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December 5, 2000
Taxi Industry Unit implements program to improve safety for taxicab drivers
Starting December 1, 2000, mandatory installation of emergency lights began in
all taxicabs licensed by the City of Toronto. Cabs will also be equipped with
hidden security cameras or automatic vehicle location/global positioning
systems (AVL/GPS).

Toronto City Council recently enacted a bylaw to mandate the installation of
safety devices in all taxicabs as a response to the alarming number of
homicides and other violent crimes involving cabbies. Since the summer, the
Taxi Industry Unit has been working with the taxi industry and the police to
develop a driver safety program that includes defining 911 emergency procedures
to respond to taxicab driver distress and the technical specifications for each
of the safety devices used.

· Taxicab emergency lights are produced in a number of styles. One system
relies on using the existing roof light to flash on and off when activated.
Another system incorporates two flashing lights, one behind the front grill and
the other at the rear of the cab. A switch is readily accessible to the driver
for activation when under distress. The flashing lights should attract the
attention of the police, other cab drivers and the public.

· All AVL/GPS systems will be appropriately monitored. Camera photographic
records are strictly controlled and are only accessible to the police and other
appropriate officials. All costs for the safety devices will be borne by the
taxi plate owner.

· A police/industry training program is being developed to educate drivers on
how to use the emergency light system and other safety devices. The training
will be incorporated into the Taxi Driver Training Refresher course conducted
by the Taxi Industry Unit, Municipal Licensing & Standards Division of Urban
Development Services.

· To further educate members of the taxi industry safety information and tips
will be included in the Taxi Industry Unit's Fare Exchange and in various
publications produced by the taxi industry.

· A sub-committee of the Taxi Advisory Committee (T.A.C.) will be established
to continue monitoring and responding to safety concerns faced by taxicab

The Taxi Industry Unit will conduct a systematic check of the safety devices
during regularly scheduled taxi inspections in January 2001. This will ensure
that they are installed properly and according to the Municipal Licensing &
Standards specifications. It is anticipated that all taxicabs will be properly
equipped with safety devices by the end of April 2001.

For further information please contact Ian Redfearn, City of Toronto, Taxi
Industry Unit, Scarborough Civic Centre, 416-392-3105, Fax: 416-392-4080,

Media Contact
Ian Redfearn
Taxi Industry Unit



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