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Working as a driver for an app-based delivery business is a profitable, even pleasurable, side hustle, and some have even turned it into a full-time profession. However, there is no avoiding the fact that interacting with strangers, particularly for tasks that require a driver to go to a part of town that he is unfamiliar with, can be a risky undertaking.
Regular delivery drivers for firms like UPS and transportation drivers like taxi drivers have understood for years that both sectors are riddled with perils when dealing with unstable people who use their services. Attacks on ride-share drivers, carjackings, and other crimes are on the rise, particularly since the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Companies have been researching driver safety measures to try to address these challenges, particularly within the applications used by drivers to do business. Uber was among the first to implement a panic button in the driver app, which summons police enforcement when necessary and allows drivers to share their location with trusted contacts while on the job. Other services soon followed. Let’s take a look at two different services, DoorDash and GoPuff, to see what tools are in place to ensure driver safety.
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DoorDash followed in the footsteps of Uber by improving the smart phone application used by its drivers with features that help them stay safe while working for the company. The following are some of DoorDash’s driver safety features:
- The SafeDash feature provides reassurance calls and an emergency assistance button in the driver’s app.
- In an emergency, the app provides direct access to the ADT security company.
- It provides vehicle liability insurance for accidents that happen while on an active delivery.
- It provides occupational accident coverage for injuries sustained while on an active delivery.
GoPuff is a growing company that provides its own delivery service, delivering everything from meals and takeout orders to alcohol and pharmaceuticals. However, when it comes to driver safety, it lags behind some of the bigger brands in the delivery service market, especially considering Gopuff vs DoorDash driver safety. Although its driver app does not include some of the capabilities given by DoorDash, it does include the following:
- Allows contactless deliveries for those concerned about contagion.
- Flexible shifts allow new drivers to work during periods known to be less dangerous.
- Maintains a driver FAQ page.
As we can see, several delivery businesses are beginning to take driver safety more seriously and are implementing technologies within their operations to protect their drivers. However, the unfortunate fact is that very little initial training is provided for new drivers of many of these services, and most new drivers learn on the job or from other more seasoned veteran drivers. There are several Reddit threads and YouTube channels with advice for rookie drivers, including how to stay safe while working. Comparing Gopuff vs DoorDash driver safety, we see that DoorDash has taken many more steps than GoPuff. Ultimately, driver safety comes down to common sense, such as not taking orders in unfamiliar sections of town and exiting a situation immediately if something feels odd. Drivers for companies such as DoorDash and GoPuff are primarily responsible for their own safety while on the job as contract employees. Knowing that delivery drivers earn roughly the same hourly rate regardless of who they deliver for, the decision of which company to work for frequently comes down to what benefits, bonuses, and safety features the firm provides. It is possible that one of the services may not exist in your area, leaving you with few options for who to work for based on these variables. The service you choose to work for should be one with which you are most comfortable.
1. What are some ways that drivers can stay safe, independent of any tools offered by the delivery company?
Although nearly every delivery service prohibits drivers from transporting lethal weapons, some drivers feel better carrying mace or tasers, and some urge friends to accompany them while delivering, figuring safety in numbers, which is even encouraged by DoorDash. Because most crimes occur after 9 p.m., new drivers should avoid working late-night hours until they are acquainted with the process.
2. If a driver is injured on the job and the company offers occupational insurance reimbursement, what is the usual process?
Many delivery firms, such as DoorDash, do provide occupational injury insurance to drivers who are injured while working on an active order. However, the process can be complicated as the driver is normally required to pay for any treatment or medical care first before filing a claim. As a result, drivers are highly advised to have their own medical and car insurance before beginning employment. Many of the ACA’s healthcare marketplace plans are geared toward independent delivery drivers.
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