The security of workers, including taxi drivers, during the course of their work is important and criminal behaviour should be reported to An Garda Síochána who have a range of powers to pursue such matters.
As the Deputy may be aware the regulation of the small public service vehicle (SPSV) industry – which comprises taxi, hackney, and limousine - is the responsibility of the National Transport Authority (NTA) under the provisions of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013. As my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, mentioned in a recent Topical Issue Debate in this House in May, all taxi drivers, as part of their initial training and preparation for examinations, are provided with the Official Manual for Operating within the SPSV Industry. This manual is produced by the National Transport Authority in consultation with the Garda Crime Prevention Unit and contains a chapter entitled Staying Safe. This chapter offers a range of information and suggestions on how to deal with difficult customers or dangerous situations.
The Deputy may be interested to know that the NTA undertook a public consultation a few years ago on the question of making safety equipment a mandatory requirement for taxis. Such equipment could include screens between the driver and passenger and closed circuit television cameras. I understand that the overwhelming response to this consultation was that such safety equipment should not be mandatory and should instead be left to the discretion of the individual driver.