This article was written by Colonel (Ret.) Beni Tal – Founder and Owner of BTS Security
Just this week, a taxi driver picking up passengers from Holon to Eastern Jerusalem has been brutally attacked by the people who robbed him and took away his vehicle.
A taxi driver's job isn't easy
To be honest, the job of a taxi driver is a tough one all around the world. You basically let people you don't know sit alongside you and behind you, without knowing whether you will be paid or even make it alive. Often times, drivers found themselves lying in their own blood for hours before they were reached by first responders.
The taxi driver gets up in the morning in order to support his family and does not know what the future holds for him even within a few hours. He knows where it starts but not where it ends. A rather famous case occurred two decades ago when two teenagers killed Derek Roth and fled the country. They killed the taxi driver just for fun.
Protecting the drivers is the state's duty
As an owner of a security company and a personal security consultant it is clear to me that in order to effectively protect the lives of taxi drivers in The State of Israel, The Ministry of Transportation must change the rules. First, a taxi driver must be armed with a pistol so that the passenger, will think twice before attacking and risking his own life. Moreover, the driver would have to attend a mandatory gun operating seminar, will have to pass shooting tests at a range and this demand would be a perquisite for the renewal of his annual vehicle license.
In addition to the assault gun, we must also use a protective bulletproof glass separating the back and front seats just as they do it for example in the states. The front door is to be always locked so that no one will be allowed to enter. The driver will be talking to customers over the loudspeaker and a filtering window will allow them to pay him.
Furthermore, the cab has to be equipped with a GPS oriented panic button sending a direct signal to the Police in case of an emergency. Lastly, we can also consider an inner car lock not allowing the offenders to escape. If they try to escape at any cost, spraying tear gas or a pepper spray should be allowed – obviously till the security forces arrive at the scene.
Criminals who have a desire to rob a taxi driver will think twice and so the amount of such emergencies will drop by 50%-70%. The driver that was found barely alive after a few hours would have had the means to save himself and avoid such situations.