More than three years ago, Lyft faced the first allegations of sexual assault between its drivers and passengers. Since then, Lyft has yet to release a public safety report. But, the company has clashed publicly with assault survivors seeking justice.
Lyft Has Yet To Publish Safety Statistics
In 2018, CNN launched an investigation into allegations of sexual assault and abuse by rideshare drivers. This led to Lyft and Uber committing to releasing safety transparency reports. Uber published its first report at the end of 2019.
Lyft has pushed back its deadline by three years. To date, the rideshare company has failed to publish any safety statistics.
When Lyft does break its silence, the result can be antagonistic.
Lyft Accused Of Victim Blaming
In the wake of multiple assault claims, Lyft has done little to support victims or take any responsibility. In a recent statement regarding rape survivor Cristen Giangarra, Lyft attorneys wrote that she “knew the risks of injury and damage involved in her conduct” and “failed to act as a reasonable and prudent person with regard to her own safety.”
On June 22, 2019, Giangarra, 31, was assaulted by 54-year-old Lyft driver Larry Ward. Ward allegedly assaulted Giangarra during a ride home after a night out with friends.
“I think it’s just really unbelievable that [Lyft] claimed something like that, especially in a time of #MeToo and in this culture that we’re trying to change … it really shows that their priority is not the safety of their customers.”
An attorney for Giangarra, also responded to Lyft’s statement, “When [Lyft is] actually facing a lawsuit, when they’re actually having to answer for their misdeeds, they throw someone under the bus, like Cristen, and victim-blame her for a horrible assault. I know if RAINN or any of the other national organizations that advocate for victims of sexual assault knew that Lyft was doing this, they would find it abhorrent.”
In May 2020, Lyft announced a partnership with RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. This partnership closely followed a donation from Lyft of $1.5 million in 2019.
Lyft Lags Behind Uber’s Safety Initiatives
Lyft’s continued failure to take action stands in sharp contrast with Uber.
Since 2018, Uber has enacted multiple initiatives to protect both riders and drivers. These include new emergency safety features in the Uber app and a new third-party app that screens drivers for new criminal charges.
The two rideshare companies did announce a recent agreement to share assault data. However, Lyft continues to keep its safety data from the public.
At least 72 passengers are currently suing Lyft over alleged sexual assault. The first trial is scheduled for January 2022.
Byers, C. (June 29, 2021). Lyft accused of victim blaming by St. Louis rape survivor. KSDK.
O’Brien, S.A. (June 11, 2021) Lyft has yet to disclose sexual assault incidents as cases grow. CNN.