Janet Lee

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

Saturday, November 21, 2015

OSHA's conflicting positions on partition mandates and flaws

Back in the 80's shortly after the USDOT confirmed my suspicion that provisions in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and provisions of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act applied to items of after market automobile equipment, specifically automobile interior partitions, I contacted OSHA about the matter.

No help to correct Partition flaws;
They insisted that despite the fact that many cab drivers are employees rather than I/C's (the majority), despite the fact that partitions are responsible for much injury and despite the fact that partitions are responsible for many deaths... and despite the fact that USDOT letters of warning had been sent by the USDOT to the manufacturers of taxi & police cruiser partitions advising them of the penalties for making, offering for sale, selling or installing sub-standard, uncertified (ie; illegal) items of after market automobile equipment - such as the partitions they make, offer for sale, sell and install - it was OSHA's position that; because MOST cab drivers are I/C's… they would not take any action on behalf of ANY of those cab drivers, because MOST were I/C's.

With the knowledge that USDOT Warning Letters had been issued.... years later, in the 90's, OSHA took a bold, assertive posture. They 'recommended' these deadly, illegal devices for use in taxis. I credit Jim Z. (I could be wrong) with getting OSHA to change their posture from being silent... to actually TAKING a position, with a tactic that seems typical of gutless Federal government agencies.

Their gutless, pansy, non-committal tactic of merely ‘offering’ - the advice to or the ‘SUGGESTION that’ - partitions be used in taxis for robbery and assault prevention… falls tragically short of meeting the ‘mark’ of minimum mandatory action as delineated by their charter.

Of course the assertion that partitions are robbery or assault prevention devices – is absolutely unfounded in fact and ridiculous in light of the fact that there is NOT ONE CASE ON RECORD of a partition EVER keeping an assailant from shooting a driver through the 'weapon access hole' in every taxi partition made, or through another window.


SWC
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