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Do you need a dashcam?

Do I really need a dashcam?

Recently I acquired a new dashcam. I won’t complain about my old dashcam. I will simply say that having the proper features in a dashcam is Uber important. Yes, that was a play on words.

As an older person in society, I have heard some really stupid stuff in my life. The stupid things that I hear repeatedly cause me to SMH. For example:

“I don’t see what the big deal is. My parents used to drive drunk all the time! Now everyone makes it out like it’s some kind of a crime or something.”

“I can’t get pregnant, my period just ended yesterday.”

“Nobody’s watching, we will never get caught.”

“Uber has to obey the law. If they break the law, they will get in trouble.”

“Do I really need a dashcam? I only drive during _____ and I never pick up low rated pax and I’m very friendly and respectful to my pax.”

With regards to the last one, I’ve got a few dashcam stories for you that might help convince you of how important a reliable dashcam is. One or two stories I might have told before, so for long time members, if you’ve read them a year ago, just skip over that story. (If you haven’t read them before, go through my past Articles and get a good laugh!)

Enjoy!!

Camera paid for itself

Driving when the roads were a bit icy. No ride, no pax. The car approaching loses control on a patch of ice and spins out, right towards me. I swerved, but he slammed into the side of my car. Caught the whole thing on my dashcam.

The guy was a local, but he was driving a rental vehicle, so he didn’t have registration or proof of insurance. It was cold as crap and late at night. Got his license info, plates, and phone number, and we went our separate ways. He promised to email me the insurance info the next day.

Day one (after the accident) I got an email from him, and it was of a webpage that showed a link to the insurance provider that the rental company offered. I called him up, and said that’s not good enough. I need the policy, showing your name and the policy number. Okay, he will get it to me, he promised.

Day two, no email or call.

Day three, no email. I called him. He said he was terribly sorry, he’s been busy, and he needs my info also btw. Sure, no problem, here’s my info, now I need yours. He promised to send it to me.

Day four, nothing. I left him a voice mail stating (nicely) that if I didn’t get his info I would take what I have, including the dashcam footage, and give it to the police, and they could investigate it as a hit-n-run.

Day five I get a call from State Farm. “Hello! We represent ___ and we want to take responsibility for the accident. How can we help? Do you need a rental? Have you taken your vehicle to a body shop?” Very nice; about frickin’ time.

Day six I talked with State Farm again. They will cover the cost of repairs 100%. But, as a driver, I’m out of work for a week. I use my car for income (Uber). We bantered back and forth for a bit, then they agreed to give me $1,000 for my lost week’s wages.

If I did NOT have a dashcam, I would have had to run the claim through MY insurance as a hit and run. They would NOT have given me the $1,000, because they don’t cover lost income.

My dashcam paid for itself, many times over, just from this one incident.

My scariest ride ever

Picked up 2 very tipsy women in their upper 20s or early 30s from a bar. Making casual convo, I asked if they took a lot of Uber and Lyft. The account holder replies “I will NEVER take Uber again as long as I live!!” Hmm, sounds like there’s a story there, we have 8 minutes, please continue.

She and a friend were bar hopping. Uber picked them up, drove them two blocks, and kicked them out for being too drunk. “Can you believe it??? They kicked us out because we were too drunk!!!”

Her friend asked “What did you do?”

“Well, I gave the driver a one star and told Uber he tried to show me his penis.”

The friend gasps “You did not….”

“Oh, yes I did! And Uber called me the next morning, and I told them that’s EXACTLY what happened!!”

At this point, I’m shocked. I said “Wow, you must have been really pissed, but you know that’s the kind of thing that can really mess with someone’s life. We’re not just talking about losing a job. That’s possible jail time, registered sex offender, banned from school zones for life … pretty serious stuff.”

She was unapologetic and responded “Screw him! He should have thought of that before he messed with a drunk person. Doesn’t he know that Uber and Lyft only EXIST to cater to the drunks?!?”

I was truly ashamed to be sharing the same oxygen as her. I was also glad that I had a dashcam.

That was my scariest ride ever. Didn’t involve violence, theft, a bad neighborhood, or any of the other stereotypical things that you might expect. Just a simple direct awareness that a false accusation can ruin someone’s life, and it can come from anyone, at any time.

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Dashcams are like condoms. You will probably be okay without it, but you just never know! That one time you wish you had it……

If you already have a camera you are happy with, skip this next section.

I won’t go with a cheap camera, too much is at risk. You want to make sure you have a camera that records forwards into traffic at a wide angle, as well as into the interior of the vehicle. The recordings need to be CLEAR during the dark hours.

Also, you want audio recording. Be aware that there are laws pertaining to audio recording which vary state by state. If the state(s) you drive in are “two party” states, then you must have an obvious sign in the vehicle clearly stating that people might be (audio) recorded. If you are in a “one party” state, then you don’t need to worry about it until you cross the state line. As far as audio recording laws outside of the US, I cannot speak to that.

I prefer cameras that save the recordings on a memory chip (instead of uploading to the cloud). If the camera loses connection with the server, the upload may not occur. I have found it worthwhile to buy an extra memory card (very low cost) so I can swap out the chips whenever I need to. The recordings stored on my chips will overwrite themselves every 30 hours, roughly, which means that my rides are good for almost a week before being overwritten.

Here is a link to my latest and best camera on Amazon: Camera I’m pretty sure they designed this specifically with Uber drivers in mind. It has all the bells and whistles that you would demand, at a very reasonable price. I’ve been in contact with the UP admin (asking permission to promote this particular camera). I’ve also been in contact with the manufacturer of the BlueSkySea B2W Dual Lens Dash Cam, and they provided the link to Amazon for everyone’s convenience. All the specs are right there for those who want to compare with other dashcams. And I believe that @EphLux already wrote a review about this camera, that would be worth reading.

dashcam.jpg

Image credit @UberLaLa

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Okay, one more story directly related to my dashcam.

Late night pickup at apartment complex. Really drunk couple is drunk-walking sideways to my vehicle, holding onto each other so they don’t fall down. Should have driven away but I was still a freshman. Gotta take every ping, don’t ya know!

They get in my car and slouch into position. Couple is playfully arguing. Sounded something like this:

You’re such a jerk.
Well you’re such a witch.
You’re an ass.
You’re a ho.
Well, if you wouldn’t sleep with everything with two legs…
Yeah, well you hit me.
You hit me first.
You hit me harder, that’s why you got FOUR years and I only got TWO.

WHOA!! I turned and looked, and the guy says “Can you tell we really love each other?”

I faked a smile and said “Is this a good time to let you guys know I have a dash cam?” and pointed to the camera.

His eyes lit up. He says “You have a camera? SHOW HIM A BOOB!!” and proceeds to yank his girlfriend’s shirt over far enough that a boob flopped out.


I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried! Make sure you have a dashcam, everyone.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Mr T

Comments

EphLux

Well-Known Member
Probably a good idea to immediately download any problem rides (like those above) to your hard drive.

Today I got an email from Lyft regarding a false allegation from a ride 4 weeks ago.

I forgot to turn on my driver side Vantrue dashcam. Pax did not see my lighted and working passenger side BlueSkysea B2W dashcam because it was obscured by seat.

That's why she filed false complaint.

I was so disgusted with driving for Lyft that day I didn't even bother pulling the video from my BlueSkysea B2W dashcam and saving it to hard drive. I should have!

I did take some cell phone photos, that may save me. But yeah, passengers (or Uber Lyft) make stories up.

Always good to have something to back your story as a driver.
 

DoYouEvenLyft?

Active Member
I've had a dashcam before, in my first couple months of ride-sharing. I've gotten so much shit from pax because of it. I've heard the usual:

*cameras make me nervous.
*I don't like being recorded.
*Why am I being recorded? I'm not going to rob you.

I support those who have a dashcam. Everyone should have one for their own safety and protection. God forbid anything bad happens to us fellow drivers but of course there will be instances where a dashcam will save your life.

My question is, what is the best way to hide a dashcam? Who knows some sly tricks to really hide one from a pax view?
 

UberLaLa

Well-Known Member
I've had a dashcam before, in my first couple months of ride-sharing. I've gotten so much shit from pax because of it. I've heard the usual:

*cameras make me nervous.
*I don't like being recorded.
*Why am I being recorded? I'm not going to rob you.

I support those who have a dashcam. Everyone should have one for their own safety and protection. God forbid anything bad happens to us fellow drivers but of course there will be instances where a dashcam will save your life.

My question is, what is the best way to hide a dashcam? Who knows some sly tricks to really hide one from a pax view?
Since I drive privates, I need to keep a low profile and hide the camera (mostly) behind the rear view mirror, and I do not point the interior lens on passengers. If for some reason, I do have a 'problem passenger' I could simply tilt up the rear view and easily swivel the lens on the cabin. It is constantly recording interior audio, of course. But, my #1 reason for having a camera is traffic incidents.

IMG_1135.jpg


Have never had anyone even notice it. Actually waiting at a celebrities house right now, that I dropped there with my private, and the celebrity was in the car and noticed nothing...
 

DoYouEvenLyft?

Active Member
Since I drive privates, I need to keep a low profile and hide the camera (mostly) behind the rear view mirror, and I do not point the interior lens on passengers. If for some reason, I do have a 'problem passenger' I could simply tilt up the rear view and easily swivel the lens on the cabin. It is constantly recording interior audio, of course. But, my #1 reason for having a camera is traffic incidents.

View attachment 351749

Nice. I like that. Does it really matter which direction the camera is facing? For example, can I have a camera mounted in the rear of the car facing forward(all you would see is the back of everyone's head)?
 

UberLaLa

Well-Known Member
Nice. I like that. Does it really matter which direction the camera is facing? For example, can I have a camera mounted in the rear of the car facing forward(all you would see is the back of everyone's head)?
Anything better than nothing. Audio probably 80% of protecting driver against false allegations. This particular camera has 2 lenses, one for traffic, other for cabin. I hide it until I need it. Takes 2 seconds to turn the lens towards the cabin, if needed.
 

EphLux

Well-Known Member
My question is, what is the best way to hide a dashcam? Who knows some sly tricks to really hide one from a pax view?
A) Do NOT hide dashcam. That defeats the purpose.

B) Comment in your Uber profile that you have dashcam.

C) Post dashcam warning stickers on outside of your vehicle like taxis do.

D) Post dashcam warning stickers on inside of vehicle like taxis do.

E) Have dual dashcam set with LCD screen "always on".
 
E) Have dual dashcam set with LCD screen "always on".
I'm on the fence about running with the screen always-on, and think that perhaps it varies by market or the hours that you drive.

I'd add to your great suggestions... F) Have a video archiving strategy. Swap cards, copy them to a large hard drive, upload them to a cloud service, or do something to assure that you have every ride going back for greater than a month. We've heard of 'reports' being made well after the ride.
 

amazinghl

Well-Known Member
I've had a dashcam before, in my first couple months of ride-sharing. I've gotten so much shit from pax because of it. I've heard the usual:

*cameras make me nervous.
*I don't like being recorded.
*Why am I being recorded? I'm not going to rob you.

I support those who have a dashcam. Everyone should have one for their own safety and protection. God forbid anything bad happens to us fellow drivers but of course there will be instances where a dashcam will save your life.

My question is, what is the best way to hide a dashcam? Who knows some sly tricks to really hide one from a pax view?
No need to hide the camera.
Refuse to drive without the camera to be on as the camera is for driver's protection as well as the rider's.
 

DriverMark

Well-Known Member
Have had several conversations with PAX about the dashcam. Only had 1 that complained and asked it to be turned off.

Hopefully it's kept stupid stuff from happening, since most my ride experiences are a bit dull. Boring is good.......
 

rkozy

Well-Known Member
If I was working the drunk shift, a dashcam would be an absolute necessity.

I stay away from the drunks. Too much risk with very little reward there. I only drive 7 AM - 9 PM, Monday thru Friday, and after 2000+ rides, I've never had an incident where dashcam footage would have been necessary to adjudicate in my favor.

People who work the bar crowd should probably have one. Drunk people don't remember 90% of the reckless crap they do. Video proof may be necessary. However, people like me who work when the sun is up and when people are typically sober, don't really need much backup. I sense that many of my passengers would feel I didn't trust them if I had to explain my reasoning for turning on a dashcam. They're trusting me -- a complete stranger -- to drive them somewhere. I feel I should pay that trust forward.

Would I like a pax recording me behind the wheel for an entire trip? Probably not.
 

rkozy

Well-Known Member
Let's just hope for your sake that you're never in an accident where you need proof that someone else is at fault.
I had an accident in January at the airport where a kid backed right into my vehicle, which had two passengers in it I had just picked up. He wanted to leave the police out of it, but I called them and got an officer to show up and make a report. His insurance company didn't even bother trying to fight the claim.

In cases where another party is obviously at fault, a police report will win the battle every time. In cases where the faulty party isn't exactly clear, a dash cam may help...but it's no guarantee. A far as recording my pax goes, I've heard many stories here where Uber is presented with footage of a ride in question, only to have that footage ignored as evidence.
 

kc ub'ing!

Well-Known Member
Is a camera good to have, sure. Is it an absolute necessity, nope. !0,000 rides, 2 tussles, 1 false claim, 0 camera.

A camera will not save you from a false accusation. You hear of it because Uber's already taken action against you. Deactivation, suspension; 'but I have camera footage.' So! Show me the threads where a driver's been redeemed due to having a camera. There should be plenty.

If you want a camera fine. Just don't be fooled into a false sense of security because you have one. The bad things that happen without a camera will still happen with one. Perhaps having one will help catch your murderer. You'll still be just as dead.

Cameras report they don't prevent. Who has more cameras than a convenience store? Robbed everyday!
 

Dice Man

Well-Known Member
About 4000 trips.
Only twice passengers reported to Lyft that I have a camera.
About 5 other passengers complained to me.
Some just ask how much is that camera.
I have a digital display sign for recording.
 

RioRoja

Well-Known Member
I completed over 7,000 rides before I decided to get a dash cam. All it took was one Uber rider in May of 2017 who made up a false complaint to Uber in retaliation of me passing on a short UberX ride that he ordered for his family of five. The father of three little kids with no safety seats falsely claimed that I started to drive off with his foot still in the door. I had to fill out some bs online incident report after which I played phone and e-mail tag with a claims guy at James Rivers. Below is the final response I received from James Rivers along with my reply (oh and the folks at Embassy Suites told me they could only release security camera footage in response to a warrant from law enforcement or if subpoenaed).

1567688505310.png

I started out with the Vantrue N2 Pro but discovered this past April after an accident that the internal battery had died. When I went to retrieve the dash cam footage after the accident, all I saw were files that I thought were from early January, so I incorrectly concluded that the camera hadn't been working since then. I figured out a few days later that the internal battery had died and that every time I turned off my car, the date would reset to 1/1. By the time I had figured all of that out, I realized that I had likely captured the accident on video - just with the wrong date/time stamps - but then because of the date/time reset, those files would have been overwritten probably that same day. The cops didn't issue a ticket to either me or the other driver because of "conflicting statements". Fortunately, the other driver's insurance company still claimed 80% responsibility, so I took a $3,000 cash settlement and then a few weeks later sold the damaged car to AutoNation for $3,500 (2013 Infiniti JX35 with 205,000 miles and transmission that was starting to fail, so I still came out alright).

Since that discovery, I've been using a Vantrue N2 (non-Pro) that I bought from a friend who doesn't drive anymore (from my research, the non-Pro version didn't have the internal battery issue like the Pro version). I'm almost exclusively a day driver, so the lack of the IR night vision feature only available on the Pro version isn't a big deal. Nonetheless, I'm still not a big fan of Vantrue. Even though I rotate through three Samsung 256gb SD cards every three or four days - and I archive the video files to a 4TB hard drive - the last couple of times I went to retrieve some video files, they were inexplicably missing (both times were after I drove famous people which is the only reason I wanted to retrieve the footage).

Rarely do riders even mention my camera - it's in plain sight - but when they do, they don't come across as concerned about it. I usually respond with, "yeah I completed over 7,000 rides before I decided to install a dash cam..." and then tell them the story about the false complaint that led to my decision. I also explain that this is how I make my living and that regardless of the now 12,000+ rides I've done in the close to five years I've been at this full time, neither Uber nor Lyft have ever given me a sense that either company would have my back after any sort of untoward situation. Also, it seems fairly common now - at least here in the Denver market - for U/L drivers to have dash cams, so my sense is that most regular riders are used to it.

After reading about the Blueskysea B2W in this and other threads, I may decide to give that one a shot. If I pull the trigger and buy one, I'll report back my impressions.
 
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