Janet Lee

Janet Lee

Friday, May 22, 2015

Let us hope Mosby gets it right in Baltimore

For many years I have been collecting stories about police officers who brutalize prisoners a specific way. The prisoner is placed in the rear-right seat behind the part of the partition which is illegally made of steel grid. This grid works like a cheese grater on the prisoners' face when the brakes are applied hard. The cops call this "Waffling" the prisoner. I have spoken with many police officers about this practice. I have informed the FBI also. Mosby needs to understand that the 'conversion' to 'prisoner transport' vehicle involves illegal vehicle alterations. Like the partition in the cruiser, the surfaces inside the prisoner box are hard and unyielding. It is very easy to hurl the prisoner into the hard, illegal surfaces of the box's interior by applying the brakes hard. This is probably what caused Freddie Gray's fatal injury. George Patton was killed the exact same way hitting his head on a partition in a 1938 Cadillac. A shattered vertebrae did it. The FBI was curiously not impressed with the statistic involving officers being burned to death in their cruisers after a high speed rear end collision. 70 in ten years have been rendered unconscious by the illegal partition and as a result, stayed in the car as it becomes consumed by fire. This reckless manner of altering vehicles must end.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Baltimore, Mosby, Gray and Goodson

Baltimore is in a position to correct a nationwide problem.

Slamming the brakes, waffling, noodling, nor the 'rough ride'... may never end, unless prisoners are always restrained and all the vehicles' interiors are in compliance with federal standards.

Mosby needs to keep up this good fight to enhance prisoner safety, not just for the safety of prisoners alone. The sword cuts both ways. Scores of police officers have been victims of partition injury in rear end collisions, incinerated after being rendered unconscious by the partition hitting the back of the head, and died when the car caught fire.

Ask Jason Schecterle. A Phoenix AZ police officer. He was extracted by witnesses, while on fire, from a burning cruiser. He was unable to get out by himself, he was knocked out by the partition.

Gray needs justice. Try and convict the guilty driver and others.

Goodson needs to be sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Another doctor alarmed about partition dangers, but still dumb or apathetic enough to still ride in partitioned cabs!!!

Huffington Post;
Riding in a taxi without a seat belt isn't just a big city public health problem. Thanks to the popularity of car-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, everyone's sliding into the backseat of a cab these days.
(Maybe, if you want to call Uber and Lyft cars, cabs.)
In private cars, you know to buckle up. And you're not alone: 87 percent of Americans use a seat belt, according to the latest national survey from the Department of Transportation.
Paradoxically, that changes the minute a car is driven by a stranger: According to a 2014 New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission survey, 57 percent of taxi passengers don't buckle up without prompting. What's more, 46 percent of passengers who don’t wear a seat belt in taxis do wear one when riding in private cars. Lyft doesn't collect seat belt data and Uber didn't respond to requests for comment, but if the New York taxi survey is any indication, this is a widespread car safety issue.
Ozlem Simsekoglu, an assistant professor who specializes in traffic and social psychology at the Izmir University of Economics in Turkey, said taxi passengers may correlate taxi drivers' long hours behind the wheel with better driving skills and assume that the probability of an accident is very low -- especially if the passenger is only traveling a short distance.
In reality, riding in a cab without a seat belt is dangerous. Though a 2004 study found that New York City taxis had a lower rate of accidents than private cars, even a simple fender bender can cause grievous facial injuries to unbuckled passengers, who can slam into the taxi partition face first if they aren’t held back by a seat belt.
(Now let's skip right by the partition dangers and put the onus of responsibility on the unbuckled occupant. Livery cars, generally, don't have partitions AFAIK)
And the danger doesn't end there: CBS News correspondent Bob Simon was killed in a livery cab crash in Manhattan in February, only two years after the deaths of two newlyweds in a livery cab crash in Brooklyn.
(More on partition dangers.)
Matthew White, M.D., director of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology at NYU Langone Medical Center, has treated a number of patients who suffered facial trauma from taxi accidents. He says the injury is common at NYU Langone and Bellevue Hospital.
“It’s devastating for patients,” White says. “The momentum of the force [of the crash] carries the passenger forward into the acrylic glass and slams their face right into it. There is a lot of bone trauma, so facial fractures -- things like nose fractures, cheek fractures or what we call the tripod fracture,” he added, referring to an injury that breaks the bones that support the face.
Though the resulting injuries can be grisly (one New York City woman needed 50 stitches after a 2012 crash according to White, they are extremely preventable. “The very act of wearing your seat belt to prevent that forward momentum and the individual’s face hitting the acrylic glass is enough,” White says.
(Dr. Matthew White is oblivious to the partition's illegality, apparently.)
Does White follow his own advice? Absolutely. “Every time I get a cab I think of some of my facial-trauma patients. There have been so many times when I’ve gotten in a cab, and I have a Starbucks coffee, and I’m in a hurry and I’m like “Ugh, I don’t have time for this. But every time, I stop [and do it].”
(I can't believe he still chooses cabs with partitions after all.)
(This sheet keeps flying below the radar. What the fudge is the persistant resistance to correcting partition flaws, by bring them into compliance with existing federal law?)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sage of the Taxi Industry


By Don McCurdy
Won’t happen here.
Senator Antonio Navarro Wolff, of the South American country Columbia, took advantage of the latest legislative break to learn more about the taxicab industry. He is reported to have done this by getting up at 3:55am and driving a taxicab all day.
The 67 year old senator said that the best way to learn about an industry’s needs is to actually do the job. Say what? I guess being the ruling class in Columbia is way different than being in the ruling class here in the United States. Our ruling class won’t even ride in a taxicab let alone drive one.
Imagine, if you possibly can, taxicab regulators throughout the land having to go out and drive a taxicab under the rules they propose. What a great reality show that would be. Let’s see the regulator who wrote the refusal to convey statute pick up a couple of thug dressed young men on a dimly lit street at 3 am. “Wet cleanup, aisle 3 please.”
I sometimes wonder if it’s just ignorance of the dangers, stupidity or political correctness? Well, okay, political correctness and stupidity are pretty much the same thing. Taxicab drivers, with the usual few exceptions, are looking for a reason to pick you up rather than not, so when you look dangerous you have made it to the not list. Since these decisions are life and death for the driver it leads one to wonder what the regulators’ priorities are.

Now, there’s a plan.
Reports from Chicago are that taxicab drivers are driving through the loop and not picking up passengers to protest UberX and other “ride share” services. Yeah, that’ll teach ‘em! Excuse me, what? What dope thought up this plan?
Let me see if I understand. I’m going to stiff the people that use my service because other people stopped using my service? That’s good stuff. The one thing I’ve always liked about the taxicab industry is that you never have to make up stories, they come bizarre ready. This one fits right in.
I wonder if the next clever step is to drop the phone number of UberX off to people who attempt to flag you down? That would make just as much sense. Let’s fight fire with gasoline and get this sucker burned down in a hurry.
Okay, how about this instead: dress professionally, keep your vehicle immaculate inside and out, drive like a professional, stay off the phone, converse with your passengers, open their door and in general act in a manner that projects you as a business professional instead of a whining malcontent.
Pouting and having a fit isn’t going to endear the public to your plight. Uber, UberX and various other “ride share” companies have brought something to the taxicab industry that it has been missing for decades, competition. Perhaps, you should step up or step out. Try to think about what makes you better and what will inspire riders to call you.

Level the field.
Des Moines, Iowa is reported to be altering their ground transportation ordinance to accommodate Uber and the taxicab companies under the same set of rules. While there are some bugs to be worked out, they appear to grasp the concept of everybody working under the same set of rules.
One of the reported sticking points is the usual cover all neighborhoods rules that politicians like to impose on unarmed cash machines, the taxi driver. They’re busy trying to figure out if they can make Uber take cash. Well, of all of the attractions Uber brings to the table, no cash on board is one of the most important.
You cannot read the taxi news in the country without reading of robberies, shootings, knifings and all other manner of chicanery against taxicab drivers. Getting the cash out of the car will improve the taxicab driver’s lot in several ways.
First, there will be no impetus to rob the driver, eliminating the vast majority of violent situations. With a credit or debit card required to order a vehicle there will be no fare jumpers eliminating another losing situation for the taxicab driver.
While there will be those who bemoan the poor people not being able to pay cash is some sort of discrimination, the murder of taxicab drivers across this land is not conceptual, it’s real. Violence against drivers continues to be the insurmountable problem which upfront payment could minimize.
If the city is concerned about cash customers they can always sell taxi cards that allow for the city to subsidize poor riders and keep track of who is riding with vulnerable taxicab drivers.
Compelling Uber to accept cash would be a major loss of an opportunity to make taxicab driving safer. Compelling drivers to accept cash and work dangerous areas has been getting them killed for decades. Let’s hope the wise leaders of Des Moines don’t squander this opportunity to improve a driver’s lot.

Johnny Cab on the way.
According to reports, Uber and Google are both on the trail of driverless vehicles. Google is reported to be a major investor in Uber and is also reported to have developed its own ride share app. Imagine what Google or Uber could do with a fleet of driverless cars hauling customers with no percentage to be
squandered on dead weight driving up fuel costs. Driverless cabs would certainly not be a jobs program.

Just my point.
Any casual reader of this column knows my thoughts on government over regulation of the taxicab industry. Uber has pointed that out somewhat by entering most markets claiming they are not what they appear to be.
All that aside, the example of reported “state registration” of taxicab meters in Patterson New Jersey is a clear example of regulation that may once have been necessary but now no longer is.
Like a lot of government programs, the state taximeter inspection has outlived its useful life but lives on because nobody cares to dispose of it. According to reports, all of the Patterson’s taxicabs have been inspected, including the meters, by the city but do not have “state registration.”
Testing and sealing a taxicab meter is a fairly simple operation and can be done at any company willing to do it. Since the state nor the city has any idea who is supposed to be doing the registering it would seem that the law is of little value. I wonder if they will figure out who levies the fines for non-compliance? That sounds doable.

Uptown taxi baron reportedly struggling.
A medallion owner in New York City’s yellow cab market is reportedly struggling due to Uber stealing his drivers. The “taxi kingpin” reportedly owns 900 medallions and is in dire straits because he’s having a problem leasing out his vehicles.
Now, I don’t know this guy, but it would seem to me that if you owned 900 medallions for any length of time you’d have a couple of bucks put away for potential problems. Even at the super low price of $800,000 each that’s still a sizable chunk of change in assets.
The bank is suing with the usual he said she said claims of payment dodging and hidden agendas. At the rate of decline in the value of NYC medallions the bank had best hurry if they’re going to get what funds are owed against the medallions. No doubt a boon for lawyers in the making.

If you have any comments regarding this or any of my articles please feel free to contact me at don@mcacres.com. —dmc

O'Rielly and Dugard indicate they have a flawed view of the physics involving airborne human bodies.

"Killing Patton" by Bill O'Reilly, pps. 302 - 303
PFC Horace Woodring, for all his years behind the wheel, cannot avoid the collision. He slams hard on the brakes bracing for impact, and grips the steering wheel tightly with two hands. "He just turned into my car." Woodring will later tell the military police, who will soon evaluate the evidence and conclude that the collision was simply an accident. "I saw him in time to hit my brakes, but not in time to do anything else. I was not more than 20 feet from him, when he began to turn."
In the truck, SGT. Robert Thompson makes no attempt to brake. Instead he steps on the gas.
As the trucks' front bumper crashes into the Cadillac, Woodring hears the thump of fl;ying bodies into the compartment behind him. General Gay, remembering that the best way to avoid injury when falling from a horse is to completely relax his body, does just that. He falls to the floor behind Woodring, uninjured.
In the right (side) back seat, George Patton is thrown forward, his head slamming violently into THE STEEL PARTITION between Woodrings' driver compartment and the backseat. His nose breaks. He feels a sharp pain in the back of his neck, but no sensation in his lower body. Instantly, George Patton knows he is paralyzed.
Ever the leader, Patton immediately checks on his men. "Is anyone hurt?"
After being assured that Gay and Woodring are fine, Patton says in a weak voice, "I believe I am paralyzed."

The idea that the speed and or trajectory, relative to the interior of a suddenly stopped vehicle, of human bodies would somehow vary... is absurd. 

Imagine a tennis ball and a bowling ball in place of human bodies. When the compartment changes from going as slow as ten MPH to zero MPH instantly... both balls hit the partition at the same time, in the same straight line.

A source I cannot recall, said, he hit his head on the big clock mounted in the middle of the back side of the partition. That indicates to me that Patton, seated on the right rear position, flew as could be predicted, at an angle that would have impact with the centrally located clock. This also indicates that General Gay probably slumped along the door, stopping at the partition. Much different outcomes due to the different trajectories. Flying unobstructed, directly into partition hazards, is different than hitting the door, then the partition.

Friday, October 31, 2014

New Phone Number

774 216 1735 to reach Steve Crowell 

Friday, October 10, 2014

1984 NY Times newspaper article

This 1984 NY Times newspaper article waxes nostalgic about the old Checker taxis. the article below, published online in 2005, gave a hint about what would become "The Taxi of Tomorrow" project currently underway.
It is interesting, I have been challenging the NYCT&LC assertion/lie that the partition mandate was first implemented in 1995. It has been in effect since 1969. This 1985 article is proof that partitions predate the asserted 1996 start date.
The reason the NYCT&LC lies about the start date is because in the mid 1990's many things changed in NYC dealing with quality of life issues. Partitions were not new then.
The writer says; "You give no thought to the chasm between you and the Checker's signature "Life-Guard" metal and plexiglass partition."
The partition is the reason Checker is out of business. A "Lifeguard" partition , as produced and installed was bound to fail. It did. ALWAYS. No lives were saved. Checker, as a car manufacturer, failed shortly after introducing the "Lifeguard" partition.
The partition is the reason people in the rear seats have been killed and brain damaged in front end collisions.
The partition is the reason people in the front have been killed and brain damaged in rear end collisions.
The partition is the reason there is no leg room in the back seat.
The partition is the reason most robberies are done with a gun now.
The partition is the reason knives are much less viable.
The partition is the reason drivers are told they are 'protected', and therefor have no need to excercise any discretionary latitude about whom they convey.
The partition is the reason drivers are told they have no need for a gun nor should they have any right to have a gun in the taxi.

Many cities that have implemented partition requirements, have since, abandoned them. Not Boston, NYC or Philadelphia, though.

NYC is convinced that they need one iconic vehicle as their only permitted model. Judges have repeatedly denied TLC claims and initiatives.

By Steve Crowell
and now
Published: December 18, 2005
NEW YORK, Dec. 18, 1984 - You're late. The Checker cab you hail lurches to the curb, brakes squealing like a throttled pullet. You reach for the trademark stripe of black-and-white checkers on its yellow doors and climb in. Slamming the door shut makes a bucket-of-bolts clatter that goes on like an echo in a box canyon. The back seat is way back there, a short stroll from the door. You pass the two "jump seats," folded into the floor. They look ravaged, though rarely have you seen them used.
Enlarge This Image
Bob Brunner/Pentagram Design
BLACK AND WHITE AND RODE ALL OVER A Checker-like design in a 2005 show at the Parsons school.
Maybe it was a 60's thing.
You slump down on the broad, featureless back seat and worry. (You're still late.) You give no thought to the chasm between you and the Checker's signature "Life-Guard" metal and plexiglass partition. It's there for the driver's protection, not yours. And no recorded message from Al Jolson implores you to fasten your seat belt. What seat belt? In a violent stop, you'll reach peak velocity just as you meet the "Life-Guard" partition, teeth first.
And yet, and yet. ... For nearly 50 years, since 1956, the Checker Marathon cab has been a New York emblem. It hasn't rumbled down the city's streets for years, yet its hallmark checker motif still looms large at an exhibition on the New York cab of the future, being held through Jan. 15 at Parsons the New School of Design.
Why such staying power in New York memories? The Checker cab was as New York as Fiorello La Guardia's grin. Sure, there were a few Checkers plying the streets of Chicago and other cities aspiring to greatness - but who asked? Before the Checker, various humdrum 50's family sedans - Chevrolet Delrays, Plymouth Savoys and such - were auditioned, but they were no match for Manhattan's rugged realities. New York demanded a taxi that was nothing but a taxi, a taxi built like a Walker Bulldog medium tank. The Checker made its debut, and it was love at first bounce.
As if to underscore its unique suitability, the Checker looked like no other vehicle, and Detroit's automakers worked hard to keep it that way. It had four headlamps and a big, gaping chrome grille like a frozen automotive rendering of "The Scream." It functioned differently, too, sending a simple message: "I carry five fares - no other cab can. Period." If you numbered fewer than five (and you did), a Checker offered vast room to rattle around in, its suspension banging and slamming, taking note of every pavement paint stripe, pebble and pothole along the way.
To gentle souls from Topeka, this all sounds awful. Yet I, like many New Yorkers, would give anything for one more full-throttle Checker cab ramble up Madison Avenue, clattering around the back like a ball bearing in a blender.
That's impossible, of course. Six years ago today, on Dec. 18, 1999, the last Checker to give a rider a Manhattan tumble was sold in an auction at Sotheby's. That final Checker cab, owned by Earl Johnson since 1978, had logged 994,050 New York miles, about 40 times around the world. The cab was auctioned for $134,500. Mr. Johnson, who remembered paying $9,000 for it new, retired to Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Depending on the state of New York City's finances, the fate of a taxicab here could be cruel. In the near-bankrupt 70's, a drive down pockmarked Second Avenue was like driving down the Grand Canyon. By comparison, today's playing surface is bowling-alley smooth. Nonetheless, since 1956, feast or famine, the beloved Checker cab had taken every blow New York dealt - and delivered it straight to the consumer.
It took a very special vehicle to approach one million New York miles. That gritty vehicle arose from decades of trial, error and worse. The man most responsible was a Russian immigrant, Morris Markin, of Smolensk. He arrived in the United States in 1913 with $2 in his pocket. The urban taxicab business was in its infancy when Mr. Markin settled in Chicago. By 1922, somewhat miraculously, he owned the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company. Taxi wars eliminated company after company, and when the dust settled, Checker emerged with only one major competitor, Yellow Cab of Chicago, owned by John Hertz. Yes, that Hertz.
In 1923, Mr. Markin moved Checker taxi construction to Kalamazoo, Mich. At the time, 600 Checkers were on New York streets. In 1930, Checker introduced its eye-catching Series "M" cab, boasting flashy flared fenders, a high, narrow grille, rectangular headlights, wheel covers that were smooth cones - and rear seat cushions filled with down!
Each time a fare got out, the driver reached back with a special paddle to fluff up the down for arriving nobility.
During the Depression, Mr. Markin lost, then regained control of Checker. Business improved gradually. By the late 30's, 18,000 Checkers were plying the nation's biggest cities. Along the way, Mr. Markin brought all nine of his brothers and sisters from Russia to America.
During World War II, Checker patriotically and profitably built trailers and troop-truck cabs for Ford.
But on Jan. 26, 1956, New York met the first Checker "A8," the taxi we all loved. At 200 inches long, it was more compact than the 224-inch cabs in use, yet it was vastly more spacious. Checker production hovered at 4,500 to 6,500 cars a year through the 60's and 70's. Various engines by Continental, Chevrolet and Chrysler were used. The general public could buy its own version of the Checker, called the Superba, which in 1961 was renamed the Marathon. In 1963, ambitious Checker announced a luxury Town Custom Limousine, with all power accessories and a partitioned driver compartment. Never hurts to try.
Still, the rugged-riding Checker compared poorly with softer passenger cars. New Yorkers knew it had only one role, as the best taxicab in the world.
Things went swimmingly until the 70's. Very suddenly, serious gas crises made smaller cars with more economical engines attractive, especially if a threatened gas-guzzler tax took effect. And the Checker's toughness had always made it more expensive than other taxis. The graffiti was on the wall. The end was nigh.
The last Checker was built on July 13, 1982. By 1993, only 10 New York Checkers remained. And in these waning years, if you saw a Checker with its hood up - you might - you'd see a length of chain holding the front fenders together. After several hundred thousand miles, Checkers went a bit bow-legged.
It was the end of an era. Gone was the practice of wearing your hat in a cab. (What's a hat?) Bid farewell to the five-on-a-fare undergrad rides to the Village. Say goodbye to taxicabs with room for strollers in back and taxicabs with kids fighting to sit on the jump seats. The Checker dwindled. Dwindled. And then there were none.