Two youths have been arrested for the slaying of Christchurch taxi driver Abdulrahman Ikhtiari. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that this death, and attacks on other drivers, could have been prevented.
I heard drivers making all sorts of excuses for not installing perspex screens, or cameras in cars. The reality is that these foils work, and either reduce or eliminate attacks.
In Victoria, Australia, safety cameras in cabs are compulsory. This initiative was introduced in 2000 following comprehensive research that clearly showed that cameras were the most effective method to improve safety in taxis.
As well it is mandatory to have a polycarbonate protection screen fitted to a cab working between the hours of 10.00pm and 5.00am. The government will fund 50% of the cost of purchase and installation up to December 31 2008.
What are we doing here in New Zealand? Nothing.
We’re complaining that these initiatives cost too much, but at the expense of what? A man’s life, and potential income of those other drivers too scared to drive at night?
While some drivers complain, and the government does nothing, a widow and her five children are inconsolable in Christchurch. This is a family who have been through more than most, fleeing to New Zealand as refugees seeking a better life, only to be faced with immense loss and suffering.
The taxi company Mr Ikhtiari worked for has set up a trust fund for donations. You can donate here:
Rahman I Trust
ASB account 12 32400098055 00