Now, the companies say they are ready to change that, announcing the creation of an industry sharing safety program Thursday to relay information about drivers and delivery people deactivated from their platforms over the most serious safety incidents. These incidents will include sexual assaults — which range from non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part to rape — and physical assaults resulting in fatalities. The program will be managed through a third-party consumer reporting agency called HireRight.
“I’ve often said that safety should not be proprietary,” Uber’s chief legal officer, Tony West, told CNN Business this week. “While Uber and Lyft are fierce competitors on many fronts, I think on this safety issue we agree that folks should be safe no matter what ridesharing platform they choose.”
Uber’s report revealed that it had received 464 reports of rape on its platform, among 5,981 reports of sexual assault in 2017 and 2018. In the report, Uber said it was “committed to finding a way to share the names of drivers who have been banned from our platform for the most serious safety incidents with our ridesharing peers.”
He added that “one of the difficult hurdles we had to work through was how do we share this information in a way that respects the various privacy laws that exist in many different states; that address the various antitrust laws that exist in various states; how do you do this in a way that is legally compliant and that is appropriate.”
“Even when these crimes are reported, they are much less likely than others to result in an arrest and charges and very unlikely to result in a conviction,” Brandenburger said. “As a result, these types of crimes are just less likely to show up on the screenings both companies already do.”
Brandenburger added: “That said, when survivors report these types of incidents, what we hear often is that while they may not feel comfortable going to the police, they do want to make sure what happened to them doesn’t happen to anyone else. That’s where we believe we can play a role.”
For now, the program only applies to deactivations of drivers, not riders.
When asked whether it may expand the program in the future, West said, “I can see why adopting this for riders would also be desirable. I would say, this is a first step.” According to West, there are also logistical issues to sort through. “We have a lot more information about drivers we can share than we have about riders.”