In the news we often see headlined stories about passengers who have been assaulted by their Uber and Taxi drivers. Sometimes people even report being abused more than once. With all the media that the news covers around these incidents, we wanted to see if one of these options (Taxis or Ubers) would be safer to use than the other.
Tracking Police Reports
The first step of this investigation might be to check with the records of reported assaults, and compare how many occurred in Taxis and how many in Ubers in different cities across the U.S.. However, according to this article in The Atlantic, when an incident is reported to the local police surrounding an assault in a cab or Uber, the police report does not include the location of where the offense occurred. So, police departments in major cities have no way to track historical records of assaults that have occurred in taxis or Ubers, which complicates things just a bit.
Now to the topic of background checks. This is a sensitive topic because of course, Uber thinks that they have more intense background checks than taxis, using the example of some drivers who failed Uber’s check but passed the city’s background check to drive a taxi. On the other hand, taxi companies believe that taxi drivers have to undergo more intense background checks than Uber drivers do, because Uber’s records only go back 7 years and they do not use fingerprints. Uber left the city of Austin just to prove that they refused to fingerprint their drivers.
The conclusion on this topic might be that no background checks are perfect, and each of them contain their flaws. And, of course, even a seemingly perfect background check may not catch a potential offender of sexual assault because the person may not have a history of criminal behavior, but humans are also flawed.
When an incident is reported in the Uber app, Uber suspends the driver’s access to the app while they are investigating the claim, which means they are not able to drive any passengers. If they find the person is guilty, Uber will deactivate the driver permanently. Taxi commissions have similar processes if a driver is accused of assault, however there is no standard procedure that all taxi drivers undergo when accused.
According to these factors, we cannot come to the conclusion that Ubers are more dangerous than Taxis, or the other way around. The fact of the matter is that assault incidences occur in both, and the best way to insure your safety while riding in an Uber or Taxi is to be aware of your surroundings, travel with a buddy, and be sure to report any incidences that may occur.