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Woman Claiming Sexual Assault by Driver Says Uber Should be Held Accountable

A woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by an Uber driver held a press conference on Thursday, stating that the transportation tech company should face consequences for what happened to her. Erica Holland described the alleged incident, saying she was riding in a car in the Los Angeles area earlier this month, when the driver instructed her to sit in the front passenger seat. After she got in the car, Holland said, the driver forcefully grabbed her by the hair and pulled, then let go and didn’t say a word. She said she didn’t know what to do, and remained in the car. When he dropped her off and she exited the car, she said, the driver reached under her dress and touched her vagina.

Holland’s attorney Lisa Bloom, who is filing a lawsuit against the company, says that while Uber promises “safe rides” and “a ride you can trust” for their customers, they also look to evade responsibility when those customers are assaulted by Uber drivers. “All of these promises are false,” Bloom said at the press conference, saying that “hundreds of women have been sexually assaulted by Uber drivers.”

Bloom said she and her client are calling for Uber to put in place reforms to better protect riders. Those reforms include adding a panic button to the app that would alert local law enforcement as well as Uber, requiring dashcams inside Uber drivers’ cars, and running fingerprint checks of drivers, whom Uber typically does not meet in person. In response to a question from a reporter, Bloom also said she would welcome the option for female riders to request female drivers.

The lawsuit makes claims against Uber including negligent hiring, battery, sexual battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Uber announced earlier this week that they are undergoing what they call “180 Days of Change,” but so far those it’s focusing on policies regarding the drivers themselves, such as payment. Uber founder Travis Kalanick stepped down as CEO on Tuesday after investors called for his resignation.

[Screengrab via The Bloom Firm]

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