As the review of the treatment of food delivery workers continues, DoorDash has launched a new in-app toolkit called SafeDash in the U.S. to provide additional security measures for its “Dashers”.
SafeDash, which is powered by security firm ADT, will initially roll out in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. All DoorDash couriers in the U.S. will have access to this feature by the end of 2021.
The feature includes a safety reassurance call and an emergency assistance button, according to a company blog post. That agent will remain on the phone until the delivery worker feels safe, DoorDash says. If a situation escalates and the worker “is unresponsive for a period of time,” ADT will call 911 and request assistance to the worker’s last known location, which will be based on GPS from the courier’s smartphone.
Couriers will also be able to notify if they are in need of emergency assistance, and ADT will contact 911 and remain in contact with the courier through text messaging.
These features are part of DoorDash’s efforts to boost courier safety following a reported surge in violence toward drivers during the pandemic. In New York City, thefts of electric bikes, a common method of many delivery drivers use, doubled in 2020, according to the New York Times.
There have also been reports of delivery drivers denied the ability to use washrooms at restaurants from which they pick up orders. The Ontario government recently tabled unprecedented legislation that would mandate that food delivery workers other couriers be allowed that right.
That followed the approval of legislation from New York City Council in September that will give couriers more control over their routes and better access to washrooms and also gets the ball rolling on establishing minimum per-trip payments.