The 65-year-old Uber driver was on his third day on the job when a young passenger allegedly brutally attacked him.

In an attempt to flee, the driver razed through several residential mailboxes in a cul-de-sac in Stafford County, Virginia, police said. He sustained injuries to his neck and lower left leg.

The July 20 incident is one of the latest in which passengers have assaulted drivers of the popular car service – an obscure side issue of the debate surrounding safety in ridesharing, which mostly has focused on the protection of passengers.

“The truth is that most of our safety incidents are abusive riders on drivers,” David Plouffe, Uber’s chief adviser, told a group of journalists gathered in Washington last week.

The San-Francisco-based company declined to provide data to back Plouffe’s assertion. But company officials say they use technology to track passengers’ bad behavior. Specifically, Uber depends on its rating system, which allows riders and drivers to rate each other after a ride using a scale of 1 to 5 stars. When a rating is low, Uber can investigate and terminate the user’s access to Uber.

“Really abusive riders can get kicked off the platform,” Plouffe said.

Uber spokeswoman Brooke Anderson confirmed that riders have been deactivated for bad conduct, but declined to provide data. She said a decision to end someone’s access is not only based on the rating, but takes into account feedback from the driver and rider.

“We may reach out to the driver and the rider to investigate why this happened and if either violated our community guidelines they could indeed lose access,” she said. “It’s important to have the context of why the 1-star rating occurred.”

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