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ENDING HAND-HELD PHONE USAGE IN TAXIS: Is it time to make having a phone cradle mandatory?



In today's fast-paced digital world, it is evident that the use of mobile phones has become an integral part of our daily lives. However, when it comes to the taxi industry, the use of hand-held mobile phones poses a significant risk to both drivers and passengers.


Despite numerous campaigns and penalties handed to distracted cabbies, some taxi drivers still risk their livelihoods by using their mobile phones while driving. The presence of cameras and dashcams, as well as the growing animosity between cyclists and motorists, has heightened the need for drivers to prioritise safer driving practices, including refraining from using mobile devices, even when in stationary traffic.

Ultimately it is the driver’s responsibility to be compliant, but this article will discuss potential strategies to further eradicate hand-held mobile phone usage in the taxi industry, ensuring a safer and more responsible driving environment.

THE ROLE OF CAR MANUFACTURERS


As mobile devices are now widely used, car manufacturers could play a more significant role in promoting responsible mobile phone usage while driving. One straightforward solution would be to provide a universal mobile cradle in new vehicles as a standard feature. This provision would encourage drivers to secure their devices properly, placing them in a designated area, thereby minimising the need for hand-held mobile interaction.


TAXI RENTAL FIRMS


Taxi rental firms could also contribute to reducing hand-held mobile phone usage by offering mobile cradles to their drivers. By providing this simple accessory, rental firms would not only promote compliance with safer driving practices but would also benefit from an increased pool of licensed drivers. This would create a win-win situation, ensuring a larger market for rental taxis while fostering increased road safety.

THE PHONE CRADLE AS A ‘CONDITION OF FITNESS’


To further tackle the issue of hand-held mobile phone usage, could there ever be the possibility of making a phone cradle a condition of fitness for taxi licensing? This requirement could establish a specific standard, ensuring that all taxi drivers have a secure and easily accessible place to store their mobile devices while driving. By making this a mandatory practice, regulatory authorities could improve driver compliance, enhance passenger safety, and create a culture of responsible mobile phone usage within the taxi industry.


SHOULDERS OF RESPONSIBILITY


Addressing the issue of hand-held mobile phone usage in the taxi industry requires a multifaceted approach. Car manufacturers and leasing firms can contribute by providing universal cradles in new vehicles, while taxi rental firms can offer the same to their drivers. Additionally, making a phone cradle a condition of fitness would underscore the importance of responsible mobile phone usage and promote compliance amongst taxi drivers. But, even if all of these ideas were to be implemented... responsibility still falls on the shoulders of the driver.

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