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Lyft Has Been Flooded with Sexual Assault Lawsuits (vice.com)
41 points by WalterSobchak 56 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 17 comments

On one of my early shifts driving taxi, I dropped two young men off at a club. The bouncer opened the cab's door and before I realized what was happening, I had a rather intoxicated young woman to deal with. She knew her address, and paid her fare when we got to her complex. But she was too wasted to get from the cab to her apartment.

"[...] I held on to her as we headed in the direction she indicated. She was in no shape to climb the stairs to her apartment either, and also could not put the key in the lock.

"There was a look of appreciation in her eyes, then the door closed. I heard the door lock, and as I walked away I heard a 'thunk', just like a body hitting the floor. Hopefully she made it through the night." [1]

[1] 22: degrees of intoxication - https://www.taxiwars.org/2012/04/22-degrees-of-intoxication....

Women have strategies for dealing with horny men in whom they aren't interested. The article doesn't say if alcohol is a factor in these lawsuits. Controlling one's alcohol intake a basic requirement for being aware enough to avoid bad situations, like if a driver parks and follows you to your door, even though you don't actually need their assistance.

Drivers deal with drunk female passengers all the time. Drivers with integrity stick to their job.

Someone complained about me once - she told the taxi company that I was hitting on her daughter. I posted about that in a previous comment, on "103 Uber drivers accused of sexual assault or abuse": https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16963843

"There are certainly women who have problems with their drivers, but slander is a problem for the drivers too." (my conclusion in comment linked above)

I've done about 5,000 Uber rides at night driving drunk people.

I once had a young woman who thought I was taking her somewhere that was not her destination. This was because I had the map on my phone set to "North always pointing upwards" instead of the usual of having the map facing the direction I was driving. I do this because GPS can not accurately point you in the right direction when you're making a bunch of tight turns--something that is common when you're an Uber driver.

About half-way through the 8 minute drive she started freaking the FUCK out. It took me a while to figure out why she was getting so upset as I hadn't been talking to her and I was driving towards her destination. She must not have recognized where we were. It was so distracting that it was very difficult to drive safely and I had to pull over. I eventually was able to convince her that I was driving to her destination after all by switching the map to point in the direction I was driving.

If I hadn't been able to quickly figure out why she thought I was trying to kidnap her, I could see how this situation may have spiraled out of control and led to me being accused of assault.

Put cameras in the damn cars. It is a minimal cost, and protects drivers too. This is 100% on Lyft for not requiring these before now.

How would those solve the instances mentioned in the article?

>One woman claims that after spending an evening with a friend, she was “raped and sodomized” by her Lyft driver in his home. In 2016, another woman ordered a Lyft after a night out. Hours later, her friends walked in on her Lyft driver allegedly raping her in her bedroom.

It wouldn't solve every issue. Nothing will. But hopefully cameras could prevent the situations that I've heard about directly from people, where drivers wouldn't let them out the car and we asking for their number, or were asking for dates/propositioning them, etc.

And who knows, if the situations you quoted there began with a driver forcing them into his place, or following the rider into her house, then a camera could also have prevented them - or have been clear evidence.

Ignoring the deterrence factor, cameras in the car could presumably document consent (or lack thereof.)

if the drivers forced these women into their home or the woman's own bedroom and the woman protested, it would be evident from the video

if the woman willingly went with the driver to his home or let him into her own, this obviously has nothing to do with Lyft

It would provide pretty useful evidence in court at the least. It’s also a potential deterrent.

There is no chance a driver would leave their camera running while doing something wrong. And if they did, they would delete the evidence after as it's not feasible for driver's to upload video live from their device to Lyft during all trips.

> There is no chance a driver would leave their camera running while doing something wrong.

Simple solution: ride in progress, camera is switched off? Send an alert. Your camera is broken? Too bad, you're not getting any rides until it's working again.

> And if they did, they would delete the evidence after as it's not feasible for driver's to upload video live from their device to Lyft during all trips.

Lots of criminal energy and knowledge required ... and they'd make themselves look guilty as hell.

Cameras obviously don't stop crime, but they would help with law enforcement and stop future crime: if a driver is in jail, they can't assault anybody else.

If it's unfeasibly to stream live to Lyft, it could at least livestream the fact that it is filming. If the footage later "disappears" and the rider claims she was raped, that's pretty damning.

As a male rider, I don’t consent to have the cost of that camera coming out of my wallet. If it increases the price of a Lyft from $10 to $15, it’s not worth it to me.

You can pay for it if you want, ask shareholders to pay for it, ask the banks to pay for it, or create your own premium ride sharing with cameras startup. The main point of Lyft/Uber is that they’re still cheaper than a taxi.

The stories mentioned at the start are just horrible. The panic button does seem like a decent idea (why are Lyft so slow to add it) but when a passenger is heavily intoxicated (ie. passed out) its effectiveness is almost zero.

What is the situation for regular taxi companies - how often does this happen per 1000 drivers? What do taxi companies do that prevents/mitigates it successfully?

> What do taxi companies do that prevents/mitigates it successfully?

In England for taxicabs and private hire vehicles the drivers have to have a criminal records check. This is the enhanced DBS check. This will be repeated every few (three?) years.

If they have contracts for childrens services or vulnerable adults services they'd also be checked against the adult's and children's barred list.

This doesn't stop all sexual assault, but it stops some.

We have a lot of information from London. https://taxileaks.blogspot.com/2018/12/tfl-release-latest-ta... (With usual caveats around crime data being very unreliable).

This is awful. Can’t we just legalize a safe and controlled outlet for these poor men with paid and consenting women?

I mean realistically, who’s going to date an Uber driver? Nowadays the dating apps are 4:1 men-to-women and women are picky beings.

"Hours later, her friends walked in on her Lyft driver allegedly raping her in her bedroom. “

if they somehow got to her bedroom it doesnt sound like something Lyft should bear responsibility for

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