Taxi cab drivers face a high risk of being the victim of workplace homicide. While many cities and companies have made efforts to improve taxicab driver safety through the use of security equipment, such as in-vehicle cameras and partitions, the research into the effectiveness of these efforts has been limited.
A new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) examines the effectiveness of specific safety equipment in reducing murder rates among taxi drivers. Published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the study found that the installation of in-vehicle security cameras resulted in a significant drop in the rate of driver homicides.
The study was conducted by NIOSH researchers in the Division of Safety Research and looked at the effectiveness of security cameras and partitions installed in taxicabs. Examining newspaper clippings from a 15-year period in 26 cities, the researchers sorted the cities by:
- Use of security cameras.
- Use of partitions.
- Cities without either security intervention, as a control.
The results showed that cities that installed the cameras experienced a significant decrease in their homicide rate; seven times lower from pre-installation of the cameras. They also found that camera cities had a homicide rate three times lower than cities without cameras or security partitions.
“We have data that can show us who is at risk for workplace violence, but for taxi drivers there was a gap in knowledge on how effective the security equipment was at keeping them safe,” said Dawn Castillo, director of NIOSH’s Division of Safety Research. “This study provides an important piece of that puzzle, helping to increase our understanding of what works in preventing these types of tragic incidents. We hope that this will help cities and taxicab companies in their effort to make the workplace safer for these drivers.”
This study only examined news clippings and further research is still needed to better understand the issue and how to best prevent workplace homicides. Future research is planned to interview taxicab drivers to further compare the effect of security equipment in preventing more common types of workplace violence faced by taxi drivers, such as threats and assaults. The complete study is available on the American Journal of Preventive Medicine web site.