Lyft says more than 4,000 sexual assaults occurred on its trips from 2017 to 2019

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More than 4,000 sexual assaults occurred during Lyft trips in a three-year period, including 1,807 in 2019, according to a report released Thursday by the ride-hailing company.

Lyft's 16-page safety report concluded that 4,158 sexual assaults occurred between 2017 and 2019, including 1,096 in 2017 and 1,255 in 2018.

The increase in sexual assaults between 2017 and 2019 is about 65 percent, although Lyft maintains the frequency of serious safety incidents is "statistically very rare."

Although sexual assault numbers rose year to year, Lyft says their total number of rides also increased, so the overall percentage of assaults is actually down about 19 percent over this same period of time.

The data was compiled from safety reports received by Lyft, which were then investigated by correspondences with drivers and riders, third-party statements, route data and police reports.

The report, however, did not specify a statistical breakdown between who was assaulted, riders or drivers. It also did not specify if the assaults were reported to have been committed by riders or drivers.

A Lyft spokesperson confirmed Friday the organization did not differentiate between assaults on riders and drivers, but said in an email the company is focused on making rides as safe as possible for all vehicle occupants.

“Safety is fundamental to Lyft,” John Zimmer, co-founder and president, said in the report. “That means creating features and policies to give riders and drivers peace of mind, and being clear about what happens on our platform."

"Our report is just that: a look at where our company has been and where we’re heading, in order to help everyone have a safe ride from beginning to end.”

The report broke down sexual assault reports into five categories, including non-consensual kissing, non-consensual touching, non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part, attempted non-consensual penetration and non-consensual sexual penetration.

The report noted, “It is not Lyft’s standard process to proactively report safety incidents to law enforcement, recognizing that the decision to report and when to do so is a deeply personal one. This policy gives survivors as much agency as possible when deciding whether and how to report an incident.”

Lyft background checks for its drivers include searches through social security, nationwide criminal search, county court search, federal criminal search and a sex-offender registry through the U.S. Department of Justice, per the report.

A lawsuit filed in California in 2019 brought by at least 14 plaintiffs, accused Lyft of failing to conduct adequate background checks for its drivers, allowing for a pattern that "induces" young, unaccompanied or intoxicated female passengers to use its service and subjects them to harassment and sexual assault.

Included in the data on sexual assaults, Lyft also reported there were 105 motor vehicle deaths between 2017 and 2019, including 22 in 2017, 34 in 2018 and 49 in 2019. Over the same period, 10 people died after physical assaults, including three people each in 2017 and 2018, and four the following year, the report said.

Lyft’s report was released two years after Uber released an 84-page report documenting sexual assaults in 2017 and 2018.

Uber’s report showed: 235 reports of rape in 2018, up from 229 in 2017, 280 reports of attempted rape in 2018, down from 307 in 2017. It also showed more than 1,500 reports of groping in 2018, up from 1,440 in 2017.

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