Rideshare Drivers on Recording Passengers On Their Trips
The long list of viral videos of rude, drunk, and, in the worst cases, violent passengers mistreating and assaulting rideshare drivers are more than enough to make the highest-rated drivers feel the need to rush and buy a dashcam for on-the-job protection and peace of mind.
Razavi Law Group (RLG) are personal injury and accident attorneys located in Santa Ana, CA and agrees with the urgency. The tax write-off purchase is even more critical as Uber now urges drivers to register their dashcams with them directly. And we’ll talk more about that later.
But before you click buy for the dashcam and install it in your work vehicle, consider the case of Uber driver Edward Caban and former Taco Bell executive Benjamin Golden. In October of 2015, Caban picked up a Golden, heavily intoxicated. Golden couldn’t remember where he lived. Caban—frustrated after driving around aimlessly for the correct drop-off location and increasingly belligerent behavior from Golden—pulled over in a safe place to cancel the ride and told Golden to exit his vehicle.
Caban felt threatened enough by the situation; he decided to pull out his phone and film the response. The viral video of Golden’s physical attack and Caban fighting him off with pepper spray resulted in misdemeanor assault and battery charges for the passenger. Caban rightfully filed a $25,000 civil suit against Golden for assault, battery, and infliction of emotional distress.
A month later, the shamed, former-corporate-executive countersued Caban for $5 million under the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) for failure to get the permission of Golden before he alertly chose to film the altercation.
TWO CONSENT STATE
California is one of twelve states requiring all parties’ consent to film or record a private conversation such as would take place in an Uber. Under CIPA, not only was the video evidence of the assault on Caban not admissible in Golden’s criminal court trial, Caban now faced the threat of a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail for filming it.
The fact remains Caban had legal protection to film. He might even have been able to prevent the whole situation if he took a few simple steps to alert Golden the ride was being filmed before the fateful trip.
The personal injury and accident attorneys at Razavi Law Group advises all rideshare drivers in California to use dashcams for the entirety of their shift. But first, post a decal or sticker alerting riders on all windows of the passenger seats. This simple step would have prevented the CIPA lawsuit Golden filed against Caban. Further, it’s essential to purchase a dual-view camera to film both the vehicle’s front view and inside view. If the camera has a solid or red blinking light passengers can see when filming, this is another indicator of two-party consent under CIPA.
Finally, if a passenger still chooses to be rude or hostile at any time during an Uber transaction, remind them the ride is being filmed. A recorded verbal warning can serve as another reminder of their consent to be filmed under CIPA.
UBER CAMERA REGISTRATION
Recently, Uber drivers on well-known platforms from r/Uber to the Rideshare Guy on YouTube have discussed recent emails from Uber to register their cameras in both two-party and one-party consent states to film/record passengers. The comment sections prove that many drivers with dash cameras disregard the Uber email effort and refuse to register them.
Proposition 22 classifies rideshare drivers as independent contractors instead of employees in California. As a result, Uber seems unable to enforce a driver dash camera registration in the state. Uber looks to be making an effort to alert would-be passengers via the rider app when a driver has a dashboard camera registered. If the rider refuses to consent to be filmed, Uber will then send another driver without a dash camera.
Razavi Law Group encourages all Uber drivers to use a fully functioning dual-facing dash camera with stickers to alert the passengers for complete legal protection. At this point, if you choose to register the dash camera with Uber is up to you.
If you have been injured in a ride-share accident in Santa Ana, give us a call at any hour, any day of the week at (949) 734-0476. Razavi Law Group personal injury and accident attorneys are standing by to ensure you’re treated fairly, the way you deserve.