The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) which regulates Baltimore taxi companies has recently rejected a request by Baltimore Taxi Affiliation LLC which operates Baltimore City Taxi to amend the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) to allow the use of a security camera or partition in taxicabs.
Security cameras were first introduced in the U.S. as a safety feature in taxicabs in the late 1990’s.
COMAR 20.90.02.16L(1) states that, “a Baltimore city taxicab shall be equipped with a partition separating the driver from the backseat passenger compartment.” The security shield became mandatory in 1995.
Baltimore City Taxi argued that the partitions make the smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles too cramped and uncomfortable for taxicab drivers and security cameras provide just as a strong deterrent against crime.
Disadvantages of Partitions in Taxis
PSC staff stated the following were disadvantages for the use of security shields in taxis.
- Can be expensive to install.
- Do not fit well in vehicles that are not purpose-built.
- Limit interaction between driver and passengers.
- May interfere with heat and a/c circulation.
- Can lead to bodily injury during sudden stops to passengers not wearing a seat belt.
- Restrict leg room for both driver and passengers.
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