'Taxi drivers literally drive until they drop and are at the mercy of bosses'

Occupational therapist Lee Randall has a doctorate in road safety and has placed a focus on the taxi industry, as a result of treating patients who have been injured in a taxi accident.

Looking at the taxi drivers and their working conditions, she interviewed a sample of 50 drivers at 20 taxi ranks across Johannesburg.

Randall shares more on her research and some of the points she has drawn from her PHD.

A very high proportion had experienced at least one injurious crash and a large proportion had experienced one, if not more than one. The vast majority of them expressed concern about road safety and about taxi crashes and what I was asking them to do is to unpack their reasoning processes about what is causing the situation and who and what should try and reduce it.

Lee Randall, Occupational therapist

A lot of them acknowledge the lawless behaviour on the part of drivers as being a contributing factor to crashes.

Lee Randall, Occupational therapist

Describing their working conditions, Randall says long hours and fatigue play a role in the cause of accidents.

There is plenty of international research into simply the impact of fatigue. Add alcohol and nyaope and a whole range of other factors and you are very likely to have an impaired driver at the wheel.

Lee Randall, Occupational therapist

We can round it off to about 15 hours a day and the vast majority of the drivers are driving at least six days of the week if not seven. Their pay, such as it is, does not recognise overtime, a night shift allowance danger pay or any of those sorts of things; nor do they have sick leave or paid annual leave.

Lee Randall, Occupational therapist

They literally drive till they drop. What one driver said during his interview was that he almost looks forward to the vehicle breaking down because then he is allowed some time off.

Lee Randall, Occupational therapist

Randall adds that there is a lack of job security in the industry.

A lot of the drivers are young, the work conditions are so tough that people don't tend to last terribly long in that career. Either they die or one of the drivers said if you complain about anything, the owner simply takes the keys away.

Lee Randall, Occupational therapist

The unemployment queue is so massive and the barriers to entry are so low.

Lee Randall, Occupational therapist

Click on the link below to hear the full conversation...


This article first appeared on 702 : 'Taxi drivers literally drive until they drop and are at the mercy of bosses'


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