The taxi industry comes with inherent danger and risk as drivers interact with the public regularly. Taxi drivers work alone, in isolated areas, with cash available, and interact with multiple strangers each shift. Fortunately, drivers can reduce risk and stay as safe as possible while on the job by following safety tips for taxi drivers.
There are many sad stories of taxi drivers injured or killed on the job. In North Dakota, for example, a young driver was killed in a robbery gone wrong. Research shows that taxi drivers suffer the highest murder rate of any occupation. Here are several tips to help keep taxi drivers safe at work (and as an insurance producer, be sure to share these tips with your clients)!
Stay in Touch with Dispatch
A taxi drivers’ dispatcher is their lifeline. Be sure that the radio in your taxi is always functional. Develop a good relationship with your dispatchers. This ensures that there is always someone on the other end of the line who can help.
Good dispatchers provide information and can access additional help for drivers. As a driver, you should always know your location so that you can tell dispatch exactly where you are. Modern taxis may be equipped with GPS or another tracking system, which is also helpful.
When you pick up a fare, let the dispatcher know where you are and give a good description of your fare. If they give an unknown destination, alert dispatch. Do not give them a ride. Similarly, if someone flags you down rather than calling for a taxi, be sure to give dispatch a detailed description.
Prepare Your Vehicle
Taxi drivers can benefit from high-tech and low-tech vehicle preparation. To start with, carry a first aid kit and an emergency kit in the taxi at all times. And in-car surveillance cameras can dissuade people from being abusive or committing crimes. They can help if a bad situation does occur, as the video footage may provide evidence for a legal or insurance claim.
A panic button is another critical part of any taxi driver’s equipment. Bullet-resistant glass or another kind of partition or shield between you and riders can also help prevent problems. Your taxi company should invest in and encourage cashless fare systems to keep its drivers safe.
Before you start a shift, check your cab. Make sure that everything works. Check the tires, oil and other fluids, emergency light switch, and radio. If anything is not working as it should, alert your company.
When driving without a fare, lock the doors and keep windows rolled up as much as possible. It is okay to have the windows open for some fresh air but ensure that nobody can reach in through the window.
Know What to Do in a Bad Situation
Long-time taxi drivers are likely aware of some red flags when picking up a passenger. If someone looks or acts nervous or sits directly behind you when they do not need to, be on alert and prepared to get help. Keep an eye on passengers through your mirror. If they sit directly behind you, politely ask them to move over.
Above all, taxi drivers in a potentially dangerous situation need to stay as calm as possible. If you have an emergency of any kind, use your communication system(s). Alert dispatch, using code words or radio signals if that’s part of your procedures. Use a panic button or emergency light as laid out in emergency procedures.
Do not argue with a passenger or try to fight back if they threaten you. Cooperate as much as possible, even if someone refuses to pay. Your life is worth more than a cab fare.
Invest in Taxi Insurance
Sometimes, even when following all recommended safety practices, issues and emergencies still arise. Taxi insurance protects drivers and to taxi companies after an accident or incident. That could be accident coverage, coverage for damage to passenger property, or something else under your policy.
Offering taxi insurance to your clients is a great way to write more business within this niche industry for insurance producers. Share these tips with your taxi clients. They will see the benefits of this specialty insurance line. It’s one critical way to stay safer within this risky industry.
We can work with insurance producers and their taxi driver clients to develop the best insurance policy possible. Our work includes risk mitigation, performed by our experienced in-house team. This an additional layer of protection and encourages best practices.
Learn more about our taxi insurance and taxi driver insurance here. You can also call us at 800-257-5590 to get more information and start working with our dedicated team at Prime Insurance Company.