CHICAGO — Stella Grant pivoted to becoming a Lyft driver after losing her job in the pandemic, but her job took a dark turn one evening when a drunk passenger became angry and violent.
“She cursed at me and punched me in my head, my face [and] my back,” Grant said.
Grant is one of 17 drivers and passengers who are suing Lyft after being survivors of physical and sexual violence while working for the rideshare company or using them for transportation.
Katherine Rasta—a passenger—and Stuart Berman—a driver—have shared in similar experiences as Grant.
“When we pulled up to my boyfriend’s house, the driver locked the doors, turned around and grabbed my phone and sexually assaulted me,” Rasta said of a past Lyft driver.
“He started punching me in the face repeatedly over and over,” Berman said of a passenger he drive for. “I thought he was going to kill me.”
Their attorneys said Lyft has failed to protect people who use the app and they want the company to heighten security.
“Cameras should be in working order during the entire ride for every single ride to keep everyone in the car safe,” said Tracy Cowan, a lawyer representing the victims in this case.
Lyft said more than 99% of rides end without any safety report and that every driver goes through rigorous screening and background checks every year. They also said that violence and harassment aren’t tolerated on the platform.
In a statement, a spokesperson said, “We’re committed to helping keep drivers and riders safe. While safety incidents on our platform are incredibly rare, we realize that even one is too many. Our goal is to make every Lyft ride as safe as possible, and we will continue to take action and invest in technology, policies and partnerships to do so.”
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