Janet Lee

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

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Turtle or scorpion? The lesson of cab drivers and Newtown CT

Many are apparently oblivious of the fact that urban cab driving in the US is deadlier than combat. 5 to 10 times deadlier than being a cop. Do cab drivers have nothing to fear? Wrong, they have the most risk of murder. Yet in Boston and NYC they say use a bulletproof partition and don't carry a gun. Murders are hardly abated. Now it's like shooting a fish in a barrel. It is like the turtle versus the scorpion approach. I prefer to be a scorpion, not a turtle.

That school banned guns on the premises, the law banned that 20 year old from owning a handgun, the law required Mom to properly lock them. None of that prevented him. An armed custodian or kitchen worker, an armed Gym teacher or vice principal... that would help. If not... why the rush to the scene with heavily armed police? Remember, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tom Glavin speaks about his partition impact injury in a taxi

"I guess it's a hard lesson to learn. I know probably every one of us are guilty at some point of time of getting in a cab in particular and not putting on a seat belt, but I will say I'm always diligent about it when I'm driving my own car, or in my own car, but probably neglectful like everybody else when I get in a cab."
The driver of the taxi, George Kovalonoks, 54, of Brooklyn, and the other vehicle, John Struble, 40, of West Milford, N.J., were both uninjured, police said.
Glavine's wife called him back immediately after the crash, and he called the Mets to tell them what happened. He was taken by ambulance to NYU Medical Center in Manhattan. He hopes to be fitted for temporary front teeth Friday and have the stitches removed Monday or Tuesday. It will be at least eight months before his mouth heals enough for him to get permanent replacement teeth.
"I actually kept the one that had fallen in my hand," he said. "The other one was halfway back in my mouth, I left it in there until I got to the hospital. They looked at it, tried to assess whether or not I could keep them. All the bone and whatnot I guess up there was battered and broken, so that's why they didn't keep the teeth."


Tom Glavin and Marc Summers, both rear seat occupants, have had a lot of pressure put on them to concede that the injury might have been prevented or less severe if seat belts had been worn. This argument, which is valid... ignores the very important fact that front seat occupants are clearly at risk of injury from contact with the partition... even with a belt on. Not all travel has rear seat occupants. All travel does involve at least one front seat occupant - the driver. Front seat occupants injuries and deaths, from partition impact, are devastating.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Automobile Interior Partition Use Objective

Automobile Interior Partition Use Objective

It is critical that it be established; just what is the objective of using a partition in a taxicab or a police cruiser?

We know that using a partition in a police cruiser has the objective of ‘keeping prisoners from access to the front seat area’. There is no concern about robbery and little concern that a frisked, disarmed, seat-belted prisoner might try to assault an armed police officer. The partition prevents prisoners from attacking the officer while seated in cruiser.

The original objective of using a partition in a taxicab was to keep drunk passengers from grabbing the steering wheel.Those early rules also decreed there had to be a partition separating driver and passengers, to stop drunks from grabbing the wheel.”, according to Robert Hardman, a London, England reporter in a 2012 news story. http://www.iol.co.za/travel/world/europe/save-the-london-taxi-please-1.1438442

Partitions have served well to protect operators from rear seat interference in cruisers - if the prisoner has been properly restrained with seat belts after being disarmed and hand-cuffed. There are, however, about 300 incidents over ten years where a cruiser partition has failed to keep a prisoner from driving away with the cruiser. So, there are failures with the current cruiser partition design.

The objective was quietly changed, in 1968, when partitions were offered for taxi use in the US. Passengers were provided a switch that could prevent the driver from opening the window It is stated by Checker Motors in their patent application; “feature… offered in New York and Washington – “ lock with which the passenger can keep the movable panel closed,if he is apprehensive of being robbed or attacked by the driver.”
The New York Times, Saturday, August 17, 1968 - Page 37

I do not recall any rash of attacks by drivers against passengers.

The objective was changed, again, when in 1968, NYC started requiring cab owners to install partitions in their cabs. This time the stated objective was to protect the driver from bullets, hence the bullet-resistant panels.
The New York Times, Thursday January 30th, 1969

Of course the likelihood of a rear seat occupant pointing a gun at the driver, either through the partition window, or around the partition, aiming at the side window to the front - is high. The partition disinclines assailants from using the less deadly weapon “the knife”. Partitions do NOTHING to preclude an attacker from using a gun to shoot the driver. Murder rates actually increase with partition use.

The New York Times,
Saturday, August 17, 1968 - Page 37
Taxi Partitions

            The Checker Motors Corporation, Kalamazoo, Mich., received a patent this week for its Safe-Guard Cab, which has a robbery preventing partition between the front and back seats.
            …one feature… offered in New York and Washington - a lock with which the passenger can keep the movable panel closed if he is apprehensive of being robbed or attacked by the driver.

New York Times
Thursday January 30th, 1969

Cab Robberies Drop

A factor, owners believe, was the installation of partitions between the driver and passenger of all fleet owned taxicabs last September.
The 4,600 cabs owned by individuals were not required to install partitions because 60% of assaults and robberies occur between 9 P.M. and 6 A.M. and most owner/drivers tend to work during the day.
            The fleet owners are hopeful that the decline will continue and that more drivers will be attracted to the industry, particularly for work at night

Monday, December 10, 2012

Taxi Partition Injury Victim - Roseanne Davalle

In this episode a woman is treated for a facial laceration... from hitting an illegal partition in a NYC taxicab. Aired July 24th 2012


Roseanne Davalle deserves compensation for criminal activity that injured her.

“Those partitions create a plastic surgeons’ dream.”

Jack Lusk -  NYC TLC Chairman 1988-1991

Jack Lusk, for 3 years, extorted every cab owner in NYC to violate Federal Safety Laws with partition installation requirements imposed. The threat was that of being put out of business for failing to install a partition.

Dr. Gregory Husk - Chairman of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center, “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.''

NYC taxi partition injury victim
Janet Lee
This is the first such picture found in a NYC newspaper
after more than three decades of NYC taxi partition installation requirements.

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, fractured noses, lacerations and worse.  Last month I saw two patients die from taxi-related injuries.”

I have spoken with Dr. Sherman more than once. He is exasperated and has stopped his efforts to correct the problem. He accepts the partition risks as part of life in NYC.

Dr. Marc Melrose - Emergency Physician, Beth Israel Medical Center, Manhattan - "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."

TV MC & Producer, one-time host of "Double Dare" on Nickelodeon, Marc Summers nearly lost his left eye when he was thrown into the partition of a Philadelphia taxi.

TV host and Restaurant: Impossible producer Marc Summers, 60, is on the mend and in good spirits following August's harrowing car crash. After suffering multiple broken bones in his face and undergoing emergency reconstructive surgery, Summers has now revealed his first post-crash photo to People. In the photo, Summers is swollen but smiling, and it's hard to tell that he was gravely injured only two short months ago.
While Summers' recovery is remarkable, he tells People that he still has a way to go. ""I have to have more surgery,"" he tells People. ""My left eye isn't where it's supposed to be and the ripped skin from where I hit the [taxi's] credit card machine hasn't healed properly.""

 Dr. Rahul Sharma, NYUMC  - 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.”

Dr. Sharma has been working with Dr. Goldfrank and they are pursuing legislation to make people use seat belts in the rear seats of taxi cabs. I pointed out that correction of the violations of federal motor vehicle safety standards would solve the injury problem for BOTH front and rear seat occupants.

Dr. Stephen Pearlman - Upper East Side facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon - “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.”

Dr. Paul Lorenc – NYC Plastic Surgeon “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.”

Dr. Geoffrey Doughlin - E.R. Director, Jamaica Hospital – ‘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," ‘
Dr. Arnold Komisar,  Dr. Stanley Blaugrund and Dr. Martin Camins - Lenox Hill Hospital, NYC - "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,"

Dr. Gary Sbordone – Massachusetts Chiropracter  - “Could cause complex spinal injuries.”

Dr. Sbordone treated my spine injury from a partition in a rear end collision.
Dr. Kai Sturmann - Acting Chairman, Emergency Department, Beth Israel  -  “I would like to see back-seat air bags.”

Dr.  Talmor, Dr. Barie, Dr. Shapiro and Dr. Hoffman, 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.

Dr. Ralph Upchurch, chief of emergency medicine at Somerville Hospital, said not wearing a seatbelt in the back seat of a cab can be especially dangerous because of the plastic divider between the front and back seats.

Dr. Seth Manoach, lead author of the report, said  'The plexiglas partition that seperates the front and back of the cab, protruding change dish, and metal border can cause serious injury in an accident.' He urged taxi passengers to buckle up "Sit in one of the seats with shoulder and lap belts. The middle seats don't have them and during a front-end collision, your head is going to come forward and hit the barrier."
From - 12/29/98 New YorkTimes article about zero seat belt usage observed by N.Y. Univer. Research Team findings 4/97-8/97

Diane McGrath-McKechnie, Chairwoman of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission;
“The experience of New York City absolutely does not support the notion that partitions have increased the number of passenger injuries.”
“We are well aware of the potential dangers of passengers not wearing their seat belts hitting partitions in short-stop circumstances.”

Frank Armstrong, Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Enforcement Section Director, 6/22/84
"Dear Sir: 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 by the manner in which you are installing partitions in taxicabs and/or police cruisers.“

Matthew Daus – TLC Chairman 
“These cars and the partitions that are in them are 100 percent safe,”