The Running Commentary


Taxi Lawlessness can be solved…….

There has been a huge, justifiable, reaction to the senseless killing of nine children as a result of a taxi driver who disobeyed a railroad crossing set of booms.  As reported he passed the other waiting traffic and tried to negotiate his way through, resulting in the taxi being hit by an oncoming train.

I have been, as many of you probably have, trying to deal with the absolute anger as a result of this tragedy.  Making things worse is the journey home each day in which we see many taxi drivers continuing to break the law. (Driving down the emergency lane, crossing solid white lines and the rest)

Yesterday I saw a taxi driver breaking the rules. He crossed over a solid white line, only to cause several cars to slam on brakes.  I dutifully hooted at him, probably a bit longer than I would normally do.  To my amazement several of the passengers in the vehicle laughed and waved at me.  This is when it struck me.

These passengers have the ability to change the driver’s attitudes.  They need to also take accountability for the driver’s actions and by supporting a driver who breaks the law are they not also in some way complicit?

Now before you say, these were children. I understand that, but this driver has probably ferried hundreds, if not thousands, of passengers in the past.  All this time, he would have broken many of the rules of the road, all the while with passengers on board.

We are a country of strike action, as can be proven by the current ongoing civil servant strike action. Should we not be encouraging the passengers in these taxis to stop their support of the drivers and the taxi bosses. Fundamentally, they would be achieving two things. Firstly, they would be securing their own lives against potentially dangerous acts of the driver and secondly they would help to make the roads safer for all users.

Continuing with the thought to extend the accountability in the industry. I think that urgent legislation should be passed making the taxi bosses complicit in terms of rules being broken.  In the same way any joint and several liability would apply. They should be fined, along with the driver, when the driver breaks the rules. This would create pressure from the bosses on the drivers to follow the rules of the road.

What do you think?

consumersillegallawlegalSouth Africataxi

Mike • August 26, 2010

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  1. Simon Griffiths August 26, 2010 - 9:15 am

    Agree totally. But how to get the legislation wheel rolling?

  2. 6000 August 26, 2010 - 9:17 am

    Nice idea on the passengers, but completely unworkable. They hold no sway – there are no viable alternatives to the taxi service for them.
    Going after the bosses is more reasonable – money is everything in this (sometimes literally) cut-throat industry. How realistic this is in legal terms would be an interesting one.

  3. em_aych August 26, 2010 - 9:24 am

    If only we all had the collective consensus to put the scurge of our roads out of business. There are way too many enablers who will continue to use minibus taxis because it’s affordable, faster, etc. The people of this country are too complacent with the way things are, they don’t realise their voices combined are stronger than the actions of a few. Until we ALL become aware of our power as a society to make CHANGE a reality we will forever live in a this perpetual state of “oh woe is me!” [this excludes the act of reckless and barbaric strikes that infringe on the rights of others, because it just gives the world an insight on how truly backward we can be!]

    On the topic of accountability! I sing the same song! The owners/bosses need to take responsibility for their drivers! They can fight and kill each other over ROUTES, what about killing the precious cargo they carry? Not JUST because it was children in that van, but LIVES!! It seems the value of life is JUST a statistic and THAT mentality is what is killing this nation!

  4. Mike August 26, 2010 - 10:20 am

    Simon, 6000 and em_aych – thanks for taking the time to comment. I know that some of what I said may not seem workable in the greater scheme of things, but I think a bit of collective will can go along way.

    It may mean that we only get around to holding the bosses more accountable, but if we only achieve this then we will cover a lot of ground.

    Legislation has it’s roots in the people of this country. Legislation can be sorted out quite quickly if the ground swell is sufficient. We need the ground swell to gather momementum.

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