Benson Introduces Bill to Combat Rise of Sexual Assault on Rideshare Customers

January 3, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex) recently introduced Assembly Bill A-6105, which would require transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft, to share information concerning sexual misconduct investigations of their drivers with the public. It would also authorize those companies to ban drivers from accessing their digital network during and following an investigation.

A-6105 is another step Assemblyman Benson hopes the State will take as part of an on-going effort to enhance rideshare safety. Earlier this year, Governor Murphy signed legislation, also sponsored by Assemblyman Benson, requiring rideshare companies to provide every driver that uses its digital network with a barcode that is unique to that driver and to that driver’s personal vehicle. This barcode is to be used for identification purposes when providing prearranged rides and may be scanned by a rider to confirm the identity of the driver and the personal vehicle.

A-6105, the new measure, was introduced in response to an incident that occurred in Mercer County where an Uber driver allegedly sexually assaulted a passenger. Since its inception, Uber has reported more than 3,000 sexual assaults over the course of the company’s 1.3 billion rides. According to a report released by Uber, both drivers and riders were attacked, including some incidents between riders. Law enforcement was reportedly involved in 37 percent of the assaults reported on the app. 

“Rideshare customers have a right to feel safe when using rideshare services and that starts with transparency,” said Assemblyman Benson who also serves as Transportation & Independent Authorities Committee Chairman in the Assembly. “As our transportation system continues to evolve and more people use rideshare services, we must take the necessary steps to safeguard consumers from potential harm. With this legislation, New Jersey has the opportunity to continue to lead the nation in ensuring rideshare safety for both riders and drivers.” 

The measure will now be assigned to a committee for further review. Assemblyman Benson added that he will also pre-file the bill for the new legislative session starting in mid-January and will advocate for its passage in the new year.