Saturday, January 23, 2016

Crash Testing Taxi Partitions by car makers

The NYC TL&C is conspicuous in not naming the particular testing facility to do the testing. They DO specify that the CAR MAKER is to test the car after alteration by a third party (the partition maker).
Early test results have been the reason for postponing the deadline for 'crash testing' from 2/3/2014 then to 2015 and now to December 2016. The results of early tests have not been released. Handi-cap accessible and hybrid taxis will be allowed to continue to use the same partition that the doctors warned the TL&C about. Why?
Dr. DiMagio said; "testing would ensure that partitions are designed so that they do not interfere with airbag deployment." How does THAT work? Test results do not automatically constitute design improvements. Why is testing being done in the first place? Haven't the doctors explained how deadly the partition is?
Federal standards require correction or removal. Considering the partition fails, every time, to protect the driver in an assault, removal of the partition seems to be the best idea.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Liberty Mutual Story

          I picked up an executive at Logan airport in my cab one sunny day. He asked to go to Ashland, the loss prevention facility for Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. He explained that he was high up in the loss prevention section of the company.
          If you know me, you know why this would pique my interest.
          I suggested that his company could advise their taxi policy holders to get in compliance with federal law (as the June 22, 1984 USDOT letter showed him that they must) by removing the illegal partition or by replacing it with a legal model, or have their policy cancelled. This way Liberty Mutual could demonstrate their commitment to safety, legal compliance and lower losses.
          This man laughed and said that’s never going to happen.
          I was stunned. I asked “Why not?”
          He said, “Imagine if nobody ever had accidents. There would be no need for insurance companies, right?
          I asked him if he was willing to witlessly stand by as taxi partitions continue to mutilate and kill taxi occupants. He replied that he had stockholders to answer to.
          I suggested he also had to be concerned about R.I.C.O. charges for profiting from ongoing criminal activity. He responded by telling me they had entire floors of the Liberty Mutual building populated with lawyers for this kind of thing and that if I was so motivated I should “Have at them”.

          I suggested that if I were to drive off the highway and hit a tree, with Checker Motors’ illegal partition in front of his face, that he would change his tune. He said “Have at it.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

My essay pitch to "Cracked"

I started driving taxis in Boston 1970-1990, New  Orleans 1991-2004, Cape Cod 2005-2015. Because I have cursed the darkness, and offer light also, some say I have a conflict of interest. It is a confluence of interest, to recognize a problem and go one further step by solving the problem. 
I have designed a smooth, hazard-free, (&uniquely) certified- federally complying automobile interior partition. 
But let's not get distracted that I have a solution. Let's pay attention to what has been done to stop me and allow the injury and death to continue. In 1984 the USDOT, on one hand, warned violators to certify and comply, and on the other hand, in the same letter, accepts a so-called 'trade-off' of occupant safety for operator protection from assailants. This 'trade-off' is flatly  illegal.

Massachusetts writes that they are puzzled as to the definition of "seat belt". New York and Boston cab regulators continually prevaricate on partition facts.

Although I have a better design, I DO NOT  support mandates for compulsory installation, especially in taxis. I have driven taxis for 20 years WITH a partition and 24 years without one. I prefer to drive without one. My thinking is this... If I need a partition, I have the wrong people in the cab and must get them out. The regulator thinking is, "if an assailant with a gun wants to hurt you, take him where he wants to go, DO NOT REFUSE, or you will be cited, after all, you are protected by a bullet-proof partition."
This is aggravating murder statistics. When cabs went to 'gun-free' zones the murder rate rose. Murder, the reason stated for partition mandates, isn't even included in the oft referred to statistical analysis on partition use viability study done at NCSU 1997.

At this point, assuming you are still reading, you are thinking; "What an idiot! He says partitions are no good for cabs yet he expects to sell partitions!"

My target market is where partitions are used in police cruisers. Too many officers use the steel grid to mutilate prisoners. There is no shortage of resistance in that market either, even though the sword cuts both ways. Dozens of officers have been burned to death in cruisers that have caught on fire, because the partition knocked them out.

I have been collecting data for 40 years on this. If I say it, I can prove it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Taxi Partitions - Bullet resistant or bullet proof?

Or does it matter?

With So many different standards for bullet resistance, they confuse even experts.

First, the methods employed by those who have tested 'taxi partition' bullet resistance have little in common with any of the nine other bullet resistance rating authorities, worldwide.

Second, if the partition was convincing enough to fool any perpetrator into thinking it isn't possible to reach around (it always is) it wouldn't matter. Because, the 3/8" Lexan, the commonly used thickness, is not bullet resistant, as rated by the maker, G.E.

It is clear that taxi regulators want it believed that taxi partitions stop bullets. See this link Quote from Boston Taxi regulator about how partitions are meant to stop bullets, found in a letter to a prominent Boston MGH trauma surgeon, Dr. Ronald Malt.

The endeavor to lead naive cab drivers to a feeling of false security by overstating the achievable objectives of taxi partition use, is dishonest and overtly self-serving.

New York City Taxi regulators have recognized "On March 28th, 1997 New York City Taxi & Limousine Commissioner Dianne McGrath-McKechnie wrote… "Yes, we are well aware of the potential dangers of passengers ('who are' sic,) not wearing their seat belts hitting (their faces on) partitions in short stop circumstances."the danger partitions pose to occupants in a collision. They are currently extending a crash test requirement an extra year because of the initial results.

When will Boston begin to address this problem?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Unethical Human Experimentation and Director, Division of Compliance Oversight at Office for Human Research Protections answer

·         Unethical Human Experimentation
I believe that the requirement to use interior partitions in taxis is a flawed experiment to discover IF partitions could be useful in protecting cab drivers from assailants. The endeavor to reduce cab driver murders failed. A study conducted by NCSU, funded by USDOT NHTSA and USDH&HS contributions evaluated the viability of using partitions in taxis. It concluded partition expenditures were outweighed by benefits in reduced assault injury. What was ignored was a 400% increase in cab driver murder and a 450% increase in injury from collisions. Some argue with me that this is an experiment. I feel it is. Partitions were never used for robbery or assault protection before they were used in taxis. I have much more. Is this of interest to you?
Steve Crowell
·         Dear Mr. Crowell, As we discussed in 2012, in general we only have authority over research that is funded by HHS. You may wish to contact DOT again, or contact your Senator or Congressperson.
·         Kristina Borror Director, Division of Compliance Oversight at Office for Human Research Protections

I repeat, H&HS funded research on taxi partition use in the 1997 NCSU study by John Randolph Stone.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

New York Daily News 12/16/2015 - Fromberg - "Safety is not an issue, whatsoever!"

New York Daily News 12/16/2015 - Fromberg - "Safety is not an issue, whatsoever!"
That is obvious... by looking at the partition related injuries and death and the TLC reaction to them.

Taxi riders are cruisin’ for a bruisin’ — or worse.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission will delay a requirement that yellow cabs must undergo a crash test with the hard, sharp-edged plastic partition in place — a rule approved in 2013 after doctors told the agency that passengers in an accident face a greater risk of head injury.
Only two out of 15 yellow taxi models approved for the road — including the Taxi of Tomorrow, also known as the Nissan NV200 — have gone through a crash test with the partitions installed. Eco-friendly hybrid models, meanwhile, are exempt.
The rule was supposed to go into effect this December, but low compliance got the TLC to push it off until the end of 2016 to make changes.

Low compliance might mean hard, sharp-edged PARTITIONS
are failing the crash test. Maybe if the TLC considered the design I’ve offered for decades, the sharp edge/hard surface issue would disappear.

Doctors told the Daily News it’s common for hospitals to see taxi passengers with lacerations and broken noses, though there are instances of riders suffering from more severe head trauma.

Death is also one of the results of more severe head trauma.

“The vast majority of the injuries are not lethal, but they’re disfiguring and they put people at risk,” said Dr. John Sherman, chief of plastic surgery at St. Barnabas Hospital

“The vast majority of the injuries are not lethal?” How comforting. 

Sherman — one of the doctors who backed the rule in 2013 — slammed Mayor de Blasio’s taxi agency for pushing off the crash-test rule, which he likened to consumer advocate Ralph Nader’s crusade for reforms to dangerously designed vehicles.

It is no wonder that the laws inspired by Nader might come into play here. It is the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 that was inspired by Nader, his book – Unsafe At Any Speed, and Sen. P.Moynahans’ sponsorship of the bill, which passed unanimously.

The delay, he said, “would be contrary to public safety.”
“The forehead and the mid-face hit these change trays and sharp edges  and get serious injuries,” he said, noting that the Taxi of Tomorrow partition is padded and designed to minimize chance of a rider smacking their head into it.

Padding is a feature that has been included in my design from the start, because it is a federal requirement. The endeavor to minimize risk of contact is more difficult than making sure that IF IT DOES happen, it happens with a complying surface. Attempts to retain a coin tray or opening are guaranteed to introduce a hazardous protrusion or hazardous edge – both prohibited by federal law. My design has never had an opening or protrusion of any kind.

But taxi passengers risk more than a busted nose. Crash testing shows whether the partition would interfere with an airbag or affect how well the cab can handle a side-impact crash, according to Dr. Charles DiMaggio, professor of surgery and population health at NYU School of Medicine.

“The only way you can evaluate that is by crash test,” he said.

He disagreed with the TLC’s decision to delay the requirement.
“The message I take from that — I will be using my seat belt in the back seat of a taxi much more frequently, absolutely,” DiMaggio said.

MORE Frequently? Why would a doctor EVER not use a belt??

Cab Riders United director Michael O’Loughlin said the rule delay is a blind spot in the city’s Vision Zero safety agenda.
“Instead of delaying implementation of this important safety standard for yellow taxi passengers by yet another year, TLC should act urgently to expand this important safety standard to protect passengers in all partitioned for-hire vehicles in all boroughs,” O’Loughlin said. “Every passenger in every borough must have an equal right to safety in a TLC licensed vehicle.”
Taxi officials have tried to get cab passengers to buckle up in the back seat with public service announcements and supporting a law requiring riders to buckle up in the front seat.

Efforts to get all passengers to use seat belts are in place of efforts to get partitions into compliance. Rather than safe partitions, the TLC wrote that there would instead... be a tape recorded reminder to buckle up.

On March 28th, 1997 New York City Taxi & Limousine 

Commissioner Dianne McGrath-McKechnie wrote…

             "Yes, we are well aware of the potential dangers 

of  passengers ('who are' sic,) not wearing their seat belts 

hitting (their faces on) partitions in short stop circumstances.

            In fact, we are currently in the process of mandating that 

each cab's Talking Taxi Box include a message reminding 

passengers to buckle up.

            We are confident that this will raise seat belt 

awareness and use, and will significantly reduce this potential 

danger." - Dianne McGrath-McKechnie

I doubt unconscious seat belts are the problem. 

But much of the riding public likes to live dangerously, as just 38% of taxi passengers said they buckle up, according to a 2014 survey from the TLC.

If, according to the TLC - "much of the riding public likes to live dangerously" - because 62% don't buckle up, then the TLC will always give the riding public what they want, dangerous partition hazards.

TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg defended the delay in the partition crash test rule.
“Safety is not an issue, whatsoever,” Fromberg said.

It is a known fact that some injury and death to passengers has occurred to passengers as a result of coming into contact with the partitions during an accident "
Gordon Barton Excel Resources & Training

Matthew Daus – TLC Chairman - “These cars and the partitions that are in them... are 100 percent safe,”

The Taxi of Tomorrow — crash tested with the partition already installed — will be the car of choice to replace cabs that retire starting next year, along with hybrid models. And any car maker that wants their vehicles to join the city’s taxi fleet must meet the same specifications.

“Our to make sure cars with partitions are crash-tested,” TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi said in a statement. “And we encourage car manufactures by creating a market.”

Then why don't they ask the partition maker to crash-test the partition?
The TLC “creates” a market - with a partition requirement and they actually specify coin trays and openings with sharp edges. Just exactly what is Meera Joshi encouraging manufacturers to do? From what I’ve gleaned, the TLC wants car makers to crash test cars - that are not intended for taxi use - after an illegal partition maker/installer alters a once-complying vehicle, with an illegal partition.

August 29, 2008, Richard D. Emery, an attorney for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, wrote to automakers including Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Honda, General Motors and Volkswagen requesting that they certify that their hybrids or alternative fuel vehicles are manufacturer-approved to be used as taxicabs and safe when modified with partitions and other TLC requirements.

It is puzzling that the MTBOT attorney would expect car makers to test another manufacturers' products.

In a September 19th 2008 response to Mr. Emery, a spokesman for Honda said “Honda vehicles are not sold or recommended for use as taxicabs.” 

However, in a July 16, 2008 industry notice informing taxi owners which vehicles they can purchase for taxi use, the TLC lists the Honda Civic Hybrid as one of nine approved vehicles for taxi use.

Honda doesn’t recommend taxi use for their vehicles, but the TLC does.

Another automaker, Toyota, the largest manufacturer of hybrids in the world, has not responded to Mr. Emery. 

However, a Toyota spokesman told the [tag]New York Times[/tag] on April 27, 2008, that “our engineers are nervous about it because they were not designed for commercial use.” 

Toyota doesn’t recommend taxi use, But the TLC does.

According to the article, “Toyota did not help convert cars into taxis because they were not intended to be driven so heavily.” Still, in the July 16, 2008 TLC industry notice, the TLC lists 3 Toyotas, the Prius, Highlander and Camry on its approved vehicle list — 1/3 of all approved vehicles. Several Toyotas remain in service as New York City [tag]taxicabs[/tag].

Nissan, which claims to be committing up to 200 Altima Hybrid taxicabs per month, refers Mr. Emery to a July 23, 2008 TLC letter that claims the partitions do not hinder side curtain airbag deployment.

Nissan offers no crash test results on Altimas that are modified with partitions and concludes its response by stating: “If you have an underlying concern with the mandate to use fuel efficient vehicles, this situation is a result of New York policies, not Nissan’s actions.”

At a September 10th 2008 New York City Council hearing, Ford Motor Company acknowledged that “there is an increased risk for belted occupants to contact the partition in a collision” for “any vehicle with a smaller occupant space than the stretch Crown Victoria” noting that it is “not unique to the Escape Hybrid” which indeed has much smaller occupant space than a stretch Crown Victoria.

Ford seems to be under the mistaken notion that a passengers' proximity, be it one foot... or three feet, to the partition, will somehow change the 30 mph passenger impact with the partition. It won’t.

Ford refused to certify the crash-worthiness of Escape Hybrid taxicabs outfitted with partitions, instead shifting responsibility to the TLC which it says “has an important job in making judgments that balance competing benefits and risks involving driver and customer safety in a unique operating environment.”

The TLC has an important job deciding whether or not to continue requiring, inspecting and approving illegal partition installation in NYC taxis. At risk is; passenger safety in a collision, traded off for the alleged benefit of driver protection from assailants. 

The actual benefit isn't driver protection from gun-wielding assailants - they can always shoot the driver from the back seat or at the drivers' window. The real benefit is; abatement of media pressure on cab regulators - regarding how competent the TLC is, protecting cab drivers from assailants. "Hey, we require bullet-proof shields!" 
All the TLC needs to do to continue the myth that partitions are good, is to compile statistics that ignore disproportionate liability insurance rate increases, disregard murder rate increases and neglect to include collision injury and death increases, and then boast about minor reductions in non-fatal assault rates.

Because of our limited testing budget, the 

number of vehicles involved, and the 

controversial trade-off of occupant safety 

for the safety of the vehicle operator 

from assailants, we have no plans to test 

the involved vehicles for violations...

Francis Armstrong USDOT NHTSA Motor Vehicle 

Safety Compliance Enforcement Section Director - 

June 22, 1984

General Motors also refused to certify the crash-worthiness of its Chevy Malibu Hybrid taxicab when modified with a partition or other TLC requirements. In a letter to Mr. Emery dated September 25th, 2008, GM wrote “your client’s concerns about the taxicab partitions required by the TLC should be addressed to the TLC.” GM was silent about the Saturn Vue Hybrid, which also appears on the TLC’s approved vehicle list.

Volkswagen, which produces a clean diesel Jetta that appears on the TLC approved list, was also asked to certify the safety, suitability and crash-worthiness of its TLC-approved hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles when modified with partitions and placed into service as taxicabs but, to date, has not responded.

The TLC has confirmed that it does not crash test hybrid taxicabs modified with partitions and says it relies, in large part, on federal testing to assert the safety of hybrid taxicabs. However, it has also been established that there are no federal crash tests for hybrid taxicabs modified with partitions — nor are there front or rear crash tests in unmodified hybrids for adult rear occupants, which comprise the majority of taxi passengers.

 I have been screaming about the connected dots of partition

 design flaw, partitions in taxis requirements, partition injury 

& death, disproportionate insurance increases and 

failure of municipal, state and federal regulators'  to correctly 

address the issue, for over 35 years. 

The one dot that never gets connected by anyone except me 

is the partition maker. Car makers won't crash test a car 

screwed up by the TLC with an illegal partition. Most car 

makers assert that their products are not intended for taxi 

use in the first place. How is it that the arrows never get 

pointed at the partition makers? They are in collusion with 

the TLC. 

The objective is to disregard passenger safety - for hollow 

allegations of driver protection from assailants. Neither has 

ever been concerned about federal compliance. I prompted 

USDOT NHTSA "letters of warning" to taxi regulators and 

partition makers in 1984, about the need for compliance and 

certification of such. 

The TLC's first reaction to my concerns was to come up with 

the idea of 'the talking taxi box'. This would have a recorded 

advisement to 'buckle up', or ostensibly any injuries or death 

resulting from contact with the illegal partition is "ON" the 

victim. That is absurd. 

FIX THE PARTITION FLAWS! I know how, I've done it. I've

 offered a complying design for over 30 years now. 

see and sign the petition.mandate-yellow-cabs-article-1.2467282