Spring 2002, p.9

Mellowing the Yellow
T.A. Makes Safety Recommendations to the TLC

Read the latest news on this issue.

T.A. has long sought to improve the safety of cabs around pedestrians and bicyclists. And, though accident and fatality rates have fallen in the last few years, there is still much room for improvement; in 1999, 1,485 pedestrians and 632 bicyclists were injured in taxi/livery crashes. Moreover, cabs set the tone on the street.

Recently, T.A. met with Matthew Daus, the Commissioner of the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), to propose a number of ideas aimed at making cabs safer around bicyclists and pedestrians. Below are T.A.'s specific recommendations.

Vehicle Design--Anti-Speeding

  • Speed Governor triggers prominent lights outside and inside the cab when the driver is speeding. The device must be disengaged to reach speeds higher than 30 mph
  • Speed Recorders measures and records speeds on a chip and can be compared with trip logs

Vehicle Design--Anti-Dooring

  • Choose a next-generation cab with sliding doors
  • Install automatic locks on street side passenger door
  • Install driver-activated illuminated sign inside passenger cabin directing passengers to exit on the curb side

Vehicle Design--Minimize Impact of Collisions

  • Ban deadly "bull bars" (a.k.a. "push" or "crash" bars) from the front end of cabs
  • Choose a next-generation cab with a low, sloping front-end to minimize the impact to the pedestrian or bicyclist in a crash

Education--Passengers

Redesign the Passenger Information Sticker to make safety your top priority. The current sticker places the right to safe driving at the same level as the right to air conditioning. A new sticker should emphasize two important messages:

  • The speed limit in NYC is 30 mph. Remind your diver that you tip for safety.
  • Exit on curbside-look for bicycles and cars before opening door.

Education--Drivers

Emphasize four basic safety messages to drivers in their training curriculum, written and road tests and on their dashboard sticker.

  • The speed limit is 30mph. Obey it!
  • Pedestrians and bicyclists always have the right of way.
  • Discharge passengers on curb side only. Always pull
    to curb.
  • Always use a turn signal.

Enforcement

  • Expand the Critical Driver Program to include crash records so that you will be able to suspend drivers for being involved in crashes that injure cyclists or pedestrians. For example, a driver with two or more crashes involving injury or collisions with bicyclists or pedestrians at any time within a three year period should be suspended for one year. After three or more similar violations, the driver's license should be revoked.
  • The police should begin using undercover, safety enforcement agents in periodic crackdowns on speeding, illegal lane changes, reckless driving and failure to pull to the curb to discharge passengers. Though this would require the agents to pay fares, this expense will be regained through deterrence of traffic violations and could be covered by federal and state traffic safety grants.

T.A. looks forward to working with the TLC to implement these important safety measures.