Taxis found to be three times safer than driving your own car

26 november 2018

Taxis have been found to be 3 times safer than driving your own car and the chance of ending up in a traffic accident is significantly lower when taking a taxi than when driving your own vehicle. Those are the conclusions drawn by the Analytical Center experts after they studied the condition of the taxi industry in Russia from the point of view of road safety.

The study cites data from 2015-2017 as well as the latest data for the first 9 months of 2018.

"In recent years, we have been seeing a lot of public interest in how safe taxis are. This correlates with an increase in the popularity of taxis among the Russian public as well as with an increase in the number of road accidents involving taxis. However, in order to systematically assess how often accidents involve taxis, the standard practice around the world is to use not only the total number of accidents involving taxis but also a number of other indicators such as the total number of vehicles on the road and how much they are used," said Deputy Head of the Analytical Center Svetlana Ganeeva. "For example, in recent years, in Russia, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of taxies, the average number of taxi licenses issued has been increasing at about 17% per year, the number of taxi drivers has doubled over the past 8 years, reaching 700,000 people. What's also needs to be taken into account is that the distances taxi drivers end up driving are several orders greater than for personal cars. When all these factors are taken into account, more effective measures can be implemented to improve the safety of this mode of transportation."

According to the analysts, when the probability of a road accident per 1 km driven is almost 2.6 times lower for taxis than for people driving their own vehicles. And the number of lethal road accidents per km is 4.7 times lower for taxis than for private vehicles.

The number of deaths per total number of road accidents is constantly decreasing for taxis. Thus, in 2015 lethal accidents made up 8.8% of the total, in 2016 their share dropped to 7.6%, and in 2017 it was already down to 6.2%, in the first 9 months of 2018 they only accounted for 5.7% of the total. Meanwhile, for private vehicles lethal accidents made up 13% of the total in 2015 and 11% for the 9 months of 2018. The average number of injuries per road accident for taxis is also falling.

The hypothesis that taxi drivers are no good at their job has been proven wrong. Insurance companies report that the percentage of accidents, in which the driver is to blame is roughly the same for taxi drivers as it is for the average owner of a passenger car even though, the average taxi driver in Russia drives almost 5 times as much as a private car owner. For this reason, the baseline driver liability insurance rate for taxis is only 1.5 that applied to private car owners. It can also be an indicator that insurance companies expect taxi drivers to be less reckless drivers than private car owners. 

Nevertheless, as taxis are becoming more and more popular as a mode of transport among the general public a systems-based approach is needed to ensure safety in them. According to the study, one of the key drivers behind the decline in the probability of road accidents involving taxis has been the acquisition of safer vehicle models. The analysts estimate that new car models are on average 34% safer than the current fleet. Other effective initiatives that could, in the opinion of the experts, reduce accidents could be the use of information technologies to strictly monitor the work time of the taxi drivers, the creation of a national database for taxi services aggregators, the introduction of telemedicine and others.