One taxi firm allows its drivers to handle a mobile phone only when the vehicle is parked
That's the message given to taxi drivers by passengers who fear being injured or even killed.
"Whenever you're in a cab, they're always on the phone," said a 65-year-old British engineer who did not wish to be named. "Every accident you see, you hear the screeching of tyres. It's always someone running up the back of another vehicle."
Last month, the man suffered a whiplash injury as a result of bad driving by a taxi driver.
"The driver that I was with was not doing anything wrong and this guy just ran up the back," said the engineer, who has lived in the country for six months. "All the guys I've worked with all had the same experience.
"The problem is they want to drive like
He wants to encourage the public to report these drivers for their own safety.
"As a passenger, I would tell the driver to stop using the phone because he's not concentrating," he said. "But if he doesn't, I would ring up the taxi company and say, 'Look, this guy is breaking the law'."
Peter D'Costa, 58, a merchandiser in
The penalty is Dh200 and four black points on the driver's licence.
Zain, a 29-year-old taxi driver from
"I know I'll get a fine if I'm caught using a phone so I use my headset," he said.
When Al Ghazal Taxi receives a complaint against a taxi driver for using a hand-held mobile phone while driving, it freezes the driver's taxi meter, calls him for an investigation and sends him for retraining, said
Drivers are prohibited from handling their mobiles while the vehicle is moving or at a standstill but not fully parked.
"The driver must sign a warning letter acknowledging it and promising not to attend to a phone call without a headset,"
Glenn Havinoviski, an
"However, any kind of phone conversation can be a distraction while driving, even with bluetooth," he said.
"Any kind of interface requiring a driver to read through a menu of commands or phone lists can also be a distraction. Voice commands are not always reliable either."
Research has shown that talking on the phone while driving has the same impact on attention as drinking alcohol, said Dr
"Drivers should not use the mobile phone at all while driving, especially taxi drivers, because they are not only risking their lives, but the lives of others as well," he said. "The public should also not accept the services of a taxi driver who talks on the phone."
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