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Halifax taxi driver says cameras are critical to increased safety

Click to play video: 'Halifax moves closer to new taxi-safety strategy' Halifax moves closer to new taxi-safety strategy
WATCH ABOVE: City Hall is moving forward with an in-depth analysis of taxi-safety standards but some drivers believe the answer to safety in cabs is simple – Apr 27, 2017

The municipality is one step closer to a new strategy aimed at increasing taxi safety.

“We want to draw on some expertise that’s been in the industry, doing these reviews and helping the other larger municipalities,” Kevin Hindle said, the regional co-ordinator for licence standards.

According to statistics from Halifax Regional Police, there’s been 14 sexual assaults involving taxi drivers since 2012.

READ MORE: Halifax cabbie found not guilty of sexually assaulting woman who was drunk

Charges have only been laid in five cases.

The disturbing trend pushed the Transportation Standing Committee to pursue an overhaul of current safety standards.

City staff reviewed the request and have already implemented some changes they felt would make an immediate impact.

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One of those changes is through licensing decals.

A sample of an in-car licensing decal. The city wants to make them mandatory for all taxis. Global Halifax/Alexa MacLean

As of now, drivers can voluntarily place them inside their vehicles so that their licence number is clearly displayed.

The city wants to make the decals mandatory for all vehicles licensed under the municipality, including limos.

Safety changes that one Halifax driver says he fully understands and supports.

“I imagine a lot of [people] especially women, would feel uncomfortable being alone with a taxi driver. I think that’s the hard part of our industry is that, I can’t tell them I’m not a sexual predator,” Al Delorey said, who’s been driving cabs for the past 50 years.

The Transportation Standing Committee moved a motion Thursday, asking for a Request For Proposal (RFP).

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The successful bidder will provide an in-depth analysis of current safety standards in the municipality and look through a list of recommendations to see what changes may work.

The recommendations include everything from in-car cameras to sensitivity training.

Delorey believes a standard approach to in-car cameras is the only way to truly make taxis safer.

“Not one sexual assault would have occurred if there was a camera, a proper camera in the car. Because the guy would be hanging himself, he would be taking a picture of himself abusing somebody,” Delorey said.

He believes the municipality needs to find a way to finance mandatory cameras for all taxis.

City staff estimate an in-depth industry review will cost around $60,000.

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