According to the 2014 New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Taxicab fact book, there are 485,000 taxi cab trips per day, by over 50,000 drivers. Drivers can either own the taxi cab, or lease one for a set period of time. The TLC inspects all regulated taxi cabs three times per year in its inspection center located in Queens. The purpose of the inspections are to make sure the vehicles are safe and meet the emissions standards.
In addition to inspections, there are other rules and regulations to prevent injuries to passengers, other vehicles, and pedestrians. One rule from 1990, aims to decrease driver fatigue and slower reaction times stemming from being tired. The rule states that drivers are not allowed to drive for more than 12 consecutive hours. The goal of this rule is to prevent fatal accidents, such as the November 2015 crash where a New York City taxi driver, who allegedly had been driving for more than 15 hours, ran into a pedestrian and killed them. The driver stated that he was not tired at the time of the accident, and had taken breaks throughout the day.
Through the City’s Vision Zero program, the goal is to eliminate traffic fatalities. As part of the program, City taxi regulators are also looking for ways to improve the taxi cab service industry by reviewing data and current rules and regulations. One focus may be how long taxi cab shifts are, and how much of a rest period is required between longer driving shifts.
The 1990 rule is also under the magnifying glass. Although this rule is on the books, there is no evidence, according to a taxi commission spokesman, that the rule has ever been enforced. No current or previous summons for violating the limit on consecutive driving hours could be found. Without enforcement, drivers are not likely to adhere to the rule. With more competition from the newer app-driven car services, drivers of yellow cabs are extending their driving hours to make up for the reduced business. By example, one driver has even increased his typically 9 hour days to 12 hour days in order to make the same amount of income.
Efforts to improve New York City traffic safety is an ongoing process. Regardless, auto accidents are an unfortunate reality for too many people. If you have been in a car accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a personal injury attorney who can best advise you of your legal remedies and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP at (212) 571-7171.