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Uber Releases Detailed Report on Ride-Hailing Safety Issues

Uber's report responds to criticism, and lawsuits, regarding safety in ride-hailing. The report says the company received nearly 6,000 reports of sexual assaults over 2017 and 2018.

Uber  (UBER) - Get Uber Technologies, Inc. Report released a 70-page report outlining its safety strategy and investments, as the ride-hailing companies respond to criticism, and lawsuits, regarding safety in the industry.

The report says the San Francisco company received nearly 6,000 reports of sexual assaults over 2017 and 2018.

Two years ago Uber executives had an internal conversation, initiated by CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, that centered on safety improvements.

"What began that day was a 21-month effort that has included a review of hundreds of thousands of customer support requests; a complete rethink of how we categorize the most serious safety incidents that happen during Uber trips; an overhaul of how we train our support staff; and an even bigger investment in cutting-edge safety technology," wrote Uber Chief Legal Officer Tony West in the report.

Uber's report begins with a foreword from the CEO of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Karen Baker. 

"As an advocate who has been working in the movement to end sexual violence for the past 20 years," she wrote, "I welcome this unprecedented report, which provides an opportunity to shed light on how this information-sharing emboldens our work for a safer future." 

She said the center has been working with Uber for two years. 

The report says Uber is doing strict driver screening, including yearly update checks. And it has implemented a number of safety technologies, including an in-app emergency button. A team of trained staff at Uber is tasked with responding to reports of sexual assault.

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In addition to Uber's internal safety investments, the company is committing $5 million over five years to support sexual-violence-prevention initiatives in local and national organizations. 

Among the other safety initiatives are drunk-driving prevention and safety-belt awareness. And the company is restricting drivers from spending too much continuous time behind the wheel and alerting drivers when they exceed posted speed limits.

In late November, Uber lost its license to operate in London, as London's Transport for London Agency said the ride-sharing company wasn't doing enough to keep passengers safe

Uber rival Lyft  (LYFT) - Get Lyft Inc Class A Report in recent months has been sued by a number of women who claim that the ride-sharing company hasn't done enough to protect them against sexual violence.

The New York Post reported this week that a Lyft driver sexually assaulted an intoxicated woman during a ride. 

Uber shares at last check were off almost 2% to $28.10. Lyft were little changed around $45.