They are a way for people to go to hospitals, restaurants, airports and hotels. For Americans who do not have cars, taxi cabs are a way for people to get around. With over 13,000 of them, the city of New York employs more taxi cabs than any other city in America.
With that many people employed by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, following laws that protect themselves as well as other drivers and pedestrians is necessary for these workers. The state’s ban on phone use while driving to prevent car accidents continues to be an important law to follow.
As car accident lawyers, we know the risk of checking the latest text or email on your phone can be very distracting while engaging in a process like driving that is already complicated enough by itself.
In 1998, the New York times reported that injuries involving taxi cab accidents rose 59 percent from 1990-1996. While it is true that statistic was compiled over 10 years ago, it is still important to note the likelihood of a car accident if you use a taxi cab no matter the color: Yellow Cab, Orange Cab, etc.
In an attempt to keep that stat low, New York City cabbies have been banned from using cellphones for a decade, even with a hands-free device. The tough rules are still entirely unenforced. Authorities issued 232 summonses for cellphone use in yellow cabs during the first six months of this year compared to 411 in 2008.
The city began a sting operation last year called “Operation Secret Rider”, where inspectors posed as passengers to check on cabbies’ compliance with the rule. For one reporter who took 20 taxi rides at various times in Manhattan, more than one third of the drivers talked on the phone.
Cabbies say they do not mind hanging up if a passenger is bothered, unless there is an emergency. A single parent from Brooklyn said he uses his phone only to talk to his son and two daughters, and he pulls his cab over when they call.
As car accident lawyers, we discourage the use of cell phones by any drivers, especially drivers who are responsible for the health of passengers in their cars on a regular basis. We also believe police officials should do more to enforce the ban and prevent car accidents leading to injury and wrongful death.
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