Recently I did a short safety video on tips to ride share safely with ride sharing systems (Uber, Lyft, etc...).
The problem of predators pretending to be ride sharing drivers (Uber, Lyft, etc..) is probably much larger than you have ever imagined. A recent article at ESR (Employment Screening Resources) outlines numerous pending lawsuits and new laws aimed at making these services more safe. Would you believe that there have been:
- 345 reported sexual assaults
- 88 reported assaults
- 46 DEATHS
*Reported is italicized because reporting rates are notoriously low for these types of attacks*
According to a recent Washington Post article "Nearly 15 percent of new ride-hail drivers in Maryland have been booted from the apps over the past six months for failing state screening, despite having passed Uber and Lyft’s background checks, according to the state Public Service Commission (PSC)." Obviously, these services are not nearly as safe as many of us (myself included) have thought.
I recently did a google search for "rape uber" and "rape lyft" and "rape ride sharing". The results were eye opening to say the least. Some examples of the results:
- Two anonymous women recently filed a proposed class action lawsuit
- Uber driver arrested for allegedly raping 16 year old
- Man accused of raping drunk DC area student
- A list of known incidents involving Uber and Lyft
- The case of PAVE ambassador Carl Westlund who was raped by a man posing as Uber driver
And many others...
The point is that while these services are extremely useful, they are not always as safe as we might think. Here are some very high-level safety tips:
- Make sure the car and driver match
- Have a "digital designated driver" when you are out drinking with friends - this is a person who's job it is to make sure you get into your ride home safely
- Share your trip with someone (CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW)
- Text or call someone at your destination so they know to expect you
- Check to see that the locks, handles and car are in working order. The car should be clean and look like it is professionally used.
One of the problems with background checks is that they only catch prior criminals. If someone decides that this is the day they are going to break the law, no background check will prevent that. This is where having a good background in self-defense is well worth the time invested. If you do end up having to fight, do this one thing:
- Point your feet towards the person and keep kicking as long as you can
- Avoid being grabbed at all costs
- If you are stuck in the back seat kick the window, door or seat
- Make the driver step around the front of the car where you can see them before exiting
This is a very difficult problem to deal with. Hopefully we can raise more awareness to the problem and keep people.