Janet Lee

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

Monday, May 06, 2013

USDOT letter to Boston Police

This letter informs the violator (sanctioning agency - BPDHD) the identity of the whistle-blower, Steven W. Crowell.
It also suggests that a “recommendation of consideration of compliance” is all that is needed.
The BPDHD informed the two notified ‘Boston’ partition makers it was Steven W. Crowell who caused the problem about the removal of seat belts and head restraints.

US Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Traffic Safety Administration
400 Seventh Street. S. W.  Washington, D.C.  20590

JUN 22 1984

Captain Arthur C. Cadegan
Inspector of Carriages
Boston Police Department, Hackney Division
154 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116

Dear Captain Cadegan:
This is in regards to telephone conversations you have had with George Shlfflett, a member of my staff, having to do with Steven W. Crowell and his complaint that partitions are being installed in Boston Police cruisers and taxi cabs, that violate Federal law.
We are enclosing a copy of a letter and a listing of those to whom it is being sent explaining their responsibilities.
It is our understanding that when the partition is installed, the front restraint systems (seat belts and/or upper torso restraints) are removed. Although it is conceded that it is not a violation of Federal law to operate the vehicles without restraint systems, it is recommended that consideration be given to requiring the systems as part of your taxi inspection program.

Thank you very much for your cooperation.

Francis Armstrong

Bow Street Auto and Pallin Automotive both proceeded to re-install belts when cabs had been suddenly and for the first time rejected at taxi inspection. Those two makers charged the cab owners a ‘ransom’ for the re-installation of the belts. They also made sure that when the expense was complained about, the cab owners were told it was Steven W. Crowell that should be addressed about this matter.

Subsequently, I was approached, numerous times, by angry cab owners complaining that I was the reason for the expense of safety violation corrections.

The seat belts were re-installed in an unsafe manner. The webbing of the belts were anchored with a sheet metal screw into plastic moulding on the “B” pillar. No head restraints were re-installed. Head restraint retention was phased-in at the next cab inspection, by rejecting cabs without head restraints, requiring all cab owners to purchase a new partition with a different configuration. Sub-standard Lexan was substituted by Marguard at the third inspection.

This was all done sequentially at city cab inspection over an 18 month period. I endured three waves of complaints and threats from cab owners, all as a result of the USDOT NHTSA identifying me to a violator.

I told cab owners to go to the attorney general, none did.


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