Many Lyft passengers use the rideshare service as a way to get home safely after having a couple of drinks. Public transportation is not always convenient and taxis may not be available on demand. The rideshare option should be a safe alternative to getting home. Unfortunately, the rideshare companies may not take all the steps necessary to ensure that riders do not become victims of violence by Lyft drivers.
Sexual Assault by Lyft Driver in Chicago
Rimon Kazzoo has been charged with felony criminal sexual assault after allegedly raping a Lyft passenger. According to news reports, Kazzoo, 37, was operating as a Lyft driver on the evening of December 5, 2018. A 26-year-old woman ordered a Lyft ride to pick her up at a bar in Old Town Chicago, to take her home.
According to Illinois Assistant State's Attorney James Murphy, the woman told Kazzoo he was driving the wrong way. After the woman corrected the Lyft driver, he went the right direction and took her home. The woman fell asleep on the ride and she woke up to Kazzoo sexually assaulting her while the car was parked outside her home.
The woman screamed, yelled no, scratched the man, and struggled to break free. When she got out of the car, she realized her pants were pulled down to her ankles. The woman went to the hospital to get a sexual assault kit, which found DNA on her clothing and on her body. The DNA matched Kazzoo, who now faces criminal charges.
Are Rideshare Companies Protecting Passengers From Assault?
Rideshare companies have faced backlash after it was reported that during 2018, there were more than 3,000 sexual assaults reported during Uber rides in the U.S. In 2017, the number of sexual assaults reported was 2,936. These are only the reported assaults and the number of actual assaults that go undiscovered or unreported may be much higher.
In 2019, 14 women filed a lawsuit against Lyft for mishandling complaints of sexual assault or rape against drivers, allowing drivers to continue working as rideshare drivers. These victims claim the app does not do enough to protect riders from sexual assault and fails to perform more thorough background checks.
Lyft Driver Selection and Training
Lyft driver selection and approval is not a lengthy process. The background check is performed by a third-party company, Checkr, Inc. According to Lyft, “The background check searches national and county-level databases, as well as local courthouse records, for convictions throughout your adult life. This check also searches the United States Department of Justice Sex Offender Registry and the Federal Criminal Records database.”
Suspected Sexual Assault After a Lyft Ride
Many victims of sexual assault are hesitant to come forward. Victims worry their claims will not be taken seriously, they may feel ashamed, or that they will be stigmatized for reporting the assault. Reporting sexual assault may be the only way to make sure the person responsible is held accountable for their actions. It can also help protect others in the future.
If you or a loved one has been assaulted or injured during a Lyft ride in the greater Denver metropolitan area, please do not hesitate to contact accidentdenver.com today at 303-642-8888 for a free consultation. We are here waiting for you.