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Sexual assault by Uber and Lyft drivers

I was fascinated to see an advert by American lawyers recently, targeting a new group of potential claimants.  They were advertising on TV that anybody who feels that they were sexually assaulted, which I would assume obviously includes inappropriate comments and not just an actual physical assault, by an Uber or Lyft driver to come forward and join their case.  I guess in a few years’ time we will hear a bit about that case and right now, they are trying to get together obviously a big enough group of people to bring a class action.  I would love to see more class actions being brought in South Africa, but I guess it is obviously also hard in a country that has, let’s say, just less than one-sixth of the population of America, the bigger the population you have, the more likely there would be a large group of people who all have the same grievance.   

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 Share on Facebook   Tweet It

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Kathryn  said:
on Tuesday 11-Jun-19 02:06 PM
Hopefully the more exposure and consequences that the drivers who sexually assault persons receive, it will act as a deterrent for others offenders. Perhaps there should be internal Uber investigations as to why some drivers are continuously receiving low rates from their passengers.

Michelle D  said:
on Friday 24-May-19 08:56 AM
This is a great initiative. I have never experienced a situation like this but have been told many stories by friends. It will force the companies to do proper screening of drivers and ensure that they are monitored. In South Africa, where over 40% of women will be raped in their lifetime, it is a massive issues. It's time for companies like this to not just blame the odd driver but to take accountability in their role own role in the issue by not enforcing proper screening and regulation of drivers.

Bianca N  said:
on Thursday 16-May-19 09:58 AM
I would love to follow this and see the victims of sexual assault in these cases get justice. I have never used Uber, as I do not feel very comfortable with it. I think it is easier to take advantage, especially if it is a young woman who has enjoyed herself on a night out. She is in the backseat of a car with a complete stranger driving her home. So easily the driver can decide to go off course and turn into a quiet street, leaving him alone with this young woman. It makes my skin crawl.

candice  said:
on Wednesday 15-May-19 04:16 PM
Iv used Uber alot especially in December when our car was broken, and i found them to be very polite and accommodating. But yes i have heard some of the stories and its terrible that those things have happened to people.

Liz  said:
on Tuesday 14-May-19 04:40 PM
Personally I think this is a good initiative and would perhaps limit sexual assaults taking place. On the other hand I do not think people that have been subjected to a rude or inappropriate comment should be part of the action. Ofcourse these experiences are unsavoury and I am in no way condoning inappropriate comments, however, the definition of sexual assault has become very broad and undefinable.

Helen  said:
on Thursday 09-May-19 11:24 AM
After Cart Blanche article one Sunday I will never use Uber services! The stories are horrific and how you can trust anyway the South African driver with so much happening in this country!

cornelie  said:
on Thursday 09-May-19 09:38 AM
We live in a sick world why not just get in and dropp of and keep the comments for yourself.

Melissa van Tellingen  said:
on Tuesday 07-May-19 09:32 AM
I've never made use of Uber services. Whether it be Uber itself of Uber eats. I've heard i's quite expensive. I watched an episode of Carte Blanche one night where victims of Uber crimes told their stories. Horrific!

Prishani  said:
on Monday 06-May-19 04:49 PM
I can remember watching a few movies where they bring class actions, I must be very interesting to work on these types of matters- but thinking about it, it may also be very confusing because at some point the extent of harassment must differ in each case. Certainly something I would follow.

Lucretia  said:
on Monday 06-May-19 09:59 AM
I must say, I have never used Uber before but will have to say, the amount of times I have heard scary stories about the service has made me very skeptical of ever using them. I know there are others in our offices that do make use of their service and are very happy with same, but for me, I would rather try and arrange a lift with someone I know and pay their petrol than use the services of a company whose drivers I know absolutely nothing about. I would also fear that their app could be hacked and that you get an opportunist waiting for his/her time to act. So for now, I will still go with who I know than fall into the modern world.....

Jadine Esterhuizen  said:
on Monday 06-May-19 08:36 AM
With every means of transportation there are always stories mostly of horror. But talking from experience have not had any.

Thabitha  said:
on Monday 06-May-19 07:58 AM
I am sure its worse during the night and these driver's are taking advantage of the drunk people, in SA it is not safe to travel with the taxi what more with the Uber during the night.

Jolene   said:
on Saturday 04-May-19 05:40 PM
I have used Uber before and never encountered any problems but these stories are scary! It would be interesting to see what happens with the class action.

Daniella  said:
on Friday 03-May-19 10:50 AM
I've never really had a bad experience with Uber and I have used it quite a bit even by myself and I have never felt unsafe. However I have heard a few horror stories that people have been through, which is unsettling.

Zindy  said:
on Thursday 02-May-19 08:33 AM
I have to say i have used Uber a few times and never had a bad experience. I have never however used it alone either. If they could narrow down or do a survey as to where these assaults are taking place maybe they would see a pattern. They should also perhaps be stricter on the drivers that have signed up to be drivers and send them on some competency test to make sure they are suitable for such a position as well as look into there criminal records ect.

Bianca Taljaard  said:
on Thursday 02-May-19 07:25 AM
Well, after reading this I will never make use of Uber, this is ridicules

Brenda Du Toit   said:
on Tuesday 30-Apr-19 02:04 PM
I must say with all the stories going around that the Uber Driver's is Sexual assaulting people i will never go with uber

Megan  said:
on Monday 29-Apr-19 04:56 PM
When I first got into an Uber I wasn't suspicious at all as I believed background checks were done, after all of these reported incidents I am terrified to get in any a vehicle without someone I know. I do wish we could have ONE safe form of transport in this country, honestly!

brumilde  said:
on Monday 29-Apr-19 08:20 AM
Hmm, its good that people are there to help, but some people do take advantage of the system, 'Work the system ' they call it. Imagine if there was the same thing for taxi's here in SA. lol the taxi system would go broke in a day

Claudia B  said:
on Friday 26-Apr-19 05:04 PM
I have never used Uber before but I know about a lot of people who do and they love it. it is scary to think what the possibility is that could go wrong when you Uber.

Alexis  said:
on Friday 26-Apr-19 04:33 PM
I use Uber on a daily basis and have never once felt uncomfortable or had an experience such as this. I am hoping that the allegations are not true, but it would be interesting to see the outcome.

Mathilda Du Preez  said:
on Friday 26-Apr-19 09:51 AM
I have used Uber a few times and I received great service so far,but before I get into an Uber I always check if the person on the app is the same one picking me up and I will always notify someone that I'm taking an Uber and my whereabouts

Jadine Richards  said:
on Wednesday 24-Apr-19 04:53 PM
It would be interesting to see how this plays out. South Africa should follow suit especially in this specific scenario. I have heard countless ordeals experienced by Uber users. Besides the matter being criminal maybe the threat of a civil action on a large scale will keep Uber on its toes about its customer safety. I see that they have introduced a few new measures to try increase safety but their customers are not guinea pigs. Substantive steps need to be taken to ensure that this does not happen-period.

Joyce  said:
on Wednesday 24-Apr-19 04:53 PM
Uber stories sounds more scary

Fikile  said:
on Wednesday 24-Apr-19 12:25 PM
I have never used the Uber simply because it's way to easy to manipulate their system and most people get kidnapped or worse raped and killed by the Uber drivers only to find out that the car that you requested for is not the one you are using. Take for instance the Global Citizen Concert that happened last year at FNB Stadium, people were offered free Uber from your house to the concert but people got mugged and killed because the Uber system was hacked by criminals and most people lost their lives and some lost their phones and more.

Tamaryn  said:
on Wednesday 24-Apr-19 09:09 AM
There have been successful class actions with listeriosis and silicosis in SA. I think that it is just a matter of time until a similar class action is brought against Uber here- provided of course, that enough complaints arise.

Zandelee  said:
on Wednesday 24-Apr-19 07:56 AM
I think that such a campaign/advertisement can lead to more and more people coming out with their story as so much people who have been sexually assaulted ect often think that it is there fault and nothing will be done to rectify it.

sandra  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 05:32 PM
I have taken Uber and I have experienced satisfaction each time. However, I have heard many issues popping up on social media with regards to Uber drivers, where sexual harassment has occurred, abduction and fake license permit. I have also heard that uber users were charged for driver's incompetence and how money was debited and no lift pitched up. Sexual harassment therefore is not the only issue that uber South Africa is faced with, it is far more than that according to many people's tweets and social media surrounding the debate.

Nicolle  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 05:27 PM
I personally have never taken an uber, however, many uber taxi's experience licensing issues with the South African government because drivers did not have taxi permits. Further on, uber faces problems of drivers being attacked and uber users being abducted and harmed. I have also heard hearsay that Uber South Africa is currently addressing declining service levels as a result of these issues. I for one am skeptic to order myself an uber but I am sure the majority of uber users have had good experiences.

Courtney  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 12:49 PM
I have never, nor will I ever trust Uber.
I would only climb in a car with people I personally know.
this is very interesting! Can't wait to have further news on this.

Angelique Jurgens  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 12:44 PM
That is extremely interesting and will be fascinating to see the result. It is the same grievance however each story is unique and different. I just finished my research report on the Life Esidimeni saga which is a fairly recent class action in South Africa. Claimant's still sort of have to be grouped or classed differently which I could imagine what would happen in this case. Some would claim inappropriate comments and then some actual physical assault. Lets face it, you can't really class those in the same category and get the same compensation. (Dont bite my head off - not saying inappropriate comments aren't serious assaults!)

Victoria  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 11:36 AM
There are so many stories going around about Uber and how everyone must check the boot of an Uber before you get in to make sure there is no one hiding in the boot. It's scary to think that we are not safe anywhere.

Michelle Smillie  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 10:23 AM
I know of so many people who have used Uber so often, and they have all been happy with it. Even the Advocates in Pretoria often use Uber to take them to Court and back to their chambers. But I have personally always felt a bit scared of things like this, and I might now be even more weary to take an Uber than before.

Shristi  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 10:21 AM
I am very hesitant to use Uber for these reasons. I am however very interested to see how this all pans out. I am definitely going to follow this story closely.

Ashleigh  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 10:05 AM
I dont trust Taxi's, Uber's and even Buses because of possible incidents like this. I would rather stay home if I cannot get somewhere myself or with people I trust.

Natasha  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 09:02 AM
I would never use Uber or any of that i would rather stay at home than use any of those you are safe nowhere anymore no matter where you go.

Clare  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 08:59 AM
I would not use these services, Uber was on Cart Blanch the other night regarding an incident that happened with a older lady, it was bad and that is why I don't agree with these Transport groups we are living in times where we can not just trust the person you are traveling with.

patrick  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 08:57 AM
A class action against countries that supported the apartheid regime will go a long way.

Jessica M  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 08:49 AM
I would never ever ever use Uber or any other taxi to get to and from places. I guess you have better chances walking. Sad thing especially in S.A is that nothing is really safe. Not the malls, not the banks even, nowhere. So prevention is better than cure.

david  said:
on Tuesday 23-Apr-19 08:35 AM
i stream TV, and while watching sky news i saw a UK uber ad (for scotland).
they advertise that all their drivers are checked out etc etc, and you also have a follow me option so that you can let friends and family know once you have arrived safely.


Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
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