Sadly, driving a taxi can be a dangerous job. The threat of robbery and violence is ever present when you are inviting strangers into your car for a living. Even scarier, behind motor vehicle accidents, violence initiated by customers is the 2nd leading cause of taxi driver deaths. This article aims to outline our top tips and recommended strategies to reduce the likelihood of violence for taxi drivers during a shift.
Dealing with Cash
Our number one tip is to carry less cash in your taxi! Less cash on hand makes you a less likely target for a robbery. In order to minimize the amount of cash you are carrying, try making a habit of depositing cash at ATMs during your shift. Also, encourage the use of cashless systems, such as credit card readers, for all your customers. If your taxi company does not currently have any cashless technology installed in their cabs, talk to the owner about the importance of being able to provide cashless transactions. Finally, we suggest posting decals on your windows stating that drivers have limited cash on hand.
An easy and perhaps overlooked tip that greatly increases safety is to always keep your taxi cab in well-lit and visible areas when not moving. Keep your inside taxi lights on and do not tint your windows so dark that people cannot easily see inside the taxi. Also, make sure you keep your taxi windows free from unneeded signs or postings. Greater visibility into your taxi can help reduce and deter violence!
Safety Tech for Taxi Cabs
The following security features should be installed in every cab. If your taxi does not have any of the following, talk to your cab company immediately!
• Inside and outside security cameras complete with decals alerting passengers that security cameras are in use.
• Bullet-resistant barriers between the front and the back seat
• Personal and vehicle tracking devices, such as global positioning systems (GPS), so you can be located if you need help.
Every taxi cab driver should have safety training on how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations and customers. If you have not been given training, talk to your cab company on providing a session for all the drivers to attend.
When dealing with robbers or fare evaders do not try to resist the robbery or chase after the evaders. Instead, immediately notify your dispatcher and/or the police of the situation as soon as the customer is out of your vehicle.
If a passenger cannot provide a destination and just wants to “ride around” this is a big red flag. Never accept a passenger who cannot provide you with a destination. Further, it is always best practice to notify your dispatcher or another driver of your destination every time you pick up a customer, especially if you are being asked to drive to certain areas that feel unsafe. We also recommended using and practicing an emergency communication system or code word with your dispatcher or another driver so you can alert them if there is trouble without making your passenger aware of your intentions.
Finally, always trust your instinct, if a passenger seems off do not let them into your vehicle!