Lyft’s first safety report reveals over 4,000 sexual assault cases

Lyft has finally published its first safety report (PDF), which sheds light on the rate of sexual assault and abuse cases on the service in the US over the course of three years. From 2017 until 2019, Lyft received a total of 4,158 sexual assault reports. The company’s safety team divided all sexual assault and misconduct incidents into 21 categories, but the cases included in this report only include five of the most serious categories of sexual assault.

Those categories are non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual/sexual body part, non-consensual touching of a sexual body part, attempted non-consensual sexual penetration and non-consensual sexual penetration. There are lesser categories of sexual assault that weren’t included in the total number of cases.

Among the five, the most commonly reported incidents fall under the non-consensual touching of a sexual body part category. The team recorded 360 incidents of rape within that period. Lyft said that it included any incident reported over the three-year period regardless of when it actually happened, because sexual assault is chronically underreported. Further, it intentionally used broad definitions for the sub-categories.In addition to sexual assault cases, Lyft has also reported 105 motor vehicle fatalities and 10 fatal physical assaults. 

The company explained that it doesn’t proactively report safety incidents to law enforcement, knowing that it’s a deeply personal decision, especially for survivors of sexual assault. “This policy gives survivors as much agency as possible when deciding whether and how to report an incident,” it wrote. 

Lyft has been promising to release a safety report since 2018, and when CNN asked about it earlier this year, the company cited an issue with the California Public Utilities Commission for the delay. According to the news organization, at least 72 individuals are suing the ride-hailing service over alleged sexual assault incidents. Some of those cases accuse Lyft of knowing that its drivers were raping passengers and failing to take steps to protect its customers.

Uber, on the other hand, published its first safety report in 2019. The company revealed nearly 6,000 reports of sexual abuse over 2017 and 2018, as well as 19 fatal physical assaults.

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