If you were filmed while in an Uber or Lyft and the rideshare driver published the footage online, you may be able to pursue legal action against them. Our expert rideshare attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are readily available to offer legal assistance. We have over 100 years of collective legal experience. With over 5,000 cases won and $1.5 billion in settlements recovered for our clients, we are confident that we will deliver a good outcome to your case.
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Is It Legal for an Uber or Lyft Driver to Record a Passenger in the Vehicle?
It depends. Uber will allow its rideshare drivers to record both audio and video as long as they do not publish it online. Under Lyft’s policies, the rideshare driver must follow their city and state’s laws on using recording devices when picking up or dropping off passengers.
The rideshare company’s policy further goes on to clarify that some cities may require rideshare drivers to have a signage present to notify the passenger of a recording device being used during the trip. However, other areas have banned the use of recording devices in rideshare vehicles.
Although rideshare drivers are aware of these rules and regulations, it does not prevent most of them from violating their terms of service or the city or state laws. Throughout the past few years, reports have surfaced online of rideshare drivers publishing audio or video footage of passengers.
The most notable incident of a driver taping and publishing video footage of a passenger was back in February of 2017 when Uber’s former CEO, Travis Kalanick, was recorded giving a lecture to a rideshare driver about taking accountability for his own problems. The rideshare driver sent the footage over to Bloomberg. Once the video became viral, Kalanick issued an apology to the rideshare driver for treating him disrespectfully.
In rare cases like this, the Uber driver did not face any legal repercussions for sharing the recorded footage. It is likely that this footage was viewed as a complaint against Kalanick as he was seen showing unnecessary anger and frustration towards one of his rideshare drivers.
Why Do Rideshare Drivers Keep Recording Devices in Their Vehicles?
It’s mainly due to safety reasons. Rideshare drivers allow strangers to enter their vehicle on a day to day basis, meaning that at any given moment, a dangerous person can be the next passenger. By having a recording device present in the vehicle, the rideshare driver can have proof of any physical or sexual assault occurring during a trip.
Unfortunately, there have been many reports of rideshare drivers getting physically or sexually assaulted by a passenger. For instance, in March of 2022, a passenger attacked an Uber driver over a canceled ride in South Los Angeles.
The Uber driver initially canceled the ride because the passenger had made him wait for five minutes. Once the ride got canceled, the Uber driver received another request from the same person. The Uber driver proceeded to pick up the passenger, which is when the two began to argue with one another over why the first ride request got canceled.
This ultimately led to the passenger punching the Uber driver multiple times. Once the passenger had stopped violently attacking the Uber driver, he canceled his trip and left the vehicle. Luckily, the Uber driver was able to document the violent attack by using his recording device. He submitted a police report and notified Uber about the incident. Uber remained in touch with the rideshare driver and removed the passenger’s access to the Uber app.
Sexual assault is another issue that rideshare drivers face. According to Uber’s 2017 to 2018 safety report, 42 percent of sexual assault complaints were submitted by rideshare drivers. Furthermore, about 19 percent of Uber drivers and 30 percent of Lyft drivers who experienced sexual assault during a trip were women.
Female Uber drivers would submit reports indicating that they would receive “non-consenual touching of a sexual body part” by drunk male passengers. This was the most common type of sexual assault that would occur in Uber rides. However, many incidents of sexual assault have been left unreported as other women feared that no one would believe them or take them seriously.
Rideshare drivers face the risk of getting attacked each time they allow a new passenger into their vehicle. It is important to have a dash cam ready at hand to document the incident. The footage can be used as evidence when submitting a police report or filing a complaint to Uber or Lyft. Furthermore, if the rideshare driver chooses to handle the matter in legal terms, they can use the footage as evidence to help obtain compensation for damages.
Tips for Rideshare Drivers Using Dash Cams
Rideshare drivers are allowed to use a dash cam when offering rideshare services to passengers. However, they must be careful when using the dash cam as there are certain policies and city laws that will prevent a rideshare driver from using the recording device during trips.
Below, we have created a list of tips for rideshare drivers to consider when using dash cams to record passengers who enter the vehicle.
- Before purchasing a dash cam, make sure you are legally allowed to use one in the locations you plan on offering rideshare services.
- Notify the passenger of the dash cam whether it be written on a sign or verbally mentioned.
- Place the dash cam in a visible area.
- Inform the passenger about your reason for having the dash cam installed in the vehicle, if asked.
- Only use the dash cam for safety purposes, such as when documenting a verbal or physical attack initiated by a passenger.
- Do not post any dash cam footage online. If your passenger committed negligent actions, such as physical or sexual assault, you should submit the footage to whichever rideshare company you are working for.
By following these tips, you will avoid facing any legal consequences for violating Uber or Lyft policies or city laws.