July 12, 2017

Click this link to go straight down to the dash cam I use and other recommendations in the article

Speaking from first hand experience I have seen the power of the dash cam in preventing people from doing things they may otherwise be inclined to say or do in your car which might be unsafe.  The 2 way dash cam is the perfect device for monitoring the activities of the outside and inside of your car at all times while driving.  Dash cams not only record video with full audio, they also track where exactly you are via either a built in or attached GPS and monitors the speed and direction of your vehicle as well.   having driven over 7,000 fares and over 10,000 passengers over the past 2 years, I have taken precautions that have minimized the chance of a passenger altercation to the degree that since having a dash cam I have not had any.  It has been over 1 ½ years since I started using one.

Please don’t misunderstand me,  you should not be scared of driving Uber of Lyft just because of a few potential incidents, as most passengers are very nice. The fact that everything is done by the app really helps with safety in the rideshare world.  Despite you knowing that you may have a traffic accident any day, that still does not hold you back from getting on the road to work or to pick up your kids or go shopping, all with your car.


The Two Key Incidents That Motivated Me To Buy Dash Cam

Before buying a dash cam I had two incidents which gave me the retrospect and motivation to do so.  Both of which involved potential physical assaults. I guess I was asking for it in a way in each case because it was 2:00 am and I was picking passengers up during the closing of bars in a nearby city.  In the first case three guys all age 21, clearly testing their limits with alcohol, got in my car.  The two in the back seat fell asleep almost right away but the one passenger in the front passenger’s seat kept changing radio stations with my preset buttons looking for a sound that he liked.  When he ultimately did not find anything, he became frustrated and started hitting my radio with his fist.  I had to calm him down but also let him know I was prepared to pull over and call 911.  He at first felt threatened by my ultimatum and pulled his arm back to punch me while I was driving down the freeway at 70 miles per hour, but he fortunately did not release the punch.  He reflected on the moment and actually had enough sense to apologies however had it not been for the fact that I was driving my wife’s Honda Civic  at the time, which had the radio buttons recessed in the dashboard and thus were not exposed to being knocked off by his fist, the radio would have be badly damaged.  Worse if he would have released the punch on me while driving down the freeway, well needless to say, that could have been fatal for all of us.

One month later I picked up some passenger from a bar again at 2am, it was a husband and his wife.  Seconds after getting into my car in the back seat, the guy started verbally abusing his poor wife who did not really verbally fight back.  But the language was nothing like I had heard before.  I don’t think the language of gangster rap would even come close to the language this guy was using.  I felt really bad for his wife, and I could see first hand what an abusive husband was like.  Of course it was not my place to do anything unless something physically harmful would have happened.  I was nearing the hotel I was driving them to and then the guy lays into me with this despicable language and tells me that I don’t know where the f#&k I was going.  What worried me is that he was sitting right behind me instead of on the passenger’s side of the back seat where I can see him better peripherally.  He continued with his rant with me but fortunately I reached the destination within 30 more seconds and when they left the car I bid him good riddance and rated him a 1 start along with an explanation of why the rating was so low..

After these two incidences I reflected a bit and decided that I needed to do something about this.  The first thing I did was to get the camera.  I still drove people home at 2am for a while but once the passengers got a view of the Warning sticker that they are under surveillance and then seeing the actually camera, I could tell that passengers, the potentially bad ones anyway, started acting more politely.  The neat thing about the dash cam is that the inside camera has night vision LED’s so instead of stark darkness you will see what is going on in the car for the most part.

So the camera worked, but as an older adult I also decided to make changes to my hours to also prevent any altercations with intoxicated passengers who of course can also throw up in your car and cause all sorts of damage.  I simply stopped driving passengers after midnight.  Up until midnight drivers are usually driving people to bars and night clubs, after midnight you are going to end up picking them up, but in an intoxicated state.  If a drivers is willing to work the past midnight shift, they will do very well monetarily as surges typically occur on fares during those time, but the risk was too much for me to justify the extra income.


My Dash Cam In An Accident

Last summer, I was standing at a red light as the sole vehicle, I was rear ended by a lady at 40 miles per hours.  Fortunately she swerved at the last minute but caught the right rear of my car, so it was not a direct rear ender.  Ultimately the damage on the car was over $12,000 so you know it was pretty bad.  Now the dash cam clearly would not have prevented the accident, what it did provide however, is the view through the rear window and the car with the lady that hit my car looking down at her cell phone at the time of the collision.  Fortunately I did not have to use the video in court because 1) whoever rear ends you is usually responsible and 2) the lady confessed to texting with the phone in her lap during the police interviews after the accident. But if it were some other type of accident due to, for example someone running a red light or cutting me off, I am sure I could have used the video in court.  Especially because it not only records the video with audio, but also your location, direction and speed.  I run the camera with a 32GB micro SD chip and when the chip is placed into your laptop or PC with its SD adapter, it will automatically open up an application which resides on the SD chip and load all the video files that have been recorded.  The dash cam will over record on the micro SD after 8 hours of continuous recording.  That means that you will always have the video of an incident that recently happened which you may need up to about 8 hours prior.  

My dash cam also includes a shock sensor so that it locks the last file recorded so that you don’t accidentally delete or overwrite it.  So if you have an accident, the camera will sense the shock and you can feel confident that your last file showing the incident happening will be okay.

I have posted the specifications and the link for you to buy the dash cam on amazon here in this article.  I chose this dashcam because it was reasonably priced at the time and had the best features for an rideshare driver.  This dash cam is a white labelled camera which means many companies buy the same one from the Chinese manufacturer and put their own company brand on it.  So when you get to Amazon through the dash cam link below, feel free to also check out the same camera from other companies to get the best price.  But If you don’t think that this camera will be suitable for you, you will have lots of suggested alternative dash cams to review which Amazon will automatically present to you.

Be aware that some people claim that the dash cam I use is very flimsy and sensitive.  That is because they are removing the camera from the windshield every time they leave the car.  I don’t do that since the camera is cheap anyway and I would not expect that it would last that way.  If you intend to remove the dash cam from the car each night when you get home then you will need a more hardy dash cam but you will have to spend around $250.

Along with the camera link I have also provided a link for the 32GB micro SD card you should have along with the warning sticker for your window.  Some states absolutely require that the passenger be notified that they are under surveillance.

Another point is that as an Uber and Lyft driver you legally need to notify your passengers with a sticker in your car indicating that they are under surveillance.  The last thing you want is a passenger threatening to sue you for a privacy violation and with the sticker that cannot happen because they have been informed.


Please click on the appropriate image below to be directed to Amazon where you can add the dash cam or related product to your cart and check out.


This is the model dash cam I have been using for 1 1/2 years now, I recommend it if you don’t remove it from the car each day.  Click the image to be directed to Amazon for purchase.

This is the 32 GB micro SD card I inserted into the dash cam, this will record approx 8 hours of continuous Audio/Video.  Click the image to be directed to Amazon for purchase.

This is the sticker I keep in the car to prevent passengers from potentially filing a law suit regarding privacy laws.  Click the image to be directed to Amazon for purchase.