Cabdrivers are demanding stricter safety measures and stringent enforcement mechanisms for attacks against cabdrivers after another driver was brutally attacked in late January.
Drivers are calling for the placement of driver safety placards in all City of Chicago cabs and demanding that offenders be charged with a felony, as required by Illinois law. According to recent studies, taxi drivers are the highest risk of workplace violence of any profession which does not necessitate the use of weapons.
According to cabdriver advocacy United Taxidrivers Community Council (UTCC), cabdrivers are most often attacked “simply because the attackers know they can easily get away with it.”
The attack on Walid Ziada, a Chicago cabdriver who was one of the complimented drivers in the taxi industry according to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (DBACP), has once again brought to light the growing number of violent crimes against cabdrivers.
Mr. Ziada was working late one night and pulled over for what he thought were customers who attacked him resulting in a fracture. One of the attackers was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor while the other attacker still remains at large. Illinois statue states that “Battery of an on-duty taxi driver is a Class 3 felony, punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment” (720 ILCS 5/12, 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1).
“I want to make sure this never happens again….” The UTCC has re-launched its driver safety campaign after the attack on Mr. Ziada and has resolved to ensure driver safety. One of the demands that the group has put forth is for the State’s Attorney’s Office to upgrade the charges against Mr. Ziada’s attackers to a felony.
The group is engaging in meetings with City Council members to find methods to decrease violent crimes against cabdrivers in their respective wards. It is also calling on City of Chicago Aldermen to sign the “Not in My Ward” pledge where the Alderdmen commit to eliminating violence against drivers in their areas.
UTCC is also calling on all cabdrivers who are survivors of violent crimes, know individuals who have been attacked or are personally affected by it to step forward and speak out against crimes that have taken the lives so many drivers.