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Are Las Vegas Taxicabs Sacrificing Safety?

As a resident of Las Vegas, you may not be inclined to hail a taxi as much as a tourist would. But there are some instances where Las Vegas taxicabs might be attractive, especially if you need a ride to McCarran Airport. You might also call a cab if you are having car problems or realize that you are intoxicated and should not be driving.

But here’s an important question: are Las Vegas taxi drivers sacrificing safety because of outside pressures?

An article this week in the Las Vegas Sun sheds some light on the life of a cabdriver in our city. Some cabdrivers who were interviewed for the article revealed that they felt a substantial amount of pressure to “make book.” That term is industry lingo for keeping one’s daily fare averages at or above management-designated levels. The drivers who were interviewed cited the vast competition for fares (there are over 2,200 registered Las Vegas taxicabs) as a major reason for the pressure they feel. They claim that a failure to make book results in fewer shifts, weekday hours only, or a less desirable vehicle.

In fact, some of them report adopting habits which reduce the level of safety on Las Vegas roads. The article implies that some Las Vegas cabdrivers are being more reckless than they normally would be. One cabdriver even admitted to not taking a meal break and eating lunch in his cab. Eating while driving is a behavior that has been recognized by experts as increasing the chances of being in an accident.

Though industry sources cited in the article denied that the drivers are being pressured to sacrifice safety or penalized for not making book, a great many Las Vegas taxi drivers reported a variety of questionable practices among their peers. It is also interesting to note that the article’s author originally was only seeking feedback about a national taxi service survey which portrayed Las Vegas taxicabs in a positive light. But even with that in mind, many of the Las Vegas taxi drivers refused to answer any questions about their work – and none of them wanted to be quoted by name in the story.

Exactly what are Las Vegas taxi drivers not telling us?