According to latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics, taxi drivers, private hire drivers and chauffeurs are among those most likely to contract and die from COVID-19 based on their occupation.
The data shows road transport drivers, including male taxi and minicab drivers had some of the highest rates of death from the virus.
The data, an overview of coronavirus-related deaths by occupation, analysed deaths among those aged 20 to 64 years in England and Wales.
Analysts broke down occupations into nine major groups, which then subdivide into 25 sub-major groups.
Within the road transport sector, considered a major group at a more granular level, taxi and private hire drivers, including chauffeurs, had the highest rate of deaths, with 36.4 deaths per 100,000 males (76 deaths).
The figure exceeds deaths occurred in other areas of the transport sector including bus and coach driving occupations.
Figures show bus and coach driver deaths were at 26.4 deaths per 100,000 males, with van drivers and those driving large goods vehicles making up the list of transport workers most likely to contract and die from an illness involving COVID-19.
Concerns have been raised by taxi and private hire representatives around the UK highlighting social distancing requirements within vehicles, especially saloon and estate cars which do not have any partition between driver and passenger.
Many drivers have attempted DIY partitions using a number of different materials including plastic screens taped to the car’s interior, a method not authorised by all licensing authorities.
Unite the Union and the GMB have both previously called for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be issued to taxi, private hire and bus drivers around the UK following a number of deaths involving transport workers.
The United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD), a representative body for private hire drivers, has warned that a deadly combination of mixed messages and poor safety guidance from the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for London (TfL) has risked putting the lives of drivers and the travelling public at risk. They have demanded that the DfT, TfL and all local licensing authorities require private hire operators to provide and ensure use by drivers of personal protection equipment including masks, gloves, hand sanitiser, disinfectant and cleaning materials.
Taxi and private hire drivers have remained at the frontline of transport throughout the coronavirus pandemic and continue to offer their services to key-workers, on most occasions at a reduced price or even free, as well as offering ‘essential goods’ delivery services in many locations around the UK.
The analysis by the Office for National Statistics includes deaths involving COVID-19 that were registered up to, and including 20 April.
Image credit: UPHD/Pixabay