The real number is probably even higher.

Unsafe Situations

In 2022, dozens of app gig workers were killed on the job — and, for some reason, labor laws haven't caught up yet.

A new report by the advocacy organization Gig Workers Rising found that in 2022, a whopping 31 gig workers were murdered on the job, and as the group's analysis shows, the vast majority of those killed while working app-based gigs were rideshare drivers for companies like Uber and Lyft.

Last year, the advocacy group released its first-ever report, which found that between 2017 and early 2022, more than 50 gig workers had been killed at work — and its updated total has found that that number is actually closer to 80.

The report added that "while most workers murdered were not murdered by a passenger, those who were are mostly — 78 percent — people of color." The others, GWR adds, were killed "on their way to pick up a passenger or a delivery; at any point in the duration of a ride or delivery; or immediately after a ride or delivery, including on their way home."

Going Backwards

In spite of GWR's first report garnering headlines from the likes of NPRThe Guardian, the New York Times, and several other news outlets, labor policy has, like with all new tech issues, been slow to respond — and in some cases, has even been regressive.

Earlier this year, a California appeals court upheld the unpopular Proposition 22 ballot proposal from 2020, which allows companies to classify rideshare drivers as independent contractors and thus exempt from the basic protections enjoyed by regular employees.

Labor advocates and legal experts have argued from the start that laws like Prop 22 — which was drafted in response to another law that would have expanded gig workers' rights — exempt workers from basic protections like minimum wage requirements, healthcare, and perhaps most saliently the same kind of safety standards that other employees are entitled to.

To make matters worse, these exemptions also mean that, as GWR notes, the total number of people killed on app gigs is probably higher.

"In nearly every state, app corporations are not required to report instances of violence, assault, workplace injury, or homicides to government agencies," the report notes, adding that the organization's analysis was gleaned "entirely on the public account."

As Prop 22 has shown, the money behind ridesharing and other gig work-reliant apps has bent the ears of both voters and the courts — and until that changes, it seems like this trend will continue to rise.

More on the app dystopia: Uber Deploying Robots to Replace Human Delivery Drivers

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