Thursday, February 12, 2004

Seattle Cab Drivers Stage Work Stoppage Over Safety

More than 200 Kings County, Washington cab drivers staged a two hour work stoppage yesterday to call for better safety conditions. The recent shooting death of a cab driver sparked the protest. Drivers report being routinely shot, threatened, bitten and ejected from their cars.
Some drivers want bulletproof shields, but many said the shields make them feel isolated. Other drivers want video cameras in the cabs. Some want police to investigate crimes against cabbies more thoroughly.

Deb Duggan, a cabdriver for more than 10 years, said she wants more training for drivers in how to defuse a potentially violent situation. She wants cabs to have a sign discouraging robbers, by saying cabbies carry only a certain amount of cash.
Cab drivers are 60 times more likely to be slain on the job than other workers, according to a 2000 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
On Jan. 31, someone got in the Yellow Cab of Hassan Farah shortly after he started his 4 a.m. shift and killed him near Boeing Field. Police have made no arrests.....[Duggan] said she heard that Farah, a 39-year-old husband and father, had gone to a dispatched call from a McDonald's parking lot at 4:30 a.m. With more training, she said, somebody might have red-flagged that call as suspicious.

"You got to wonder why they called from there," said Duggan, an organizer with the Cab Drivers' Alliance of King County, which arranged yesterday's work stoppage.
Minneapolis cab driver staged a protest action last summer following the shooting of a driver there.

Check here and here for more information on cabdriver safety.