While installing video cameras in taxicabs is nothing new for reality television producers – witness the voyeuristic Taxicab Confessions, and the downright delightful Cash Cab – hack drivers in Derry, Northern Ireland have gone high-tech for considerably more practical, and darker reasons.
Following an incident in which a drunken passenger attempted to grab the steering wheel while the car was in motion, one savvy Irish cabbie installed a closed circuit television system into his taxi. The move apparently paid off, as the driver in question was later attacked by another fare, and has successfully used footage from the camera to help prosecute his assailant.
Customer-on-cabbie violence isn't the only reason that some of Derry's largest taxi companies, along with many individual drivers, are going the CCTV route. After at least one failed accusation of rape last year, drivers believe that in-car cameras will give them evidence of professional behavior, as well as offering a higher sense of security to their female passengers.
Jarlath Malone, proprietor of Derry cab company Foyle Delta, said, "I know a lot of drivers who will not work at night because of fears of being attacked or robbed but the biggest fear they have is of being falsely accused of rape."