Lyft Sexual Assault

People who use ride-hailing or rideshare services such as Lyft must be diligent about safety. Since its founding in 2012, thousands of sexual assaults committed by drivers and passengers have been reported. To protect future Lyft riders and hold the company accountable, reach out to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

According to Lyft’s Community Safety report, 2019 saw:

  • 293 reports of non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part
  • 1,041 reports of non-consensual touching of a sexual body part
  • 203 reports of non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part
  • 114 reports of attempted non-consensual sexual penetration
  • 156 reports of non-consensual sexual penetration

If a Lyft driver or rider sexually assaults you, report the incident through Lyft’s app, file a police report, and seek medical care immediately.

Sexual assault that happens during a Lyft ride may be perpetuated by drivers or riders. Lyft categorizes incident reports according to the RALIANCE Sexual Misconduct and Violence Taxonomy to address sexual assault reports.

The five categories Lyft uses include:
  • Non-consensual sexual penetration
  • Attempted non-consensual sexual penetration
  • Non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part
  • Non-consensual touching of a sexual body part
  • Non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part
Sexual assault can be defined in various ways and take different forms. Regardless of how an incident unfolds, however, it’s never the victim’s fault.
woman using ride sharing app

Causes of Sexual Assault while Using Lyft

Lyft’s vetting and hiring practices are to blame for many instances of sexual assault against its users. 

Although Lyft requires drivers to undergo initial and annual criminal background checks in addition to continuous criminal monitoring, the company’s criminal background check provider, Checkr, has a standard reporting period of only seven years.

Critics of the company’s policies and safety experts believe more can be done to protect riders. A report from NPR said that victims “called on Lyft to make its service safer by installing cameras inside of all Lyft vehicles, conducting biometric fingerprint scans and background checks for drivers, and eliminating a policy that allows users to order a Lyft ride for someone else.”

In addition, Lyft does not maintain a standard practice of reporting safety incidents to law enforcement. Rather the company puts the onus to report sexual assaults on the victims, thereby shirking its responsibility to protect the safety of future riders.

Lyft’s Community Guidelines

Lyft has implemented safety guidelines and policies, including a policy against sexual assault, misconduct, and harassment

This policy defines improper sexual behavior and encourages users to promptly report all incidents of potential sexual misconduct, assault, and harassment to Lyft. If Lyft believes an allegation is credible, it will take action, including permanently removing a user’s access to drive or ride with Lyft.

Other Lyft policies, features, and partnerships for protecting drivers and riders include:

  • Initial and annual background checks
  • Continuous driving record and criminal monitoring
  • Community safety education created in consultation with Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
  • In-app safety features that allow drivers and riders to share their location with friends and family, connect directly with Lyft support, and receive emergency assistance
  • A 24/7 safety team so drivers and riders can contact a live person if they feel unsafe or have concerns

Despite these guidelines, Lyft received more than 4,000 reports of sexual assault from users of the platform from January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2019.

Staying Safe in a Lyft

However, sexual assaults in a Lyft can still happen. Here are some tips to protect yourself:

  • Wait inside for your ride. If the wrong driver shows up or you have a bad feeling about the driver, you can just remain inside and cancel the trip.
  • Confirm the driver’s identity and vehicle. Ensure you’re getting into the right vehicle with the right driver by matching the driver photo, car make and model, and license plate with the information on your app. If the vehicle or driver doesn’t match exactly, don’t get into the car.
  • Ask the driver to confirm your name and destination. Lyft displays your first name and destination on the driver’s app. Ask the driver who they’re picking up and what the destination is to see if they are the right driver.
  • Take the back seat: If possible, sit in the back seat, especially if you’re traveling alone. This gives you and your driver personal space and allows you to exit safely on either side of the vehicle.
  • Share your trip details with friends and family: Tap “Share Location” in the Lyft app to share your route with loved ones, family, and friends in real time. If something unexpected happens, they can report the issue to Lyft, the police, and other authorities.

How Does a Person Report Sexual Assault by a Lyft Driver?

It is important to know what do if you have been assaulted in a ride share. You can report sexual assault by a Lyft driver by following these steps:

  1. Go to your Lyft app.
  2. Tap the menu icon in the top left corner.
  3. Tap “Ride history.”
  4. Select the ride during which your sexual assault occurred.
  5. Tap “Get Help” (on iOS devices) or “Request Review” (on Android devices). This will direct you to a chat with Lyft’s help bot, which will connect you with a representative.
  6. Select “Report driver behavior.”
  7. Select “Unsafe or Threatening Behavior.”
police officers

What To Do If You Have Been a Victim of Sexual Assault in a Lyft

If you have been a victim of Lyft sexual assault, immediately report the incident to the platform and the police and seek medical treatment from a hospital or medical rape center. Medical professionals at hospitals and rape centers can provide emotional support and obtain forensic evidence that you can later use in court.

Talk to a therapist or mental health counselor to help you deal with anxiety and depression, manage stress, and learn healthy coping mechanisms. If you don’t know where to start, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) to talk confidentially with a trained professional. They can suggest local resources and support groups to help you in your healing journey.

Finally, if you believe that pursuing justice in court is the right thing to do — for yourself and countless potential victims — you can file a sexual assault lawsuit against Lyft. An experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyer will demand justice for you and your family. They will build your case, file paperwork on time, collect and preserve evidence, negotiate your settlement, and represent you in court.