Iceland’s Taxi Drivers Fear for their Safety Skip to content

Iceland’s Taxi Drivers Fear for their Safety

A taxi driver in Reykjavík was attacked by a passenger on Wednesday night, who threatened him with a knife and demanded money. The driver suffered injuries to his face, but managed to fend the attacker off, who escaped in the end.

Police arrested the suspected attacker yesterday, Morgunbladid reports.

“He was sitting behind me and suddenly he was holding something in the air. I saw something glint and it was heading straight towards my eye,” said Rögnvaldur Ólafsson, who has been a taxi driver for 22 years.

Ólafsson said the attack had been entirely unprovoked. The passenger had seemed completely sane so he took Ólafsson by surprise when he suddenly demanded money from him. Ólafsson refused and then the man attacked without hesitation.

Ólafsson managed to deflect the jab, so the knife hit his eyebrow instead of his eye. He suffered a deep cut and the flow of blood disrupted his eyesight. The attacker then started beating the driver, who tried his best to defend himself, but as he was wearing his seatbelt his movements were hindered.

“After I managed to take off the belt I threw open the door. And then he ran. He had lost his courage,” Ólafsson said, adding the situation has declined rapidly in the last few years; taxi drivers are increasingly being attacked.

Ólafsson suggests safety equipment, like a glass wall between the driver and the passenger, be made standard to prevent attacks such as these.

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