The Rise In Rideshare Sexual Assault Cases in Massachusetts

While rideshare apps provide quick and easy ways for people to get from place to place in and around Boston, there are unfortunately several risks and dangers that can arise for people when using these services. With the rise in popularity of rideshare apps Lyft and Uber, the number of sexual assaults reported by passengers in Massachusetts continues to rise. If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted while using Lyft, Uber or another rideshare service, consider hiring an experienced, compassionate Altman & Altman attorney to provide you with the empathetic, quality representation that you deserve.

Uber and Lyft Lawsuits

There have been several high profile lawsuits filed against both Lyft and Uber in recent years alleging that each company failed to put reasonable safety measures in place to protect patrons. In 2019, a group of more than 30 women sued Lyft for this reason. The same year, Uber released a safety report revealing that more than 6,000 incidents of sexual assault had been reported in 2017 and 2018. In cases like these, the courts have tried to determine whether the companies could have done more to prevent the attacks to determine if they are partially at fault for the attacks.  More extensive safety measures that the companies may have taken may include a more thorough background check. A more thorough background check  may reveal  prior sexual assault convictions for someone applying to work for the service. This information could be used to help prevent or ban a driver with a previous violent conviction from mistakenly being approved to be a driver for the rideshare app.

What Measures Are These Services Taking To Increase Safety?

In response to public outcry about these attacks, both Uber and Lyft have committed to increasing and improving their existing safety standards. Some examples of these increased safety standards to combat the risk of sexual assault include:

  • In-app emergency assistance
  • Continuous background monitoring on drivers – which resulted in the removal of over 20,000 Uber drivers within just a year of implementing the practice
  • Mandatory feedback for rides that had less than a 4 star rating
  • Enhanced background checks

Even with these additional safety measures, people continue to report incidents of assault while using the services of both of these companies.

Attacks in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts alone, there have been multiple high profile incidents of sexual assault involving rideshare passengers and drivers over the last two years. While most people will use these services without being assaulted, these cases illustrate the ongoing challenges the apps and riders continue to face even after having implemented increased safety measures.

  • April 2021 Assault: a Boston driver allegedly sexually assaulted a woman by making suggestive comments to the passenger throughout the ride followed by grabbing her breasts.
  • March 2021 Kidnapping: a Boston woman alleges that she was kidnapped when her rideshare driver trapped her in his car using child locks against her wishes.
  • January 2020 Rape and Serial Rapist: A man allegedly posed as a rideshare driver, kidnapping and ultimately raping a passenger. After further investigation, the Suffolk District Attorney’s office believes the man is responsible for an additional 9 rapes where he posed as either a rideshare driver or bouncer.

If you or a loved one were the victim of a sexual assault while a driver for Lyft or Uber or a passenger using the service, you don’t have to go up against these big tech companies alone. Please consider speaking to an Altman & Altman attorney. Our team understands the sensitivity of your case and has extensive experience trying assault cases. After reviewing your case details, our team can assist in helping determine the best course of action to help fight for the best outcome for you. Contact our team for a free consultation today by submitting a request online or calling us, toll free at 800-481-6199 or locally at 617-492-3000. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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