Being a taxi driver can be a dangerous profession. Incidents of violence and abuse are thankfully quite rare. However, as lone workers, taxi driver safety needs to be considered. So if you drive taxis, it’s a good idea to think about how to improve your security.
All taxi drivers should be aware of their personal safety. Like any business, taxi drivers should make a risk assessment that looks at potential safety hazards. Measures should then be taken to reduce risks encountered at work that might lead to dangerous situations.
Taxi Driver Risk Assessments
Working late at night and into the early hours of the morning, creates issues for taxi driver safety. They may encounter drunk, or aggressive passengers. They may also be targeted late at night in isolated locations by muggers. Most taxi drivers will also be aware of the trouble spots on their patch where dangers may be present.
Another risk is in leaving the cab. For example, a passenger may get out of the cab and run off without paying. It might seem natural for the driver to follow them out of the cab to try to get the fare. However, this can be very dangerous.
Chasing after a non payer risks the driver enountering violence at work. It can also be part of a set up. When the taxi driver leaves, an ‘accomplice’ can be lying in wait to get in the cab and drive off.
Taxi Driver Safety Measures
There are many useful things you can do to stay safe if you’re working as a taxi driver. Firstly, the way you conduct yourself with passengers is crucial. You should always be polite. Good customer service is essential. It’s also important not to be too judgemental. As a taxi driver, it’s inevitable that you’re going to encounter passengers who are drunk.
Choose Fares Carefully
As the driver, you have control over who gets into your cab.
So as you’re pulling up to pick up a fare, you are entitled to refuse to pick up any passenger if you feel their behaviour or demeanour is likely to cause you problems. Of course, you’ll not always be able to tell that in advance so it is very much a judgement call on a taxi driver’s behalf.
Do Not Fight Back if Threatened
A taxicab may well be your livelihood but you shouldn’t put yourself at risk if you are threatened with violence.
Criminals have been known to use knives, CS spray, syringes and even guns when carrying out armed robberies of taxi drivers so it’s not worth the risk to fight back. Simply hand over any takings and leave it to the police to do the detective work.
Always Stay With the Taxi
Even if a passenger runs off without paying, you should always stay with your taxi. Leaving the taxi puts both you and the taxi in a more vulnerable position. By staying with the cab, you can at least call for assistance if an incident happens. The cab will also offer you a place of safety away from potential violence.
Other Useful Taxi Driver Safety Tips &Equipment
There are many other things you can do as a taxi driver to ensure your personal safety and prevent abuse. Door handles can be modified so that they can only be opened from the inside. Deadlocks can be fitted which can be activated in areas known for violence.
You can have CCTV fitted in your cab, and use plastic partitioned glass to separate you from the passenger area. You can also use lockable sliding screens through which fares and change can be exchanged. However, if you adopt this practice, make sure the screen is not directly located behind the driver’s head.
There are also all kinds of sophisticated radio and communications devices. These are designed with lone workers in mind, and can alert those at base of any problems you’re experiencing. Your base will also be able to keep you informed about potential trouble in a particular area, for example.
Ultimately, it will be for you as a taxi driver to decide what times of the day or night you wish to work and what geographical locations you’re prepared to work in.