The COVID-19 pandemic has made food and grocery delivery apps more popular than ever. But, drivers for app-based delivery companies, such as Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats and Instacart face significant risks every day.
Delivery drivers in the gig economy have been victims of physical assaults, robberies and carjackings. An analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries identified “delivery driver” as one of the most dangerous jobs in America.
As these food delivery assaults continue, survivors are criticizing the slow response of app-based delivery companies. Many survivors have taken legal action against negligent companies, as well as their attackers.
Is DoorDash Safe For Drivers?
DoorDash drivers have been attacked by customers and third-party individuals. Many of these attacks resulted in serious injuries and expensive medical bills. In some cases, DoorDash drivers have been shot or threatened with weapons.
Faced with multiple lawsuits, DoorDash has taken steps to increase driver safety. In November 2021, the company debuted SafeDash. The in-app toolkit includes an emergency assistance button to contact 911. Drivers can also make “safety reassurance calls” to connect with an ADT security agent.
Despite these new features, delivery drivers continue to question if DoorDash is safe to work for. The company was among several app-based food delivery services criticized for their lack of additional protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even without the added viral threat, drivers still face certain risks with every delivery.
Is DoorDash Safe To Use?
DoorDash customers may also risk their safety using the app. In some instances, drivers have sexually harassed customers.
Assailants have also posed as food delivery drivers, in order to attack victims.
Exercising caution can mitigate the risk of physical assault, harassment and other types of sexual violence. Do not allow a delivery driver into your home, and do not enter their vehicle. If possible, retrieve your order with another person present.
Is Uber Eats Dangerous?
Uber Eats delivery drivers have been victims of serious physical assault. In March 2021, an Uber Eats driver was killed during a carjacking. The attackers used a stun gun on the driver while he was driving, causing him to crash. He died from his injuries at the hospital. The attackers, who were minors at the time, were later given the maximum sentence in juvenile detention.
Rideshare Drivers Face Similar Risks
Rideshare drivers must also contend with many of the same risks as food delivery drivers. In January 2021, one Uber driver was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and beaten. The attacker then threw the driver from his car and stole the vehicle. Following police capture, the attacker was sentenced to prison in January 2022.
Uber faces numerous lawsuits from drivers who were physically and sexually assaulted by riders. Many survivors feel Uber failed to ensure their safety and are suing to hold the company accountable. The company has responded by releasing assault data and implementing new in-app safety features.
Is Grubhub Dangerous?
Repeated physical attacks have led many delivery drivers to question if Grubhub is dangerous. In October 2021, a Manhattan driver was fatally stabbed and robbed.
In May of that same year, a Rhode Island Grubhub driver completed his delivery after being stabbed in the abdomen. As independent contractors, gig workers have fewer rights than company employees. Because of this, drivers may feel pressured to complete a delivery in order to keep their job, even under dangerous circumstances.
Delivery Driver Safety Tips
Assault survivors are never at fault for their attack. However, there are steps delivery drivers can take to increase their safety:
- Stay alert and aware. Avoid poorly-lit areas and take note of vehicles that may be following you. If a house appears vacant, do not approach it.
- Do not leave your vehicle unattended. Lock the door and remove the keys while making a delivery.
- If a situation feels dangerous, leave. Lock your doors and drive to a safe location.
- Know where you are going. Familiarize yourself with your destination before leaving the store or restaurant. Drivers who are lost are at higher risk of carjacking.
- Try to focus on details. If you are assaulted, information like the assailant’s description and a license plate number can aid in their arrest. Submitting a detailed report to your food delivery company also ensures a record of the incident exists.
If you are assaulted while making a delivery, get yourself to a safe location and call the local authorities. If you have been injured, seek medical treatment.
Reporting abuse and assault is a deeply personal decision. Doing so can help prevent future assaults. Many survivors have also found that taking legal steps to hold their attacker and the negligent company accountable can be helpful to their recovery.
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