FARMINGTON – The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation into Uber on Friday after the ride-sharing company documented more than 3,000 cases of sexual assault last year.
Uber’s first safety report disclosed user-reported data and included about 6,000 instances of unwanted touching, kissing and attempted rape in 2017 and 2018. According to the report, 235 Uber users reported being raped in 2018 while using the app.
“Ride-sharing companies absolutely have a duty to ensure the safety of New Mexican consumers, and I am investigating how the risks exposed in this report have impacted New Mexico,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas in a written statement.
The company’s report showed 92% of people who reported rape were riders, but drivers also reported sexual assaults at about the same rate.
The company said the reported incidents comprised a fraction, 0.0002%, of Uber’s 1.3 billion rides in the United States last year. During the reporting period of 2017 and 2018, Uber said, the company made 3.1 million trips per day.
Uber reported it has deactivated 40,000 drivers in the U.S. when they failed automated background checks in 2018.
Although the report did not specify the location of the assaults, Uber is used throughout Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Taos and Gallup. According to Uber, the company has about 95 million monthly active users worldwide.
The report also reported that 107 traffic accidents and 19 physical assaults resulted in death.
In addition to opening an investigation, Balderas’ office also issued a consumer safety alert to anyone using the app. The Attorney General’s Office released safety tips for using a ride-share service, including waiting for a ride in a safe place, matching the car and license plate and sharing trip status with someone.
The state’s Attorney General’s Office urges anyone who has been personally or financially harmed to contact its staff.
“We will investigate and hold them accountable,” Balderas said.