Clearwater taxi service owner says profession is safe, despite c - WFLA News Channel 8

Clearwater taxi service owner says profession is safe, despite crimes

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Allen Weatherilt, owner of United Taxi Allen Weatherilt, owner of United Taxi
Chris Rhubottom, operations manager for United Taxi Chris Rhubottom, operations manager for United Taxi
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL - Despite recent crimes targeting cab drivers, Allen Weatherilt feels the profession is a safe one.

Related content: Cab driver found dead in car in Tampa


Weatherilt is the general manager of United Taxi in Clearwater and has been a driver and manager for 50 years.

"I feel like it's a very, very safe business, but there's always the situation," said Weatherilt.  "Just like, I had a friend with Florida Power at the time and he asked me that question, and I responded to him, well, how many of your line men have been electrocuted. He said, we're not going to talk about that any more."

United Taxi installs cameras in each of its cabs with the goal of keeping drivers and passengers safe.

Related content:  Cab driver shot during Tampa armed robbery

"It works twofold," said United's operations manager Chris Rhubottom.  "One you can press panic by pressing the red indicator right under the light, and that'll automatically trigger it. You can push your meter on, meter off so if you stop to pick up an individual it activates the camera."

The cameras are also activated if the detects a sudden movement, such as a crash.


Related content:  Cab driver injured in shooting faces eviction

Weatherilt says he encourages drivers to use their judgement when it comes to picking up fares. If it doesn't seem right, he says, don't do it. He says he considers the entire cab driving community as a family, so when a driver is injured or killed while doing his or her job, it has a chilling effect on the business.

"Every time something like this happens to someone in my family, every taxi cab driver in the business is part of my family, it hits home. It's hard, you know. I've tried to do everything I can to create a safe working environment here, with our company and it's just never enough," said Weatherilt.

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