More than 120 Uber and Lyft drivers have been accused of the rape, sexual assault or kidnapping of their passengers over the past four years, according to reports.
An investigation by CNN has found a total of 103 Uber drivers and 18 Lyft drivers have been accused of sexual and violent offences following analysis of police reports, federal court records and county court databases across the U.S.
Of the 103 Uber drivers mentioned in the investigation, at least 31 drivers have been convicted for crimes including rape, forcible touching and false imprisonment, with dozens more criminal and civil cases still pending.
Last month, Uber driver Frederick Q. Amfo fled the country after being charged with the rape of a woman whom he picked up in Quincy Center, Massachusetts.
"What’s been reported is unacceptable. The driver has been removed from the app and we are looking into this,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement to Newsweek at the time.
CNN spoke to other women who were allegedly attacked by an Uber driver. In one case, a woman from Miami passed out in an Uber driver's car following a night out with friends and woke up the next day in her apartment with her pants and underwear on the floor. The driver allegedly carried her into her apartment before sexually assaulting her.
"You are pretty much hitchhiking with strangers," she told CNN. "How many people is it going to take to get assaulted before something is done?"
Uber has taken several steps to ensure the safety of the millions of passengers who use the app every day in the wake of continuing criticism.
In April, to coincide with Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the company teamed up with campaign group No More as part of Uber’s “commitment to drive change, along with other leading organizations, to help prevent sexual and domestic violence.”
Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also wrote a blog post entitled Getting Serious About Safety in which he announced a string of improvements to “double down on safety” for those using the app.
The updates include passengers being able to install five “trusted contacts” who will be able to track their journeys, a new emergency button which will connect riders directly with 911 and strengthening background checks for their drivers.
“Helping keep people safe is a huge responsibility, and one we do not take lightly,” Khosrowshahi wrote.
According to CNN, Uber had been made aware of the investigation several months ago but did not provide an on-the-record comment. The company also allegedly canceled an on-camera interview with an Uber executive in April.
The company did respond to the report following its publication. "These stories are horrific and our hearts go out to the victims," an Uber spokeswoman told CNET.
"We worked with CNN to understand their findings and determined that Uber did 2.4 billion trips in the US in that same period. But even one incident on our platform is too many which is why safety is Uber's top priority for 2018 and beyond."
A Lyft spokesperson said the safety of their community is a "top priority," adding it has "worked hard to design policies and features that protect our community."
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