If you regularly catch a taxi or use rideshare services, then you’ve probably noticed that an increasing number of drivers are using dash cams and even interior surveillance. For passengers, this can feel like an unwelcome intrusion into what may be considered a private space. But, the recorded footage provides evidence that protects both drivers and passengers. So, before you ditch that cab or cancel that Uber, let’s explore why in-car cameras actually make your ride safer and more secure.
Though you may initially be uncomfortable at the sight of a camera inside a taxi or rideshare vehicle, it’s helpful to understand why they’re installed in the first place. Importantly, this is not to snoop on passengers, but primarily to protect the driver and their livelihood.
Professional drivers who fit drive recorders benefit from a continuous record of what happens while they work. Where there’s an accident, a forward-facing drive recorder often provides indisputable evidence and vital protection for people whose incomes are dependent on being able to drive. There’s a benefit for riders here too, since there’s plenty of evidence that drive recorder footage helps to support injury claims and speed up the claims process, whether your driver was at fault or not.
Typically, it’s not forward-facing cameras that passengers take issue with, since these are only likely to capture you briefly while the car pulls up to a stop. However, many taxis and rideshares also now install interior video surveillance, often via an additional camera mounted on the rear-view mirror. In fact, many modern drive recorders even feature dual-cameras as standard, integrating forward and interior recording into a single product. Not only do the interior cameras record the passengers, but the drivers as well.
For many passengers, this sounds like a privacy nightmare. While we’re used to CCTV in public spaces like town centres, and inside the trains and buses we use to get around them, it’s not unreasonable to expect a degree of privacy in a privately hired vehicle. So, should we be worried that our driver is filming us, and that they may be recording our conversations?
Why Cab Drivers Film Passengers
Overwhelmingly, taxi drivers who install their own cabin cameras do it for their own protection. Professional drivers have a right to work without fear of verbal or physical attack, and to expect that customers will pay after the trip. Recording footage acts as a deterrent against assaults and non-payment, and it also means the driver has evidence if either of those things happen.
As a law-abiding rider, you may still argue that your privacy is being infringed because of the actions of a minority of unscrupulous passengers. But, it’s important to realize that the benefits of drive recorders cut both ways.
Governments, licensing authorities and taxi and rideshare companies want to protect drivers, but they have a duty of care to passengers, too. While licenced drivers are typically vetted for criminal convictions and health problems, there are the occasional cases of drivers kidnapping or assaulting passengers. By ensuring cars are fitted with dual-camera drive recorders, taxi and rideshare companies offer passengers extra protection against these rare, but very frightening possibilities.
Smile, You’re on Cabby Camera
Besides the obvious benefit of safeguarding drivers and passengers, there are other more subtle benefits to in-car drive recorders. For example, knowing that the journey is being recorded makes drivers more mindful of their behaviour. This can lead to improved driving standards, especially where the footage is used to deliver enhanced driver training programmes. There’s a more personal benefit too, because when drivers know that they are being recorded, they’re more likely to act courteously towards their passengers.
The more advanced, cloud-connected drive recorders go beyond simple video recording, providing advanced vehicle telematics information and 4G wireless connection. This means that taxi and rideshare controllers can have real-time access to vehicle footage and location via GPS data. This could be invaluable in the event of an emergency. For example, where a passenger is suffering from a medical emergency, taxi operators can be proactive and assist with ensuring emergency services are dispatched quickly to the car’s exact location.
While drive recording technology does lead to a loss of privacy, the flipside is that your journey is safeguarded. So, the next time you hail a taxi or call a rideshare vehicle and notice that a drive recorder is installed, perhaps don’t baulk at the invasion of your privacy. Instead, be encouraged to know that your ride home is more likely to be a safe and pleasant one.
VIA recently launched the VIA Mobile360 D700 Drive Recorder, a full-featured, compact dual camera 1080p driver recorder that is available with custom software support and seamless cloud integration. The unobtrusive and compact design includes GPS support with live tracking using a customizable app, a 3-axis G-sensor and four infra-red LEDs that ensure a clear video stream of the vehicle’s interior at all times. In short, the VIA Mobile360 D700 Drive Recorder is highly suited for deployment in taxis and ridesharing vehicles.
Learn more about the VIA Mobile360 D700 Drive Recorder here.
You can also watch this short introductory video: