Murdered Behind the Wheel - ACRE Institute

Murdered Behind the Wheel: An Escalating Crisis for App Drivers

Executive Summary

Despite their self-proclaimed role as “disrupters” of modern industries, app corporations like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash merely perpetuate an age-old, shameful American business tradition: chasing profit by paying dangerously low wages, denying people meaningful voice in their working conditions, and shirking their responsibility for the safety of the working people they depend upon—drivers who are primarily people of color and immigrants. Last year, Gig Workers Rising (GWR) released our first report on app workers killed at work, documenting more than 50 workers killed between 2017 and January 2022.

New research shows that the safety crisis app workers face may be escalating. A review of press reports, police reports, and court records reveals that in 2022 alone, at least 31 app- based workers, primarily people of color, were murdered while working. This is the highest annual figure of app workers identified by GWR as having been murdered on the job to date.

Our research found a noticeably racialized dimension to extreme violence workers face. In 2022, 77 percent of murdered app workers identified by the report authors were people of color, and 26 percent were immigrants. While most workers murdered were not murdered by a passenger, those who were are mostly—78 percent—people of color.

The app work sector has some of the highest instances of murder compared to other sectors. When we compare the number of murdered app workers, we identified to the number of homicides reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it appears that the app-based work sector would be among the top five sectors where workers are murdered on the job if the BLS were to track homicides in this sector.

Of the workers we identified as murdered on the job, Uber had more workers killed on the job than any other app corporation last year. In 2022, 39 percent of workers murdered at work that we identified were driving or delivering
for Uber.