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Photo: ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP via Getty Images

In a long-awaited safety report, Uber disclosed on Thursday that during 2017 and 2018, U.S. users reported nearly 6,000 incidents of sexual assault of various kinds.

Why it matters: Uber (along with rival Lyft) has been criticized over the years not only for the occurrence of sexual assault and violence on rides, but also for its handling of these incidents, including attempts at downplaying or hiding them.

  • In 2017, the company pledged to release a report about what it calls "safety incidents" following several months of turmoil that led to the replacement of CEO Travis Kalanick with Dara Khosrowshahi, who has vowed to drastically change Uber's culture.
  • Rival Lyft, which has faced its own criticism for these issues, also vowed at the time to release similar data (and even collaborate with Uber). "We remain committed to releasing our own safety transparency report and working within the industry to share information about drivers who don’t pass our initial or continuous background checks or are deactivated from our platform," a Lyft spokesperson told Axios.

By the numbers:

  • Total number of sexual assault incidents: 2,936 in 2017, and 3,045 in 2018. Riders were 45% of the accused in those cases.
  • Total number of fatal physical assault incidents: 10 in 2017, and nine in 2018. Of the total, seven were drivers.
  • Total number of motor vehicle fatalities: 49 in 2017, and 58 in 2018.
  • Total number of rides: 1 billion in 2017, 1.3 billion in 2018.

Uber also included detailed descriptions of its safety policies and processes, including the number of driver applications it has turned down and how many it has deactivated for their behavior.

Between the lines: Throughout the report, Uber repeatedly emphasizes the low rates at which these incidents occur and compares its numbers to those in other social environments

Yes, but: Every single fatality or assault, rare or not, deserves to be taken with extreme seriousness.

Still: The additional context is also a reminder that violence and sexual assault are still incredibly prevalent in our society—with or without ride-hailing companies.

What they're saying: So far, advocates have praised the company for releasing its report, and are calling on more companies to do the same.

We appreciate Uber’s transparency in releasing data on sexual violence. ...We’d love to see organizations in every industry, including educational institutions, make a similar effort to track and analyze sexual misconduct within their communities.
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

An Uber official told Axios that the report is "true radical transparency," and pointed out that such reporting isn't required.

Go deeper: Read the full report.

The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available 24/7 via 1-800-656-4673 or chat. Learn more at RAINN.org.

Editor's note: The story has been updated with a statement from Lyft.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.

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