By Karli Olson
PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — Portland is home to thousands of drivers who participate in rideshare programs, giving travelers and commuters another option to get through town.
But drivers who use their personal cars for those services have less safety resources than other public transport, and this has led to a change across the city.
Uber and the dash cam company Nexar have partnered to provide a 30% discount on dash cams for Uber drivers for what they hope will be a safer experience.
Terry Dotson from Vancouver has been an Uber driver for seven years, regularly providing rides in and around Portland. He’s clocked 12,000 rides in his Uber career so far.
“I was starting out in retirement and needed something to do, and it keeps me young,” he told Fox 12 Oregon on Wednesday.
He showed us the dash cam he was able to purchase through the discount program, and said there were plenty of instances where it would have come in handy.
“I got rear-ended one time and got pushed in to another car, and needed to plead my case to the police that I wasn’t the cause of the accident,” Dotson said.
The program also comes after attacks on public transport workers in the city, including an Uber driver who was shot and injured last summer and another who was shot and killed in 2021.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has been working with the TNC Driver’s Committee, which represents drivers working for rideshare programs, to hear the main concerns facing those drivers in town.
“We have heard from rideshare drivers that they would like to have cameras in their vehicles, they’re concerned about the affordability,” said Dylan Rivera, a spokesperson for PBOT.
Unlike taxi drivers, rideshare drivers are not required to have cameras inside the car, as there is a greater verification process through the apps used to book trips.
A recent Nexar survey of 6,000 rideshare drivers nationwide revealed that 80% of respondents would feel safer with a dash cam on board.
“This sort of discount that Uber is piloting in Portland, the first in the nation, is really exciting because it could make this safety feature more accessible for more drivers,” Rivera said.
That’s certainly the case for Dotson.
“I want it for my protection; in case something happens I’ve got a recording of really what went wrong,” he said.
If you’re an Uber driver in the Portland area who wants information on the discount, there is going to be a driver event at the Portland Green Light Hub on Thursday and Friday this week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You will be able to see how the cameras work, and if you choose to purchase one, you can have it installed professionally on the spot.
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