Janet Lee

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

Thursday, October 18, 2012

An open letter to Attorney Spivak

An open letter to Attorney Spivak

Lloyd J. Spivak Assistant Staff Counsel
Maryland PSC
William Donald Shaefer Tower
6 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202-6806

Steve Crowell
P.O. Box 303
Eastham, MA 02642

October 27, 2012
The question seems to be; “is there any substance to these allegations… and what might be the impact in personal injury and death?

The three page letter from the Chief Counsel of the USDOT https://docs.google.com/document/d/138Q-QaZN1StPGYEQaokh0ZWTA574NN9iBFP6zRTnVBI/edit

explains in detail with statutory references just exactly how taxi partitions AND police cruiser partitions are subject to the federal law.

A third floor nose dive inflicts injury similar to a 30 MPH collision. Two cars, travelling 15 MPH, in a head on collision, will cause similar injury to occupants.

Many NYC trauma surgeons and plastic and reconstructive surgeons have spoken out about taxi partition dangers. 


One, of at least 12 other doctors with similar complaints, is Dr. John Sherman - Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery, New York Hospital, New York City -  "The results are uniformly disastrous: patients with head wounds from dividers (partitions), fractured noses, lacerations and worse.  Last month I saw two patients die from taxi-related (partition) injuries.”
George Patton was killed in such a collision in 1945. He was in a Cadillac limousine, in Mannheim, Germany, when an oncoming truck crossed their path, making a left hand turn. The vehicles’ impact speed was estimated to be 35 MPH or less. His head was thrown into the partition. He broke his spine and died after 12 days in traction.

The most recent  ‘celebrity’ injured by a taxi partition was Marc Summers, the television MC and producer. Last August (2012) he was thrown into a taxi partition in a collision.  


His doctors could explain the titanium and reconstructive work required to repair the damage better than I. It is extensive. He is considering a class action law suit. His injury occurred in a Philadelphia taxi.

The partitions used in Baltimore taxis are the same partitions as you will find anywhere in a taxi. They are made in NYC. D&M Partitions, Bronx, NY, Glendale Shade & Awning, Queens, NY and Great Partition Co., Bronx, NY are the primary suppliers of partitions for cabs in the US. 
None of these partition manufacturers has ever notified the USDOT that they manufacture, offer for sale and do sell ‘covered’ automobile equipment. “Covered equipment” is, equipment which is required to comply with federal standards. Partitions are currently being manufactured, sold and installed illegally.

I’ll concede that one of these federal rules says these requirements are applicable for installation in new vehicles, prior to the first sale of the automobile.

Persistent corruption in urban taxicab regulator offices nationwide has necessitated that inspection procedures cease in many of these cities. Baltimore taxis are now regulated by a state agency. That is not typical. It may be a safe assumption that the Baltimore Police Department had some trouble doing their job of taxi regulation - honestly.

Now, the usual way the regulator assures the public that the cabs are roadworthy is to place a maximum age limit on the vehicles used as taxis. With this new rule is, usually, a stipulation that all new vehicle registrations must show that the cab was bought new. So, technically one could use sub-standard, uncertified, non-complying, deadly partitions in USED taxis, but not in new taxis going on the road for the first time. Such a requirement would render the compliance exemption for used taxis, moot.

The volume of human exposure to the risks of impact with a taxi partition is astronomical. It would be an efficient application of manpower and resources to take on this task of correcting partition performance flaws.

I anticipate national exposure to this problem shortly, due to Marc Summers being a TV producer with an axe to grind.

I am not trying to give you an unsolvable problem. My answer to your problem, is to cease your requirement for partitions in taxis.

It is likely that you don’t or won’t see the value of removing the partition entirely.

I have tired of explaining how murders are more frequent with taxi partition mandates in place.

So, assuming that you will retain the partition installation rule, I suggest you get in line with federal standards. Stipulate that any partition used must comply with applicable federal standards. It must be certified to be in compliance and it must have a label or a tag on it at the time of first sale asserting compliance.


Steve Crowell

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