Uber Releases Two Year Safety Report – How Bad Is It Really?

Late on December 5, Uber released its two year US Safety Report, which documents rideshare safety incidents in the United States from 2017 to 2018. We had senior RSG contributor Jay Cradeur dig into the numbers and explain what it all means for drivers below.

Late on Thursday afternoon, I received an email from Uber.  They released a two-year safety report, which provided quite a bit of information about how safe things are when we are in an Uber, either as a driver or a passenger.

uber safety report


The data does not seem to indicate being in an Uber ride is too terribly unsafe.  The percentage of assault or accident is quite low.  But I will let you be the judge of that.  This article will present the key findings and make one strong recommendation for driver safety at the end of the article.

Uber Announces Its Two Year Safety Report

This is what I received in my email the other day:

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As I read through the email, I found some interesting stats:

Breaking Down The Numbers from Uber’s Safety Report

Here are some numbers that stood out:

  • 4,000,000 Daily Trips today
  • In 2017-2018, there was a daily average of 3.1 million trips
  • 1,131,500,000 Annual Trips
  • .0003% = .000003
  • 9 Serious Safety Incidents Per Day
  • Less Than 1 Serious Safety Incident Every Two Hours
  • 3200 Incidents Per Year

Given that there are 3.1 million trips per day, and there are only 9 serious safety incidents per day, that strikes me as a fairly low number.  Of course, we can do better.  However, I am encouraged.

At the bottom of the screenshot, we can see that from 2017 to 2018, fatal traffic incidences dropped by 5%.  Sexual assaults dropped by 16% over that same time.  This year to date, Uber is showing a further 17-20% decrease.  The needle is moving in the right direction.

Driver Research and Findings

I found the article below from Bloomberg to be interesting:

This article states that 56% of the sexual assault complaints were from passengers, while 44% were from drivers.  It seems that most articles and blog posts don’t put much emphasis on the risk we the drivers take every day.  For example, we see this in the Bloomberg article:

“Uber has faced a steady stream of complaints in court across the country over driver misconduct, and Lyft has recently seen an explosion in legal claims by passengers.”

However, the report bolsters our (the drivers) concern and counters what we just read in the article.  44% of the time, drivers are the victims.   But since we are drivers, and our livelihood is dependent on our ability to keep on driving, we don’t want to rock the boat.

I believe 44% is an under-reported statistic as a result.  For example,  I recently interviewed a new Uber driver named Angela on The Rideshare Dojo (episode will be live next week) and she had a harrowing experience picking up a male passenger after midnight on a weekend night.

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The passenger had been drinking.  While the car was moving, he opened the back passenger door and vomited.  He did this several times.  Then upon exiting the car, the male passenger opened the front passenger door and grabbed the female driver.  She punched him in the face and drove away.  She stopped half a mile away and cried and shivered after this traumatic assault.  Sexual assault affects drivers just as much as passengers, so why don’t media outlets cover this more?

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Driver Protection

This picture captures what it looks like for many of my passengers.  I don’t like it.  When a passenger gets in my car and sits directly behind me, I feel vulnerable.  I do have thoughts about what if some crazy psycho jabs a sharp knife in my neck.  That would be it for Nomad Jay.  I would be done.

Yet that is the position I am in as a driver.  We drivers must be trusting that the passengers who get in our car, who are not screened, who most often don’t even volunteer a photo, are all healthy and mentally well individuals.  Now we see that 44% of all incidences of sexual assault are passengers assaulting drivers.

One thing we can all do is install a dashcam in our car.  Make sure you have a big fat memory card so that you can get through a day of driving without running out of memory.

There are two major benefits to having a dashcam.  First, if something does happen, either in your car or in front of your car, you have visual proof of what happened.  Second, and perhaps more important, the dashcam serves as a deterrent.  When a passenger sees a dashcam, they know they really need to be on their best behavior.  Big brother is watching.

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The dashcam we are currently recommending is the Vantrue N2 Pro High-End Dash Cam.  It does the job and runs $199 on Amazon but right now there is a $50 off coupon.  This one item in your car is probably your best insurance against passenger abuse and assault.

Evaluating Uber’s Safety Report

As I wrap this up, I want to say that most passengers are great.  As we see from the Uber Safety Report, the incident of accidents and sexual assault are minuscule.  In my driving career, with over 26,000 rides, the number of people who statistically should have assaulted me is .78 people.  Less than one.

In fact, I was hit on one time early in my career.  I said “No, thank you” and that was it.  But if I were a woman, and the man was drunk and aggressive as with my friend Angela, then she has a problem.  The best solution I can offer is to invest in a dashcam.  It is worth the investment.

Key Takeaways

The number one rule of business is “Know Your Numbers.”  Today we have learned some of Uber’s numbers.  Gone are the dramatic claims that passengers are assaulted at an alarming rate.  Now we know that number and it is rather small.

Further, with Uber’s safety report, we drivers can confirm what we have felt for some time: passengers assault drivers with similar frequency.  Let me conclude with a quote from Tony West, Uber’s Chief Legal Officer:

“Uber is very much a reflection of society.  The sad, unfortunate fact is that sexual violence is more prevalent in our society than people think. People don’t like to talk about this issue.”

Today we are talking, and it is good that we are talking.  Hopefully, many of you will now take action!  Vantrue N2 Pro High-End Dash Cam – get it and be safe out there.

Readers, what do you think of Uber’s Safety Report? Were you surprised by the numbers they released? How do you think Uber could better protect drivers?

-Jay @ RSG