WATCH ABOVE: Dashboard cameras are becoming mandatory in hundreds of Edmonton taxis and the cost will fall on the drivers. Lisa Wolansky has reaction from drivers.
EDMONTON – Dashboard cameras will soon be running in hundreds of Edmonton taxis after a major company announced it is making the cameras mandatory.
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Edmonton Taxi Service Group, which operates Yellow Cab, Barrell Taxi, Checker Cab and Prestige Cab, recently announced it is making dash cams mandatory in all of its cabs and limousines. The president of the United Cabbies Association of Edmonton said the move is a great step in terms of safety.
“It’s a good thing for the industry,” said Balraj Manhas. “It can safeguard the driver and also the customer sometimes if there’s any dispute.”
“There were so many accusations towards our drivers, especially in the night times and weekends, from the customers. Some customers didn’t want to pay or there were some disputes and they accused our drivers, even some serious accusations,” Manhas added.
Edmonton cabbie Sonar Yasa knows of those accusations all too well. In 2006, Yasa was accused of sexual assault by four drunk, unruly female passengers. He said his dashboard camera footage saved him when the women called police.
“They looked at the camera, actually, they viewed the video and said ‘you’re the luckiest cab driver,’” he said.
“I don’t know what would have happened that night if I didn’t have the camera.”
The cameras will have front and rear-facing views to capture what goes on both inside and outside the vehicle.
“The front view is also very important because, especially in a winter city like Edmonton, we have so many accidents in the winter and sometimes it’s not the fault of the taxi driver,’ said Manhas. “That way you can catch it and it’s very helpful for the police and the insurance.”
Edmonton’s Airport Taxi Service has already made dashboard cameras mandatory in all of its cabs. Driver Salwinder Dhatt believes the cameras are a great feature.
“You can save all your recordings on the computer itself. So, if you find that you need something out from it, you can take that as evidence,” said Dhatt. “This is a safety feature and everybody should be happy with it because it is a feature which can protect them and protect their livelihood.”
Earlier this summer, a woman was charged with uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm after she was caught on CCTV video abusing a Calgary taxi driver.
Cameras will be installed in Edmonton Taxi Service Group’s more than 500 cabs over the next year.
Dashboard cameras are not mandatory in Edmonton cabs.