With more reports of sexual assault in an Uber, Uber drivers and passengers have been part of protests and lawsuits demanding more safety for the users of the rideshare application. In 2019, the company released a safety document with data insights that revealed the magnitude of sexual assault problems both drivers and riders faced during Uber rides.
The company admits that the figures might be slightly under-reported as not many people come forward to share their painful experiences with the world. Now hold on tight as our Los Angeles Uber accident attorneys help you understand the dangers of riding in an Uber ride-sharing vehicle.
The 2019 report shed light on the gravity of the situation when a couple of incidents resurfaced on social media prompting riders to take precautions.
The average number of fatal accidents while riding in an Uber is lower than the nation’s average. This is due to the company’s strict policy restricting users under 21 years from becoming Uber drivers.
Although these figures might be a relief, it is not the case when one looks at the bigger picture. Passengers and drivers in an Uber ride only contribute 35% of the dead victims, while the rest are pedestrians, cyclists, and third-party drivers.
The report stated that out of more than 2 billion Uber rides, there were 107 fatal car accidents in the two years of data collection.
The number of fatal physical assaults reported in the 2019 safety report is not alarming. Still, it does not include the large number of non-fatal physical assault victims that happen daily, as per social media accounts.
The data only showed the number of fatal physical assaults but did not shed light on non-fatal incidents like kidnapping and robbing, leaving drivers and riders injured.
Even more surprising is that although the physical fatal assault figures are low, the document stated more than 6,000 sexual assaults were reported on the Uber app, with around 45% of the cases where a rider abuses the driver.
On the 18th of March 2021, a woman called for an Uber to reach her destination, and she got greeted by Kamal Essalak, a 47-year-old resident of Acton.
The woman noticed Essalak behaving strangely during the ride and feeling uncomfortable. She decided to end the ride and get off. However, upon requesting Essalak to stop, she realized that the doors had child safety locks and could not open.
A Boston Police Department report states that Essalak made his way to the rear passenger area where the woman was, laughing hysterically as he did. The passenger starts pushing and kicking, and in doing so, she makes her way to the driver’s seat, from where she opens the door and makes her escape. The police arrested the driver a few days later with an outstanding warrant to custody.
As the news surfaced, an Uber spokesperson expressed immense grief, stating that no one has to go through this. The company made sure to ban the driver’s access to the app to protect Uber riders or Uber users while staying in contact with the victim and law enforcement agencies to ensure justice.
Following the incident, Boston Police also requested riders to check the child safety door locks on the rear doors before getting into an Uber.
The police also ensured that Essalak attended the Brighton District Court to face the verdict on his charges and the situation at hand. This situation is not the first of the incidents; in 2019, a 32-year-old Uber driver, Sean Williams, kidnapped a 15-year-old girl with plans to assault the minor sexually. The girl managed to escape and call the police after she convinced Sean to stop at McDonald’s for her to use the restroom.
Uber is just one of the many popular ride-hailing platforms in the country. Lyft is another popular option, which means Lyft drivers, Lyft riders, and many other groups of people are vulnerable to such acts of sexual assault or kidnapping when using a ride-sharing service.
If you’ve gotten sexually assaulted on a ride-sharing platform, contact us at (213) 596-9642 and get a free consultation on your abuse case with our experienced attorneys. We understand the trauma associated with sexual abuse and are here to provide you with the best legal representation.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.