New York City Police Department - Safety Tips for the Taxi and the For-Hire Vehicle Driver
For maximum protection, the partition should be U.L. listed with an anti-ballistic rating. The partition should be a solid sheet and secured in an appropriate frame.
The partition should extend door to door and an anti-ballistic plate should be installed inside the back of the driver's seat.
A deal tray or money slot must be installed. All business should be conducted through the deal tray.
The grille for ventilation and communication should be on the passenger's side, thus limiting access to the driver.
Car service vehicles that have a two-way radio should have a predetermined trouble code with the base station. For example, if your base screens the calls, let the passenger give you the destination and transmit it to the base. If the information is not the same as the original request, the base should give you a code that will alert you. At this point, you should have a procedure established in advance, such as suggesting to the fare that he/she call the base and request another cab. Have a follow-up plan that will get you out of a potentially dangerous situation. This procedure should be worked out between the drivers and the base. In addition, if there is a destination change while enroute, the base should be notified over the radio.
The installation of distress signal lights, approved by the Taxi and Limousine Commission, is now required. Drivers can activate these lights when they are in a dangerous situation. The lights provide police officers on patrol with a visible indication that the driver needs assistance. Remember, activate the distress lights only if you can do so without alerting the passenger.
The T.L.C. has approved vehicle security cameras in taxis and licensed for-hire vehicles. These digital cameras will take photos of the passenger compartment when someone enters the vehicle or upon activation by the driver. The time, date, and a vehicle identification number will be imprinted on the photo. The pictures are then stored in a control unit hidden on the vehicle.
Check with the T.L.C. before changing any security devices on your vehicle to ensure they comply with the established regulations.
Operation Identification For Vehicles
This program involves the marking of radios, air bags, and other valuable vehicle parts with invisible ink marking pen that can only be seen under an ultraviolet light. Window decals are provided to enrolled participants to deter thieves.
The Police Department has developed a program specifically designed for the taxi and livery driver. The program is known as the Taxi/Livery Robbery Inspection Program (TRIP). Drivers who enroll in this program are issued decals, which are applied to the rear side windows and passenger compartment of the vehicle. Police officers on patrol observing the vehicle may stop the vehicle at any time to ensure the driver is safe.
To find out more about FREE police department programs or to arrange for a personal safety lecture, contact your local Crime Prevention Officer or the Crime Prevention Section.
In addition to security devices described, there are many tactics you can apply that may reduce your vulnerability to crime. These include your instincts, knowledge of the streets and adherence to safety procedures.
Familiarize yourself with the location of police stations, fire houses, gas stations, hotels and other 24-hour establishments. Have a map of the city on hand for quick reference, particularly when traveling to unfamiliar areas.
Try not to look like you're new on the job. Criminals sometimes look for inexperienced drivers.
Keep money out of the reach of others. Divide the money up and secure it in your pants pockets.
If a passenger insists on paying outside the cab, open the window just enough to receive the cash. Don't be tricked into getting out of the cab.
Keep your trip sheet up to date and out of sight.
When you're on a break, take all your valuables with you. Never leave them in the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
Never follow a "fare beat", particularly into a building.
For-hire vehicle drivers must remember that picking up street hails is illegal and may jeopardize your safety.
Don't use a vehicle with tinted glass windows. The tinted glass conceals the criminal and reduces the ability of police and others to view inside the vehicle.
After leaving the garage or base, be careful when walking to your car or taking public transportation. You should get into the habit of waiting for others or bringing your car to a well lit and/or more crowded area.
Always remove the key from the ignition when you leave the vehicle. This small precaution may prevent theft of your vehicle.
When you start your shift, check to make sure the safety equipment is in proper working order.
Of all the strategies mentioned, the most important is your own sense of awareness and control. Criminals often look for a vulnerable or passive driver who can be tricked easily. You should conduct yourself with confidence.
If you are confronted by a criminal, remember -
Your life is worth more than one night's earnings or your vehicle. Verbal as well as physical resistance may cost you your life or serious injury. If you become the victim of a crime, take note of all physical characteristics of the perpetrator and report the incident to the police by dialing "911".