Government moves to bolster taxi safetyTransport
From next year, all taxis in our larger towns and cities will be fitted with security cameras in a move designed to enhance the safety of both taxi drivers and their passengers.
The mandating of cameras in taxis, along with measures to tighten up telecommunications requirements for taxis, has been approved by Cabinet.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce says it has become clear that the working environment for taxi drivers is no longer as safe as it once was.
Since December 2008 there have been a number of serious attacks on taxi drivers. Two of these attacks resulted in deaths.
Mr Joyce says Cabinet has considered the evidence and come to the conclusion that these measures are necessary.
"In-vehicle cameras are successfully used in Australia's main cities. Overseas experience suggests that in-vehicle cameras could reduce violent and serious crime in taxis by 70 percent and taxi fare evasion by 70 percent.
"As with other businesses which use similar measures, the cost of installing and operating these measures will need to be met by the taxi industry.
"In-vehicle cameras are widely supported among the industry, and while drivers can never be 100 percent safe, these measures will make a significant reduction to the risks that drivers face."
Cabinet has also agreed requirements for improved telecommunications systems which will ensure drivers have ‘around the clock' communications support in the event of an emergency or if they have concerns about a potential threat.
It is planned that rules for mandating cameras and improved telecommunications will be completed by the end of the year, and the new law will be in force by the middle of next year to give operators and taxi companies time to meet the new requirements.
Further information on the government's decision is available at www.transport.govt.nz.