Just a week after 14 women filed lawsuits alleging sexual assault by several Lyft drivers, the rideshare company announced a new “smart trip” feature that can predict when a customer needs help. This safety feature senses when a ride has unexplained delays, and pushes a notification to the rider or driver asking if they need help. It also has an option for a customer to discreetly request emergency assistance.
President and co-founder of Lyft, John Zimmer, said in a blog post on September 10, “We don’t take lightly any instances where someone’s safety is compromised, especially in the rideshare industry, including the allegations of assault in the news last week. The messages will say ‘Did you arrive safely?’ and ‘Just checking in: You’re still at your last drop-off location — are you ok?’ They’ll come with the options to either click everything’s OK, report an issue or get emergency assistance.”
Smart trip check-in is set to launch later this year. Lyft is also announcing a partnership with RAINN, the biggest nonprofit anti-sexual assault organization in the country. Under this partnership, every Lyft driver is required to participate in community safety education with RAINN. If a driver is reported to have violated Lyft’s community guidelines, they will be removed from Lyft or required to complete additional sexual violence prevention education.
The in-app 911 button should be immediately available.
Lyft’s lack of movement on preventing sexual assault
Investigators state there were around 100 reports of sexual assaults by Lyft drivers over the past four years. However, the true number of assaults may higher, as many sexual assaults go unreported by the victim.
Two recent lawsuits against Lyft filed in California on behalf of several dozen women accuses the company of failing to address and stop sexual assaults across the United States. These lawsuits claim that not only does the company stonewall authorities from investigating sexual conduct claims made against their drivers, but they also fail to notify victims about the status of their claims. They also allege Lyft hires drivers without proper background checks or job interviews, as well as allowing drivers accused of sexual assault to continue working.
One of the attorneys involved in the lawsuit feels the announcement by Lyft is “…a cheap public relations stunt in response to the lawsuit we filed against them last week. The proposed changes announced today contain no real measures to prevent sexual assaults and rape,” he added. “That is not a commitment to safety. It is a commitment to profits.”
If you were sexually assaulted or injured in an Uber or Lyft, the attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton can help. We fight back against negligent and predatory drivers, protecting your rights and working for compensation for your injuries and damages. Talk to us today for compassionate guidance. Schedule a consultation at 404.998.8847 at our Atlanta office, or in Savannah at 912.417.3774, or fill out our contact form.