Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Steven W. Crowell

USDOT
Inspector General
Calvin L. Scovel III
1200 New Jersey Ave SE
West Bldg, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20590

Dear Mr. Scovell,
Frank Armstrong (USDOT-MVSCES) and Jeffery Miller (USDOT Chief Counsel) are not in agreement with Randy Reid (USDOT-ODI). Frank was with the USDOT Motor Vehicle Safety Enforcement Compliance Section, Jeffery was the Chief Counsel for the USDOT and Randy is with the USDOT Office of Defect Investigations.
In 1984 Frank wrote letters of warning. No enforcement ensued. I wrote to Mr. Miller and he reinforced my perception that federal law is applicable to interior partition performance in 1985.
I wrote to Randy Reid of the Office of Defect Investigation in 2012. He replied with a letter which states a position that is in complete contradiction with Armstrong and Miller.
In the first letter listed, Armstrong warns manufacturers to comply.
In the second letter below, Armstrong ‘recommends’ ‘consideration of compliance’ to the sanctioning agency.
In the third letter, Armstrong trades off occupant safety for hollow allegations of driver protection from assailants.
In the fourth letter, Miller explains in detail how the law applies to partition performance.
In the fifth letter, Reid explains that no laws apply and that taxis and police cars are exempt.
In the sixth letter, I ask Reid to explain what might have changed since 1984 or 1985.
The attached documents are;
1. 1984 Letter of warning to manufacturers from Armstrong
2. 1984 Letter advising consideration of compliance to taxi regulator from Armstrong
3. 1984 letter to S. Crowell from Armstrong
4. 1985 3 page letter of interpretation from Jeffery Miller
5. May 2012 Letter from Randy Reid
6. May 2012 Letter to Randy Reid
I have no reason to believe that Randy Reid is telling the truth. His delay in replying to my May 7th letter leads me to believe there are no corroborating documents able to be presented. I believe he is lying about so-called exemptions for taxis and emergency vehicles. Please correct me if I am wrong.
I have invested many years trying to bring about enforcement of federal safety laws where they apply to interior partitions used in taxis and police cruisers. I make federal compliant interior partitions for police cars. Nobody else, building partitions, has ever notified the DOT or ever certified compliance.  For every year the USDOT fails to enforce the law, there are many hundreds injured and too many killed by illegal, uncertified, non-complying interior partitions on impact in collisions. Trauma surgeons have done more than one study on the dangers of taxi partitions. The injuries are devastating. The deaths are final.
Can you explain why Randy Reid is telling me I’ve wasted my time trying to enhance safety in taxis and police cars?

Sincerely,

Steve Crowell

Friday, June 15, 2012

2012 New York Cab Confessions: Wildly Different Views of New York’s New Taxi - Motor Trend Blog

2012 New York Cab Confessions: Wildly Different Views of New York’s New Taxi - Motor Trend Blog

The latter could be Nissan’s most compelling argument. Valdes-Dapena and Reuter’s both raise a good point, it does seem mind boggling that it took until 2012 for a manufacturer to perform crash testing on a vehicle as popular as the taxi cab. Given the hyper-litigious climate we have in the US overall – and New York specifically – is it any wonder it didn’t happen sooner thanks to some multi-zillion dollar class action lawsuit?

Read more: http://blogs.motortrend.com/2012-new-york-cab-confessions-wildly-different-views-of-new-york%e2%80%99s-new-taxi-22189.html#ixzz1xrUdkonl

Friday, June 08, 2012

What's wrong with partitions?


Used in utility vans, limousines, taxis and police cars; automobile partitions are required to meet minimum federal motor vehicle safety standards for aftermarket automobile equipment. None do.

My self-interest is apparent. I build a great partition design. Mine isn’t illegal. Field trial use exposure in the two primary applications – cruisers and taxis, has been failure free. Attention to ‘legal compliance’ gets ‘swept under the rug’ in every application faster than the casual observer can see. I am often dismissed because I curse the darkness… while the light I offer… might result in benefit to ME. I intend to be very benevolent, when I’m capable, to those who suffer in the taxi & law enforcement arenas. I can’t even patent my design until there is SOME prospect of legal compliance in partition manufacture, sale, installation and use. I have been lobbying for decades with few tangible results. Results of some of my actions have gratified me despite the shortage of monetary reward over the last 30+ years. My investment has been total, financially, emotionally and spiritually.

Manufacture of substandard partitions is illegal.
Sale, or offer for sale of substandard partitions is illegal.
Installation of substandard partitions is illegal.
Failure to notify purchasers of defects in substandard partitions is illegal.
Failure to recall and remedy or repurchase substandard partitions is illegal.
Failure to certify compliance in the form of a label or a tag on the partition, at the time of sale, is illegal.
No state or political subdivision of any state has any authority to set lower standards than the federal standards.

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued letters of warning to manufacturers. They have been mostly ignored. When corrective measures were mandated, they were carried out illegally.

The USDOT sent copies of the warning letter and a cover letter to the Boston Police Department Hackney Carriage Division (BPDHCD) Captain Donald Devine with an advisory to consider… making sure that ‘checking for seat belt retention’ become part of the regular taxi inspection program. The corrective measures needed should have been carried out at no cost to the purchaser, by the manufacturer. Two or three years after the advisory to the BPDHCD, the taxi inspection procedure began to enforce the seat belt retention specification.
The BPDHCD chose to shift the burden of the cost of corrective measures from the manufacturer… to the purchaser. This illegal burden of the cost of corrective measures, placed on cab owners, prompted considerable anger directed at me.
The USDOT cited, to the violators (partitions makers and the BPDHCD), the source of the original complaint. It was common knowledge that I (Steven Crowell) initiated the original complaint. When cab owners went to the partition installer for re-installation of the illegally removed seat belts, the shop personnel heard complaints about the ransom cost of seat belt re-installation. My name was mentioned to each cab owner. Subsequently, numerous cab owners approached me. Compared to the hostility, any experienced cab driver learns to become inured to, those cab owners were tame. I countered their rage at me about the cost of seat belt re-installation, with my observation that they had been violated first, by the illegal removal of the seat belts and then violated again, with the cost burden of corrective action. Most didn’t require me to produce the specific legal citations. Those who did, seemed disinclined to proceed against the taxi regulator or the seat belt extortionists. I urged them to proceed. I believe none did. The USDOT and the BPDHCD both deliberately exposed me to retribution from numerous interested parties.
Hazardous, illegal partition performance has been gruesomely poor.
Officers, rendered unconscious from post-cranial impact with the partition in rear-end collisions, fail to exit burning cruisers and die in infernos.
Hundreds of stolen police cruisers, expected to be ‘secure’ because of the partition, have put trunks full of riot gear in the hands of criminals. That is a Homeland Security matter.
Officers boast about the latitude to mutilate prisoners which is available with partition hazard-risk. They call it ‘waffling’ the prisoner. The FBI has written to me that they see no federal violation if officers slam on the brakes to hurl prisoners into the steel grid section of the partition. Waffling is a cowardly vicious felony. Strictly speaking, the mere presence of the steel grid constitutes a violation of Geneva Convention rules against torture.
Taxi regulation by ’law enforcement’, is more the ‘rule’ than the exception in urban areas. Partition use in taxis has been an abject failure. Studies, wrongly, conclude otherwise. No studies were conducted during the first 30 years of the ‘taxi partition use experiments’ which were conducted in Boston and New York. Careful scrutiny of the data provided in the studies shows a decline in attacks on cab drivers with partition use (20%), but also showed a 300% increase in murder.
Partitions merely inspire criminals to upgrade from a knife to a gun.
The barrier in a taxi creates an adversarial atmosphere. The atmosphere also hampers communication, essential for perceiving early warning indicators of difficulty.
Questions abound concerning the rules of taxi-riding when there is a partition present. Incidents involving taxi partitions, although scrutinized by several layers and levels of law enforcement, ALWAYS divert responsibility for failure to anything… anything other than the partition design or performance.
Is the formerly five passenger taxi… now a three passenger taxi?
What compensation is there for the loss of income potential? What compensation is there for the decreased ‘occupancy rate’ from five to three passengers?
If the partition is rendered moot, when a passenger pays at the drivers’ door… is the driver entitled to require payment BEFORE the passenger gets out of the back seat?
1. If a passenger is not supposed to be restrained, who is responsible for damages that occur as a result of ‘untimely passenger exit’ from the taxi?
What is the liability exposure for taxi regulators who require partitions to address murder… if more murders occur?
What is the liability exposure for taxi regulators who require partitions or for partition makers who manufacture, offer for sale and sell taxi or police cruiser partitions… and then subsequently ignore warnings from NYC Trauma Surgeons, the USDOT, makers of the altered automobiles, attorneys, the communications media and me?
Disproportionate (with private cars) insurance cost increases (450% in the first 8 years), by law, reflect disproportionate increases in losses in taxis… if… partitions are required. These losses never involve passenger attacks. The insurance covers injuries to taxi occupants only when they are injured or killed due to collision impact with the illegal partition. Most taxi fleet managers misinform drivers telling them that drivers are not ‘covered’ by the Bodily Injury Liability policy on the cab.
Who should pay compensation to cab owners for the cost difference involved in insuring illegally partitioned taxis?


As usual… I digress. I’ll stop here… and see if I get a response.

I expect that officers ‘waffling prisoners’ will interest you more, than increases in cab driver murders. I understand, connecting the dots is easier there.

This is submitted in loving memory of the departed, victims of the most prevalent category of ‘on the job murder’… cab drivers... who lost their lives, and whose loved ones rarely ever qualified for any ‘protection’ from the impact of the loss of their loved ones,
AND in loving memory of those who have departed earthly bounds while ‘Serving & Protecting’, with no envy, resentment, or elitism over the fact that families of police officers have resources come their way that is unheard of… in the taxi industry.

Steve W. Crowell




HSS



Borror, Kristina C (HHS/OASH)
4:35 PM (31 minutes ago)
 

to me


Dr. Mr. Crowell:

OHRP has jurisdiction only if the allegations involve human subject research (a) conducted or supported by HHS, or (b) conducted at an institution that voluntarily applies its Assurance of Compliance to all research regardless of source of support.

Neither of these conditions appear to be met by the circumstances described in your letter.  Therefore, OHRP will not be able to pursue the matter on your behalf.

OHRP appreciates your concern about the protection of human research subjects.

Sincerely,

Kristina C. Borror, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Compliance Oversight

I answered the first questions from OHPR



In order to determine our authority to evaluate your concerns, we would need the following additional information, if available:

(1) The name of the institution (university, hospital, foundation, school, etc) that is conducting the research.
A. Boston Police Department Hackney Carriage Division
B. New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission

(2) The name of the researcher(s).
A. Arthur Cadegan, Donald Devine, then Marc Cohen
B. Jack.S Lusk, Fidel Del Valle, Dianne McGrath McKechnie, then David Yasskey

(3) The name of the research project and/or grant proposal.
A. No name

(4) The number of the research project.
A. No Number

(5) Source of research funding.
A. Subjects required to pay for equipment
B. The Effectiveness of Taxi Partitions:
The Baltimore Case
Prepared for
The Southeastern Transportation Center
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
Knoxville, Tennessee
Prepared by
John R. Stone and Daniel C. Stevens
Department of Civil Engineering
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7908
Funded by
The Southeastern Transportation Center
With a Grant from
The University Transportation Centers Program
US Department of Transportation
June 1999

(6) The dates of the research.
A. Boston – 1970
B. NYC – 1968
C. Chicago ?
D. Philadelphia ?
E. San Francisco ?
 
(7) The nature of the alleged noncompliance or wrongdoing.
A. Partitions were assumed to protect drivers from assailants with guns. This has never happened. Now drivers are shot through the partition window or shot by reaching around the partition. In fact the murder rate is worse with partitions.
B. All of the partitions in police cruisers and taxicabs have a long history of causing death and serious head injury.
C. Dr.  Talmor – 212-821-0933, – Dr. Barie – 212-746-6995, – Dr. Shapiro – 480-451-1700 and  -  Dr. Hoffman – 212-844-8778 Department of Surgery, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, NY
In 1996 four surgeons from the Department of Surgery, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center released a report, this is a review of it.
“Craniofacial injuries resulting from taxicab accidents in New York City”
Taxicab accidents are a common occurrence in New York City. This review was undertaken to characterize the nature of craniofacial injuries that result from taxicab accidents
Data were collected on 16 patients who required admission to trauma or plastic and reconstructive surgery services, after sustaining craniofacial injury as a result of a taxicab accidents.
Front-end deceleration collisions were the most common mechanism of injury.
Fifty-six percent of the patients were thrown against the bulletproof, Plexiglas driver safety divider and sustained an injury most commonly to the anterior midface.
Both bony and soft tissue injuries were common in the entire group.
“Given the high incidence of craniofacial injury, appropriate safety standards for taxicabs must be initiated, including the reevaluation of the utility of the safety divider”
Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH (American Council on Science and Health) President,
“The deaths and injuries attributed to taxicab accidents are highly preventable.


(8) A copy of the informed consent document from the research.
A. None known

(9) A statement regarding whether OHRP may
(a) identify you as the complainant to the institution;
1. You have my permission

(b) provide the institution with a copy of your complaint letter; or

(c) provide the institution with a copy of your complaint letter with personal identifiers removed.

(9) Any other pertinent information
 Jack Lusk -  TLC Chairman 1988-1991
“Those partitions create a plastic surgeons’ dream.”

 Dr. Rahul Sharma, NYUMC  212-263-5550
560 1st Ave. E.R.
NY,NY 10016  rahul.sharma@nyumc.org

- has worked in several city emergency rooms, is all too familiar with the               damage the anti-crime partitions, required since 1994, can cause.
“Ask any ER doc in Manhattan, and they will tell you they see it very frequently,” he said. “People have a false sense of security in the backseat of a cab.”
#2 - Dr. Gary Sbordone – Massachusetts Chiropracter  781-665-2560
“Could cause complex spinal injuries.”
#3 - Dr. Geoffrey Doughlin - E.R. Director, Jamaica Hospital, 8900 Van Wyck Expswy. Queens, NY 11418 -  718-206-6070
Since the partitions act as a second windshield, back seat passengers fall victim to the same type of injuries as people in the front passenger position, the "suicide seat,"
#4 - Dr. Gregory Husk - Chairman of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center, 330 East 17th St.
NY,NY  212-420-2000
“You can't do this kind of work (Emergency Medicine) without being impressed that the taxicab partition breaks a lot of noses, a lot of lips, a lot of chins.''
#5 - Dr. John Sherman - Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery, New York Hospital, jesmd@nyplasticsurg.com  New York City
"The results are uniformly disastrous: patients with head wounds from dividers,
fractured noses, lacerations and worse.  Last month I saw two patients die from taxi-related injuries.”
#6 - Dr. Arnold Komisar,  #7 - Dr. Stanley Blaugrund and #8 -  Dr. Martin Camins - Lenox Hill Hospital, NYC  212-535-8300
"Every emergency room in New York is seeing patients injured in taxicabs: three here, four there, six at another hospital, so it's easy to underestimate the problem,"
#9 - Dr. Stephen Pearlman - Upper East Side facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon    914-993-9125
“Gaping soft tissue injuries are also prevalent, since an edge of a partition's sliding door or its metal track can tear the skin.”
“In the most severe instances, this causes "almost an avulsion" of the nose.”
#10 - Dr. Paul Lorenc – NYC Plastic Surgeon  212-472-2900
“Crushed noses, fractured cheekbones and eye sockets, and "stellate," or burst lacerations, are among the most common injuries suffered when a passenger is hurled into the clear partition.”
#11 - Dr. Kai Sturmann - Acting Chairman, Emergency Department, Beth Israel  631-477-9455
“I would like to see back-seat air bags.”
#12 - Dr. Marc Melrose - Emergency Physician, Beth Israel Medical Center, Manhattan 212-721-4201
"Cabs don't have to get into an accident for people to be hurt. The cab stops short and you go flying into the screen with the handles and bolts and that metal change thing. It's dangerous."




Thank you,

Steven Crowell


Taxi and police cruiser partitions

Steven Crowell
6:39 AM (7 hours ago)
 

to OHRP


I have been a reluctant, unwilling and unwitting subject in an experiment. An experiment, conducted by the police in Boston, to see if police car partitions would protect cab drivers in assaults. This experiment has failed horribly. No less than 20 doctors have been quoted in the newspapers with comments like;

"In 1996 four surgeons from the Department of Surgery, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center released a report, this is a review of it.
            “Craniofacial injuries resulting from taxicab accidents in New York City”
            Taxicab accidents are a common occurrence in New York City. This review was undertaken to characterize the nature of craniofacial injuries that result from taxicab accidents
            Data were collected on 16 patients who required admission to trauma or plastic and reconstructive surgery services, after sustaining craniofacial injury as a result of a taxicab accidents.
            Front-end deceleration collisions were the most common mechanism of injury.
            Fifty-six percent of the patients were thrown against the bulletproof, Plexiglas driver safety divider and sustained an injury most commonly to the anterior midface.
            Both bony and soft tissue injuries were common in the entire group.
“Given the high incidence of craniofacial injury, appropriate safety standards for taxicabs must be initiated, including the reevaluation of the utility of the safety divider”


There are four categories of death from automobile interior partitions.
1. Police officers are rendered unconscious by high speed rear end collision and remain in burning vehicle.  when the car catches on fire... 25% of the time the officer is incinerated to death.
2. In the experiment to see if police cruiser partitions will protect cab drivers, rising murder rates did nothing to discourage the enforcement of installation of this mandatory device.
3. Officers have boasted about deliberately mutilating occupants by slamming on the brakes, to hurl the prisoner into the steel grid of the partition.
4. Taxi and police cruiser occupants have been killed on contact with the experimental and illegal partition in collisions.

In the case of the taxi driver survival experiment, human subjects are getting killed in greater numbers with partition installation mandates for taxis enforced. Yet the authorities endorse and maintain that a 20% decline in assaults is more important than a 300% increase in murder. This experiment has lasted two years longer than the Tuskekee Experiment.

In a 1997 study on taxi partition mandate viability Dr. John Randolph Stone of NCSU wrote; "This study makes one implicit assumption... it is assumed that assaults on taxi drivers are a proxy measure of taxi driver homicides. Thus, if shields reduce assaults then it can be assumed that they will reduce homicides." They can't be bothered to count the additional dead bodies since partition mandates.

They aren’t counting those killed by partitions, in collisions and they aren’t counting those killed, despite partitions, in assaults.

"This Agency has no records which count the number of deaths which may have occurred in New York City involving a taxi cab which contained a partition."     Mimi C. Mairs, Special Counsel, Forensic Biology Office of Chief Medical Examiner,Legal Department, New York, New York

The device in question is the partition. I prompted letters of warning to partition manufacturers from the USDOT in 1984. "It has come to the attention of this office that you may be in violation of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety act  of 1966  (The Act) ( 15 USC 1381 et. Seq.) by the manner in which you are installing partitions in taxicabs and or police cruisers."

The USDOT Chief Counsel in 1984 added; "There is no exception for the manufacture of vehicles for government or commercial use."

Randy Reid, USDOT Office of Defects Investigation, 2012: "There are no Federal motor vehicle safety standards for the partitions. In addition, these vehicles are exempt from many of the safety standards such as side airbags due to their equipment and nature of service." Mr Reid is dead wrong.

Can the OHRP advise the Boston Police Department that more dead drivers is not a good thing?

Partitions had never established any track record for protecting drivers from anything but the hazards of shifting cargo. The taxi experiment was conducted to discover if they would foil assailants in taxis. Partitions may have a positive effect in reducing the number of non-fatal assaults (20%), but the fatal assault rate went up 300% at the same time.

Cab drivers don't want the mandatory installation of illegal, noncomplying, substandard deadly partitions forced on their taxis.

Doesn't your office handle such violations?

Sincerely,

Steve Crowell