In December 2019, Uber became the first in our industry to proactively release a comprehensive U.S. Safety Report detailing our safety-related policies and processes, as well as data on the most serious safety incidents reported on our platform.
The report, validated by third-party experts, was part of Uber’s larger efforts to drive a new approach to safety in the rideshare industry and set a new standard for corporate transparency.
Since then, no one could have predicted how drastically the world and everyone’s lives would change. A global pandemic. A racial reckoning. A complete shift in how we work. Everything we knew to be true was turned upside down in ways that were both challenging and thought-provoking.
Despite the extreme impact of the pandemic on our business, Uber remained steadfast in following through on the safety commitments we had made—and building on them—by:
- Pioneering innovative safety features in the app such as Text-to-911, On-Trip Reporting and Seat Belt Alerts.
- Creating the Industry Sharing Safety Program with Lyft to share driver account deactivation information related to serious safety incidents with Lyft and other platforms.
- Establishing the Uber Survivor Resources Hotline & Fund administered by experts from RAINN.
- Developing and deploying safety education to drivers all over the country.
- Introducing new standards and mask verification technology to prioritize health and safety in the face of COVID-19.
Today we are delivering on yet another commitment by releasing our second U.S. Safety Report, with data that continues to show that the vast majority of trips on Uber–more than 99.9%–are completed without any safety report at all. But we know that each incident included in this report affects a real person. Behind every data point is a personal experience, and sometimes pain and loss, that must be acknowledged. That’s why we continue to invest in safety, building new features to help prevent incidents and challenging the entire industry to raise the safety bar.
Because this Safety Report covers the years 2019 and 2020, it reflects the impact of COVID-19 on our business and trends across the country. In early 2020, when COVID-19 began sweeping the globe, Uber encouraged users to stay home. Rides decreased as much as 80% as people limited their travel to essential trips.
Although the impact of COVID-19 on sexual assault generally remains unclear, data from various federal sources shows a significant increase in violent crime during the pandemic, including murder, which according to the CDC increased nearly 30% in 2020. Government data also revealed that 2020 was the deadliest year on American roads since 2007 as a result of a rise in risky behaviors such as drunk driving, speeding, and not wearing a seat belt. Uber’s platform was not immune to those broader trends.
As our report shows, Uber received 3,824 reports across the five most severe categories of sexual assault and misconduct. Compared to the first Safety Report, which covered 2017 and 2018, the rate of sexual assault reported on the Uber app decreased by 38%.
Similar to our first report, Uber’s motor vehicle fatality rate is still half the national average. Consistent with national trends, more than half of the motor vehicle fatalities highlighted in this report include at least one risky behavior, such as impairment or speeding—and 94% were related to third-party drivers. Third parties were also the accused party in the majority of physical assault fatalities.
We have used the same clear principle to guide our transparency efforts and publication of this second safety report: secrecy doesn’t make anyone safer. By sharing our safety record, we can help end the silence surrounding issues like gender-based violence that remain far too common in our society, and help improve safety for all.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the guidance and support of experts and advocacy groups. We are thankful for the opportunity to listen, to learn, and to partner with people from around the world. They continue to guide our safety journey and help us create many of the policies and processes we have in place today.
To be clear, disclosing our safety data doesn’t mean Uber’s platform is less safe—it means we’re being more honest about the rare safety incidents that do occur. Most companies won’t talk about these tough issues, but pretending they don’t exist only leaves everyone less safe. So we hope stakeholders, regulators and others will recognize, support and encourage proactive transparency efforts—not blunt them.
We want Uber to be the safest way to go anywhere and get anything, and we’ll continue to lead by taking an expert-driven, action-oriented, and transparent approach. And because safety should never be proprietary, we’ll encourage others to be more open themselves and to work together to improve safety for our industry and beyond.