the car. If they can’t relay that information to you, something is off.
When you get into the Uber, try to stay as alert as possible. While many people use Uber as a safe way to get home after a night of drinking, we recommend keeping your wits about you. Drinking leads many people to forget about basic safety, so we recommend avoiding extreme impairment unless you have sober friends to care for you.
Always sit in the back seat on the passenger side of the vehicle. This not only provides you with an easy exit, but it also provides both you and the driver with stronger feelings of safety and comfort.
Choose safe locations for pickups and drop offs. To take it a step further, we recommend avoiding putting your exact home address as your final destination. Try to find something a block or two away from where you actually live that’s still in a well-lit and safe area.
While in the vehicle, don’t be afraid to end the ride early. There are a few ways to accomplish this to avoid alerting a suspicious driver. Call a friend or family member, or have them call you. If you can’t get a hold of someone, simply pretend that you have an emergency message. Have the driver pull over, then get out. Another option is adding a stop in the middle of the ride.
Uber Sexual Assault Lawsuits
Women who claim to have been assaulted by an Uber driver have launched a number of sexual assault cases against the company.
According to one source, a woman from Washington, DC, filed a $10 million lawsuit against Uber in 2018, saying that her Uber driver, Raul E. Rodriguez Vasquez, sexually abused her. According to the lady, Uber failed to safeguard her and other women from sexual assault, instead promoting their service as a safe way to go home after a night out drinking.
In 2018, CNN reported that 103 Uber drivers have been accused of sexually abusing clients after an inquiry. Many of these passengers have since filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Uber. Following this inquiry, Uber released a report revealing hundreds more sexual assaults reported while using the service.
Unfortunately, Uber is not the only ridesharing service undergoing litigation related to sexual assault. In fact, its competitor Lyft has experienced its fair share of lawsuits as well.
Women claim that while Uber advertised itself as a safe way to go home, the business failed to ensure the safety of its drivers. According to complaints filed against Uber in the past, the ridesharing firm did not adopt appropriate safety procedures to assure ride safety. Riders, particularly those going alone, may be at risk even now, despite background checks.
Call Reich & Binstock for Qualified Representation
In cases of sexual abuse, it’s critical to work with an attorney who genuinely cares about their clients. At Reich & Binstock, we use our compassion and extensive experience to our advantage for our clients. We refuse to settle until we reach the best possible outcome for your situation. For those reasons, we’ve earned a stellar reputation among Houston residents as sexual assault lawyers. If you or a loved one suffered sexual harassment or abuse either as an Uber driver or a passenger, we’re here for you. To schedule your free consultation, please call 713-622-7271 today.