Janet Lee

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

Friday, November 27, 2015

On Dec. 6, 1996 Prof. John Stone said in a speech:

"Drivers and passengers do not fully accept shields in taxis. Drivers want to detach shields from cars they may use privately during off‑duty hours. 

Some passengers perceive shields to be an uncomfortable inconvenience. Driver safety objectives should not be considered in isolation from passenger service objectives. 

A word of caution, we should all think about whom is ultimately responsible for the safety of a taxi driver.  Is it the Driver?  The company or taxi owner?  Or a regulatory agency?  Should the taxi industry take care of its own?  Or should a regulatory agency  adopt a "parental" approach to the welfare of taxi drivers?  

If a regulatory agency mandates safety equipment, it accepts some responsibility, and companion liability if a safety device fails to protect a driver.  And unfortunately no safety device or method guarantees full protection."

In a 1997 phone call I asked Professor John Randolph Stone if he realized partitions were mandated in response to murder, not mere assault. He agreed that the bulletproof claim was intended to address drivers who were shot. I asked if he knew that his own figures in his June 1999 Taxi Partition Effectiveness Study NCSU showed that murders not only continued, with so-called bullet-proof partitions, but actually increased!

I then asked asked Dr. Stone if he thought that partitions were worthwhile, when his own figures show a mere 20% decline in non-fatal assault, accompanied by a 400% increase in murder. He said yes. I asked why. He said,"One needs to look at the real number difference, rather than the percentage difference - before and after partition installation mandates. There we see the real number reduction in non-fatal assault is 16 fewer for each additional murder."
I replied, "And the murder rate increase went from 2 in 12 months at worst, to 3 in the first three months of partition installation mandates. 
Can you rationalize this? Can you endeavor to ameliorate a loved ones' grief by explaining that... "Yes, your husband is dead, but the value of his sacrifice, means 16 fewer cab drivers will be non-fatally assaulted, because of this?"
He said, "Yes."
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