Does Uber Have a Sexual Assault Problem?

Does Uber Have a Sexual Assault Problem?

Liberty Vittert

Security, Americas

What’s your safest option for a ride home?

Since Uber released its first ever safety report on Dec. 5, the media has raised alarms for the 5,981 instances of sexual assault included in the document.

This also includes 464 reports of rape over a two-year period – 2017 to 2018.

Uber also reported 97 fatal car accidents and 107 total deaths during the same period.

From my perspective as a data scientist, however, the numbers may not be as alarming as some reports have claimed.

On the road

In 2018, 36,560 people lost their lives in motor vehicle fatalities in the U.S., and 58 of those deaths were Uber-related.

One might think those are the only numbers necessary to inform a decision on Uber’s safety record, but they aren’t. In order to have an accurate assessment of Uber’s motor vehicle fatality, the raw numbers must be compared to the number of miles traveled.

In 2018, Uber, when all the miles driven by all the drivers are added up, has 10.2 billion miles on the road. The national amount of miles driven in the U.S., during the same time period, in total is 3.2 trillion.

This means that the risk of dying in a motor vehicle accident as of 2018 with Uber is 0.57 deaths per 100 million miles driven, while the national risk is 1.13 deaths per 100 million miles driven.

For 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported 1.16 deaths per 100 million miles driven for all motor vehicles.

This data implies that it is safer to drive in an Uber than your own car. There is no existing data for taxis.

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