DC program that would give rideshare and delivery drivers free dash cameras gets ACLU backlash

The D.C. Council is expected to have a public hearing on the legislation June 27.

Published: June 9, 2023 11:15am

Updated: June 9, 2023 11:21am

The District of Columbia announced earlier this week a new government program that would make delivery and rideshare drivers eligible for free dash cameras, but it has drawn criticism from the ACLU. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday that the city has partnered with DoorDash and will use a $500,000 donation from the company to purchase about 5,000 dash cameras for residents who work as delivery or rideshare drivers. 

“For drivers who come to restaurants…to pick up orders, drop off dinners – we want them to be able to do that with more security,” Bowser said at a press conference, according to the DCist. “Video evidence is crucial in solving crimes and closing cases, and [also in] deterring crimes.”

Interim D.C. Police Chief Ashan Benedict said during the press conference that car thefts are up in the district by 118%.

While this initiative is meant to provide the drivers with more security, the ACLU of D.C. has referred to it as “government surveillance on wheels," according to The Washington Post.

As of now, Bowser's administration has not responded to these concerns. 

"We have heard from those in the [rideshare and delivery] industry that public safety is top of mind, and that is why we are here today — because one innovative solution that has proven effective has been the use of dash cams,” said Salah Czapary, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture. “These cameras provide valuable footage that can greatly increase the likelihood of holding perpetrators accountable.”

The D.C. Council is expected to have a public hearing on the legislation June 27.

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