Thursday, November 20, 2008

Update from Roy Ambury

At the November 19, 2008 Commission meeting, which could not happen because too few Commissioners were present, we discussed charges for failing to wear a seat belt.
I haven’t covered this for a while, and some changes have occurred, so here goes.
What may taxi owners and drivers do that most car owners and drivers may not do?

* Taxi owners may remove the shoulder-belt portion of the seat belt and the middle seat belt in the front seat of the vehicle. [Reg. 613, s. 7(1), paras. A and b.]

* The driver of taxi may choose not to wear the seat belt at all if he has a paying passenger in the taxi. [Reg. 613, s. 7(3)]

* The driver of taxi is not responsible for assuring that a child up to grade school age is wearing appropriate seat belts or is in a child seat EXCEPT when carrying a child to and from school under contract with a school board or other authority in charge of a school for the transportation of children. [Reg. 613, s. 8(1) and (2)]

For the exact words of the law of Ontario, I have extracted the following from Highway Traffic Act, Revised Statutes of Ontario 1990, CHAPTER H.8 and Highway Traffic Act Revised Regulations of Ontario 1990, Regulation 613, Amended to O. Reg. 522/06. Click here to view the entire document.

In the interests of brevity, I have deleted portions which are not germane to this topic. For clarity, I have added underline to section headings.
My source is:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Steer toward taxi safety

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Website


Members of Kingston's taxi commission should browse the Internet and log on to It's worth their time and trouble, especially after last weekend's close encounter between a cab driver and a pocket knife.

Just hours after the Bob Dylan concert let out at the downtown K-Rock Centre, an intoxicated passenger riding in a Kingston cab pulled out a knife and threatened repeatedly to "poke" the driver. He also made insulting remarks about the driver's mother, but verbal abuse is considered part and parcel of a cabbie's lot.

Nevertheless, the driver was lucky and escaped without injury. So was another cab driver who had a knife pulled on him in the Bath Road and Queen Mary Road area two weeks ago. That incident erupted over a cigarette.

These were two very close calls - and the excuse the commission needs to revisit the issue of taxi safety in Kingston.

The website is a good place to start. Founded in 1999 by a former industry regulator from Winnipeg, the website serves as an information resource for the taxi industry and an online memorial to the 1,821 cab drivers who have been murdered on the job since 1917.

The site is reminiscent of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D. C. Like that famous stone wall, the website lists every victim of senseless cabbie violence by name. There's also a special section devoted to the Canadian slaughter: 170 cab driver homicides and counting.

A glance at the listings tells us right away that Kingston is better off than many Canadian cities. Miraculously, we have only one entry, but it's still fresh in the hearts and minds of many Kingston residents. David Krick, a 50-year-old Amey's driver, was stabbed to death by a fare he picked up on Father's Day in 2007.

Following Krick's cold-blooded killing, the Kingston taxi commission was under public pressure to review its safety protocols. At the time, Kingston cabs were not required to carry any equipment to protect the drivers; more than a year later they still aren't.

Some cabs have panic buttons that allow drivers to quickly signal an emergency to a dispatcher (the driver involved in Sunday's "poking" activated his emergency button but only after the passenger jumped out of the car). Most cabs are also equipped with GPS systems, which track a car's movement and speed.

After a six-month study, the commission concluded the installation of safety equipment in cabs - such as shields and cameras - should be voluntary. It found little support for mandatory safety equipment in cabs.

But commission chairman Ken Matthews left the door open to revisit taxi safety in six months' time.

That was 11 months ago.

Driving a cab in Canada is no safer than it was when Krick was killed. It's still a risky occupation and more dangerous than policing.

In the wake of Krick's death, the only tangible change made by Kingston's taxi regulators was to make driver education mandatory. That means drivers have to watch a safety video and review a booklet before their license is renewed.

There have been several violent attacks on Kingston cabbies since Krick died. Last weekend's attack was not unusual. The local taxi commission should be doing everything it can to ensure that Kingston continues to occupy only one line on

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Taxi commission must do more to protect cab drivers


Monday, November 17, 2008

Man charged after city cab driver threatened

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Website

A 23-year-old Kingston man faces charges after he pulled a knife on a cab driver early yesterday morning.

Kingston Police said the cab driver was not injured in the incident.

Police said the driver, a 20-year veteran, picked up two men in the Hub around 1:20 a. m. yesterday. The men directed the cab driver to take them to a home in the west end near Bayridge Drive and Front Road.

Along the way, the two men, who were intoxicated, police said, began to argue with one another about whether they should head home or head to Denny's restaurant for a bite to eat.

They also argued with the cab driver about the route he was taking to the west end, police said.

Finally, the two men decided to go to Denny's in the RioCan Centre on Gardiners Road.

The restaurant is open 24 hours a day. The cab driver changed directions and started heading to the new destination, and, again, the 23-year-old was rude to the driver, police said.

It was at this point in the ride that the passenger made a derogatory remark about the driver's mother. Police said the man called the cab driver's mother "a filthy wh---."

The cab driver had had enough. He pulled the car over at Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard and MacPherson Avenue and ordered the men out of the car.

The location is the same one where police recovered the car of driver David Krick, who was killed on Father's Day in 2007.

The driver told the men there was no charge for the ride, but they had to get out of the vehicle.

Police said one of the passengers pulled a knife on the cab driver and made a jabbing motion toward him.

"You don't want to get poked, do you?" the man allegedly told the cab driver as he held the knife, which police later seized and described as a key-chain- sized jackknife.

The cab driver put up his hands, replied that he didn't want to "get poked." The man made the jabbing motion one more time, police said, and then exited the vehicle.

The cab driver, police said, pushed the emergency button in his car and locked the doors to his vehicle.

Another driver came by, responding to the emergency signal. The two drivers watched the two men and waited for police to arrive.

Officers arrived a short time later and arrested the men. Only one faces charges.

The 23-year-old faces one charge each of having a weapon dangerous to the public peace, uttering threats to cause death and assault with a weapon. Police said the man has no criminal record.

Police wouldn't release the company the taxi driver was with.

The incident was the second one this month. On Nov. 5, a man pulled a knife on a cab driver over a cigarette.

The driver was not injured in the incident near Bath and Queen Mary roads.