Janet Lee

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

Friday, June 08, 2012

Taxi and police cruiser partitions

Steven Crowell
6:39 AM (7 hours ago)


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?


Steve Crowell

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