VTD Message About Safety Cameras
Make sure your taxi safety camera is working
Like the taxi industry and the broader community, the
Victorian Taxi Directorate (VTD) was shocked and saddened by the
tragic death of cabbie Stephen Seymour.
Mr Seymour's death is an extreme example of the dangers that taxi
drivers face all too often, and focuses attention on what can be
done to keep drivers safe.
Safety cameras are one of the most important elements of driver
safety. Not only do they deter violence, they also assist Victoria
police identify and catch those responsible for attacks against
As you may have heard, the VTD was unable to view images of the
circumstances of Mr Seymour's death or the events leading up to
However, this was not due to the camera being damaged or destroyed
by the subsequent collision of the taxi into a power pole. The
camera in Mr Seymour's taxi survived the impact of the collision
and the subsequent fire which engulfed the vehicle. Images from the
new taxi cameras will survive such events.
The VTD was unable to recover crucial images because the camera
system ceased working some 12 hours before the incident when the
camera lost power. However, the VTD was able to recover images of
more than 72 hours of taxi operation up to the time the camera lost
Experts from the camera manufacturer, VerifEye, have confirmed that
the loss of power was the result of the failure of an individual
component within the camera system and was completely unrelated to
(and, in fact, occurred well before) the taxi collided with the
The implication of the loss of power on the camera unit was that
the red and green indicator lights were also without power and
therefore no indicator lights were showing at all. These indicator
lights are the fail safe mechanism which must be used by drivers
and operators to ensure that the camera is properly working.
It has been established that the camera was not working and the LED
indicators correctly displayed this status. Accordingly, we can
only conclude that this was either not picked up during the
inspection of the vehicle between shifts, or ignored.
This reinforces the need for drivers and operators to ensure their
safety camera is operating correctly at all times.
Checking whether your camera is working is easy: know where the
camera status indicator light is located (usually low on the dash
to the right of the steering column) and look for the green
If you can see a green flashing light, the camera is operating
correctly. If you see a red light or just as importantly, no light
at all, the camera is not working and you must not carry
This is true of every safety camera, in every taxi, at all
The VTD launched an inspection operation shortly after the incident
specifically targeting taxis fitted with the new cameras. More than
300 taxis have been checked so far. Every taxi that displayed a
green indicator light was found to be recording real time footage
at the time of the inspection.
A small number of taxis with the new camera (less than 3 per cent
of all cameras checked) where found to be not operating correctly
and in each case the cameras were either displaying a red light or
no lights at all.
It is illegal to operate a taxi fitted with a camera system that is
not fully functional. Fines and rectification notices have been
issued to those taxi operators found to have cameras not working
The VTD remains confident in the quality and reliability of the
next-generation (2009 specification) taxi safety camera systems
currently being installed in Victoria's taxi fleet.
Operators in metropolitan, outer suburban and urban taxi-cab zones
are reminded that the deadline for compliance with licence
conditions requiring the installation of next-generation taxi
safety cameras is 30 September 2012.
In country areas, operators are encouraged to install cameras to
provide a safer workplace for their drivers and taxi passengers. In
response to a recommendation by the Taxi Industry Inquiry, the VTD
will shortly commence a cost-benefit assessment on the mandatory
installation of safety cameras in country taxis operating in larger
cities and towns in regional Victoria.
For more information on taxi safety camera requirements, contact
on 1800 555 677.
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