Cabbies, it’s time to belt up!

IT is well known that in the event of a road traffic accident an occupant who is not wearing a seat belt becomes a human missile within the vehicle, often seriously injuring other occupants or even killing them. The majority of taxi drivers put their pass

IT is well known that in the event of a road traffic accident an occupant who is not wearing a seat belt becomes a human missile within the vehicle, often seriously injuring other occupants or even killing them. The majority of taxi drivers put their passengers' lives seriously at risk in this way.

The law does actually allow them exemption from wearing a seat belt when they are carrying fare-paying passengers. This exemption is not an instruction not to wear seat belts: it simply allows them the choice. But it is their deliberate choice to disregard their passengers' safety and to put them at risk of serious injury or death.

Regardless of how good a driver we think we are, our skills can always be overcome by someone else's mistake. And accidents do happen. More than 3,000 people are killed on our roads every year, with many thousands more suffering life-changing injuries.

Most employers now take occupational road risk very seriously and, among other things, issue instructions to their drivers that seat belts must be worn at all times for their own safety. There is no good reason why taxi firms cannot do the same and issue clear instructions to their drivers that, for the safety of passengers and themselves, seat belts must be worn at all times.


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A proper risk assessment, which is a legal requirement, should identify that not wearing seat belts presents a high risk to passengers' safety anyway and would therefore require the employer to take remedial action to reduce the risk.

Type "sleepy cabbie" into your Internet search engine and then watch the video clip to see just how dangerous a taxi driver can be in a road traffic accident through not wearing a seat belt. The driver survived but, as the video clip shows, if he had been carrying passengers they would have been seriously injured or killed by him flying around the vehicle. Interestingly, this even took place in Huntington, USA.

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Could taxi firms please take our safety more seriously.

ALAN GOFF

Sweetings Road

Godmanchester

- What do you think? Car drivers have been required to wear belts since 1983. Should taxi firms instruct drivers to belt up? Should the exemption, intended for black cab drivers in enclosed cabs and now nearly a quarter of a century old, be repealed? E-mail letters@huntspost.co.uk or write to The Editor, The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TB.

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