Are Cab Drivers More Likely To Sexually Assault Passengers Than Uber and Lyft Drivers?

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By Alain StephensApril 20, 2016 10:55 am, ,

A recent campaign in Austin claims that there is one sexual assault per month by ridesharing service drivers.

Is that a fact? Gardner Selby of the PolitiFact Texas fact-checking team has the answer.

The April 8, 2016, letter, from opponents of a May 2016 Austin ballot proposition affecting drivers for ride-hailing services, solicits donations to Our City, Our Safety, Our Choice, which urges Austin residents to vote “no” on the proposition before voters May 7. At issue: Whether to replace a city ordinance requiring ride-hailing services to submit drivers to background checks including fingerprinting with a mandate preferred by the services which doesn’t require fingerprinting.

The letter’s first section refers to a tally of Travis County sexual assaults in 2015 before noting that many assaults go unreported, a conclusion the letter attributes to a Jan. 28, 2016, press release from SAFE, which stands for Stop Abuse for Everyone; the alliance brings together the Austin Children’s Shelter and SafePlace, which says it provides safety for individuals and families affected by sexual and domestic violence.

In a new paragraph, the letter says safety “must be a priority for our city, and that includes the safety of riders.” Then the letter says:

“In the words of one of SAFE Alliance’s forensic nurses ‘I have taken care of about a thousand people in the immediate aftermath of sexual assault . . . I am now seeing a pattern of rape reports that all involve ridesharing and it is of extreme concern to me.’

“SAFE describes ‘seeing too many sexual assault survivors that report being attacked by their ridesharing drivers, at a rate of one per month in our offices.’”

Hear how the claim scored in the player above.