With almost 4 million trips taken a day in the U.S. alone, Uber said that "people have the right to know about the safety records of the companies they rely on every day". The companies have been criticized over background check processes and responses to sexual assaults during rides. Lyft, the second-biggest ride-hailing provider in the USA, has yet to publish a report.
Just last week, 20 passengers of Lyft are attempting to sue the company over alleged sexual assault by drivers.
Uber and competitor Lyft have faced legal action related to safety issues around the country.
Safety issues with ride-hailing apps aren't limited to domestic companies.
Uber said the 84-page report showed its commitment to transparency with the goal of driving "accountability and improve safety for Uber and the entire industry".
In 2017, Uber received 2,936 reports pertaining to sexual assault, and received 3,045 in 2018.
While Uber said that reports of sexual assaults declined by 16% in 2018 as compared to the year prior, that could increase again if victims know that the company is taking the issue seriously and feel more comfortable reporting. Ironically, these same measures are also available in the U.S., where the company might have had to release a report such as this due to it going public. "By sharing hard data, we can hold ourselves accountable and share best practices with other companies for the benefit of everyone".
Uber's shares closed 1.41% lower at $28.65 on Thursday.
Uber's report stressed that such safety incidents were not common: "As the numbers in this report will show, safety incidents on our platform are, statistically, ".
Sexual assault in the report is defined broadly into categories including non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part, attempted non-consensual sexual penetration, non-consensual touching of a sexual body part, non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part and non-consensual sexual penetration.
Aside from sexual assaults, Uber also disclosed data on fatal crashes and assaults. When contacted by Inc42, Uber India did not comment on the U.S. report.
Uber is also eyeing the use of a feature that allows for audio or video recordings during rides, and is considering means by which the company can share the names of drivers who have been banned from its app for serious safety violations with other ride-hailing companies.
Although the stats are disturbing, Uber says they also need to be put in perspective.
But advocates for victims of sexual violence are calling the decision to release data a potential watershed moment.
Regulators have long said Uber's screening process was insufficient and inferior to those in place for taxi drivers, with several US cities attempting to compel Uber to mandate fingerprinting of its drivers.
Uber, who hired the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and the Urban Institute to prepare the report, noted that drivers aren't always the attackers. That would actually be a positive sign, Baker says, because it would reflect victims' confidence that their claims would be taken seriously.