Taxi Cab Camera Enforcement Delayed Again…

At last week’s City Council meeting, during Citizens’ Forum, we heard from cab drivers with concerns about the enforcement of a set of regulations passed in 2006, which Tacoma was set to begin enforcing this year. An update included in Thursday’s City Manager’s report says the City will delay enforcement while it meets with the cab drivers to discuss their concerns.

… Tax and License notified taxi cab owners and operators that the City has revisited the issue related to the digital camera requirements outlined in TMC 6B.220.425. Until further notice, the City’s August 2012 annual inspections of taxi cabs will not include an inspection of digital cameras. In addition, if owners/operators have already purchased/installed a camera, no inspection will be done on that equipment at this time. By delaying the requirement, staff will be able to meet with owners/operators and stakeholders to discuss recent or existing concems. Staff is in the process of developing a list of stakeholders and timeline for the engagement process.

The most prominent issue is the requirement that every cab have a digital camera, specifically concerns have been raised over the cost of buying and installing the technology, and over who has access to the footage.

The cab drivers want access to the footage, which under current law is only available to police. This limitation comes from an ACLU privacy challenge that forced similar limitations in Seattle. The other concern for drivers is the cost of the type of camera they are required to install.

Like other cities with similar requirements, Tacoma’s goal was to increase safety. The rules have been on the books for six years now. Why have these issues not been raised sooner?

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