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Passengers Challenge Sexual Assaults During Lyft Rides

Fifteen women do not believe that Lyft is doing enough to protect its female passengers. Fourteen of these women have filed a joint lawsuit and Alison Turkos has filed an individual lawsuit asserting that the ride-sharing company has failed to conduct adequate background checks on its drivers and does not investigate claims of sexual assaults by its passengers. Some of the women bringing suit allege they were raped with the rest claiming sexual assault. These women are concerned that Lyft continues to allow the drivers to work for them notwithstanding the complaints.

Gladys Arce reported to USA Today that she was kidnapped and raped by a Lyft driver. She filed a police report; the criminal investigator told her that months after her report, the driver continued to work for Lyft. While drivers working for Lyft are presently considered independent contractors, Lyft could be held liable for the negligent selection of the drivers.

In response to the filing of the lawsuit, Lyft has stated that the safety of passengers is paramount. In a statement to media outlets, Lyft acknowledged the awfulness of the incident while stating, “The unfortunate fact remains that one in six women will face some form of sexual violence in their lives – behavior that is unacceptable for our society and on our platform.” The company asserted that Arce’s driver has been removed but no date of removal was provided. The company has said it will be rolling out an in-app emergency button so passengers may quickly call 911. In April, the company also said it would institute continual background checks of drivers rather than doing them only annually as they do currently. Uber says it has removed 30,000 drivers since implementing similar systems. Lyft declined to comment.