Dec 4, 2019 - Technology

20 women sue Lyft over sexual assault allegations

In this image, the back of an SUV car is visible with "Uber" and "Lyft" stickers.

A car with Uber and Lyft stickers in March 2019 in San Francisco, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Twenty women have joined a California lawsuit accusing Lyft of failing to take action on a "sexual predator crisis" that the company has allegedly known about for four years, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: Lyft and Uber have both come under fire over allegations of drivers harming their passengers. CNN found in 2018 that 31 drivers for Uber had been "convicted for crimes ranging from forcible touching and false imprisonment to rape."

What's happening: The 20 women in the latest lawsuit against Lyft, six of whom are named, say they were sexually assaulted or raped by Lyft drivers, per the Post. This follows a complaint filed in September on behalf of 14 other women who alleged they were raped or sexually assaulted by Lyft drivers.

What they're saying: The suit filed by attorneys in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday claims that Lyft’s new standardized protocol to determine if drivers should be banned from the platform "may pose a continued threat to passengers."

  • Lyft spokesperson Alexandra LaManna "said in a statement that no one should have to endure what the women in the lawsuit describe and that women still face disproportionate safety risks," the Post reports.
  • An Uber spokesperson highlighted new safety features like its in-app emergency button in response to CNN's 2018 investigation, adding "this is just a start and we are committed to doing more."

Background: Lyft said it partnered with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network in September to add mandatory community safety education for drivers and a "notification system for potentially dangerous off-track rides" in response to criticism over safety, per the Post.

  • Uber announced an optional PIN verification system in September to ensure accurate matches between drivers and passengers, per CBS News, following sexual misconduct allegations and the death of a college student who got into the wrong car, instead of her Uber driver's vehicle.

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