Uber’s safety report will help app-users stay alert

Abby Fleming '20, Staff Writer

Uber recently released a shocking report detailing the amount of sexual assaults, car crashes and other crimes that have taken place during Uber rides last year. There were 3,045 reported instances of sexual assault in 2018. 

This report was hard to read for a couple of reasons. Uber is extremely popular. I have it on my phone and I know a lot of Staples students use as well. They complete over 14 million trips in a day, and it’s hard to believe that a company operating at that caliber is able to continue operating with this many crimes being committed. 

Additionally, from a business perspective, the company just admitted that it isn’t totally safe to order an Uber. Despite the fear this has struck in many and the doubt it has cast on Uber, I believe they did the right thing by releasing this report.

When releasing the report, Uber issued a statement making it clear that they were voluntarily giving out this information. According to ABC News, Uber said, “Most companies don’t talk about these hard issues, and they don’t share data about serious safety incidents. We believe it’s time for a new approach.” 

Releasing this report is the first step in the right direction to combat instances of sexual assault. These statistics could have been kept from the public and Uber could have continued their operations normally. However, I know I’ll think twice now about ordering an Uber now.

Giving out this information to the public allows people to make an informed choice about whether or not they can rely on Uber. They get to weigh the risks and benefits, and they are able to stay alert and be prepared. Keeping this information hidden might have helped Uber, but it would have hurt its customers who get into Ubers thinking almost nothing of their safety. 

In addition to supplying consumers with this essential information, Uber has taken proactive measures to help prevent future crimes. They’ve introduced a program called RideCheck. It’s a tracking device that, as described by Uber will, “detect possible crashes or if a trip goes unusually off course…They can let us know through the app that all is well, or take other actions like using the emergency button ” The amount of fatal car crashes reported by Uber in 2018 was 58, so the first described function of RideCheck is important, but the second purpose is what is going to make a real difference.

This emergency button is an easy way to be able to get help if something has gone wrong. When someone else is driving and you are not in control, it can be hard to call 911 in front of a strange driver, but pressing a button on your phone is discrete and can be done quickly. 

Uber still has a long way to go to eliminate sexual assault cases. According to The New York Times, tThe New York Police Department counted 533 reports of sex crimes on their public transportation, which is small compared to Uber’s 3,045 reports. 

However, Uber is beginning to do the right thing and is taking the right steps to fix this problem. Publishing the report and creating services to promote safety show that they are being proactive with this issue. I believe this approach can breed results for Uber if they stay committed.