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Uber making safety upgrades after sexual assault report

Posted at 7:37 PM, Dec 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-07 06:41:01-05

INDIANAPOLIS — It's a quick and easy way to get around, so people all across the country are turning to ride share apps like Uber.

While the vast majority of rides are smooth, a new report from Uber showed more than 3,000 sexual assaults were reported by riders nationwide in 2018.

Aly Austin is a sexual assault survivor advocate at Families First in Indianapolis. She said the new data released by Uber doesn't shock her.

"It is a sad reality that it is a problem everywhere," Austin said. "When you just look at the situation of someone getting into the car with someone, they have no idea who that person is or what their purpose is."

So now Uber is making some safety upgrades. The company plans to release a new verification system to make sure riders get in the correct car, add on-trip reporting and text to 911 and increase the size of its safety team.

Drivers who violate policy will have their account deactivated. Uber is working to create a registry of banned drivers so they can share that with other rideshare companies.

"I think what they are doing so far right now is great," Austin said. "I think they are taking a good look at preventative, obviously, but then if something were to happen how they would address that. How they would hold that person accountable."

Austin also said offering support and programs for survivors is just as important.

"The victims and the impact it has on them, they are not just numbers," she said.