Janet Lee

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Several quotes regarding several perspectives on partition use in cabs that I hope will make my point.

 Peter Franklin, aka the gabby cabby NYC,
I just received an email (from SWCrowell) in reference to, among other things, partitions in taxi cabs...I am taking the liberty of adding my two cents to the discussion, as one who has driven my yellow mobile conveyance lounge (my taxi) on the streets of NYC for more than thirty years.

            The partition is worthless and dangerous. Like all things done in relation to taxicabs in New York City, it was created by the corrupt Taxi and Limousine Commission here in NYC which is headed by a lady who is a political appointee who knows absolutely nothing about the industry.

            I invite any one of you to come ride with me in the right front seat of my taxi in the wee hours of the morning when it is pure terror. The partition is a joke.

Gavin DeBecker,
            "Weak security improvements - including those you might make in your own life - are sometimes worse than doing nothing at all because they give false peace of mind and convince people that safety is being addressed when it is not. Poorly designed security fools everyone...except the attacker."

1985  TLC Regs. for cabs -  page 6 of 11 (New York City Cab rules)


5.         SECURITY:
a.         Provision shall be made for installing a partition approved by the TLC which would isolate the driver from the rear seat passengers.
b.         Vehicles which substantially exceed minimum interior dimensional requirements and come from the factory already equipped with bullet resistant partitions that meet the requirements of this specification, may be exempt from this specification.  The request for exemption must be in writing to the TLC and must be made by the vehicle manufacturer or his authorized representative.
c.         A 0.085 in. thick plate of ballistic steel capable of stopping a .45 cal. A.C.P. should be installed inside the back-rest of the front seat.  The protective plate shall cover the complete back-rest area (top to bottom-side to side), which is exposed to the rear seat compartment.
d. Provision shall be made for installing an approved lockbox in a location which does not interfere with the driver or occupants.
Dianne McGrath McKechnie - NYTLC Commissioner,
"You are quite correct when you say in your letter that the issues you raise are more complicated than one may assume at first glance. My understanding is that the partition program has worked quite well since being instituted, but if there are issues that may question this view of its effectiveness, I assure that it can and will be looked at with an analytical eye.
I am afraid that I do not have the luxury of time to respond to your rather long correspondence on a point by point basis, but I do wish to convey our thanks for sharing your concerns with us."
     Mrs. McGrath-McKechnie also said - that when it came to avoiding injuries from the
  partition the most important preventative measure was to have passengers wear
  their seat belts."

New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial,
"After consultation with the Police Chief and the District Attorney, I am strongly considering proposing an ordinance to the City Council as soon as possible to require that all cab owners install protective shields in their cabs."

New Orleans Criminal Justice Commissioner - Bridget Bane,
"After careful study and deliberation, it is the conclusion of this task force to recommend to the Honorable Marc H. Morial that he strongly consider proposing an ordinance to the City Council which will require that protective shields be installed in taxicabs in New Orleans in order to help stop the assaults, robberies and murders perpetrated against cabdrivers in New Orleans."

New Orleans Times-Picayune 8/24/97,
"Looking for reasons why requiring bulletproof shields in taxis is a bad idea? That's easy. They would block the flow of cool air to the backseat, leaving passengers wilted in New Orleans heat. They would block the flow of friendly conversation between drivers and their customers. That would muzzle some highly entertaining goodwill ambassadors. They're expensive, which would put a financial burden on drivers.
They aren't an assurance of protection. A determined assailant could come at a driver through a front-seat window or the windshield.
Those are legitimate arguments against Mayor MoriaI's push to require the shields. But all of them together can't overcome the best argument for them: 12 New Orleans cabbies murdered in the past three years; four this year, and two this month."

Stanley F. Adelman, Chief Counsel, Mass. Dept. of Public Safety,
"A special case is presented by those taxi cabs where removal of the shoulder restraint has to install a security partition. It would not appear that removal of the should a taxi cab partition would run afoul of the seat belt law. However, the front lap belt equipment would have to remain to assure at least minimal compliance with the statute."
"Nothing in this memo is intended to diminish or dilute the requirement that shoulder restraints be used in private cars or in taxis where the partition does not require removal shoulder restraint."

Frank Armstrong, Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Enforcement Section Director, USDOT 6/33/84 letter to partition manufacturers,

            "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."

Frank Armstrong, Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Enforcement Section Director, USDOT 6/33/84 letter to a manufacturer of certified complying partitions,

            A copy of our letter to those alterers that you listed is enclosed.  As explained in the conversation, the only provable violations at this time, based on information that you have supplied, is the removal of restraint systems under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208 and Improper glazing material being sold in violation of FM~~SS No. 205.  Proof of a violation of the others would require testing by the Government. Because of our limited testing budget, the number of vehicles involved, and the controversial trade-off of occupant safety for the safety of the vehicle operator from assailants, we have no plans to test the involved vehicles for violations of other FMVSS to which you refer.  We are also enclosing a copy of our letter to Captain Cadegan regarding the subject. We do not anticipate any further action by this office at this time unless we find continuing violations after those involved have received our letter.

Frank Armstrong, Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Enforcement Section Director, USDOT 6/33/84 letter to the Boston Police Department Hackney Division Commander, Captain Arthur Cadegan;
            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.

New York Times 7/20/98 - Chris Drew,
 "Four years ago we were at the height of a crime rate against taxi drivers in New York City, Since then robberies and murders of cabdrivers have plummeted along with other crimes. But injuries in taxi accidents have increased in part because riders have been hurled face first against the partitions with many suffering concussions or broken bones. Or in some cases jagged disfiguring facial cuts form the metal hinges and screws that hold the partition in place.
While no statistics are kept on the percentage of passenger injuries caused by partitions, some doctors, personal injury lawyers and safety experts are pressing for changes in their design to reduce the risk and severity of injuries."

New York Post 7/5/1998,
"Of course, hardly anyone took the advice of Joan Rivers, Jackie Mason or Dr. Ruth seriously and actually wore a seat belt in the back of a cab. This is unfortunate, because the damage inflicted when a human face smashes into one of those taxi partitions can be catastrophic. Just ask any of the ambulance-chasing lawyers who represent injured passengers. The irony is that seat belts in the back of a cab wouldn't be necessary if it weren't for the partitions that make riding in many yellow cabs both uncomfortable and dangerous.
The partitions became mandatory in 1994 after five yellow-cab drivers were murdered - a wrongheaded regulatory response to a crime wave. Since the wonders of the crime drop were a few years in the future, the TLC decided that the solution to violence against cab drivers was to isolate the drivers behind "bullet-resistant" plastic.
Before this paternalistic regulation, it was up to individual cab owners whether a divider would be in their best interests. And there is no convincing evidence that these unsightly, knee-crushing, not-truly-bulletproof partitions ever made a genuine difference to cab-driver safety. But they have broken many a nose, fractured jaws and shattered cheekbones, on the plentiful occasions when drivers had to slam on the brakes.
Now that crime statistics have plummeted, there really is no reason whatsoever to keep this regulation on the books. And obviously any cab without a partition should be exempt from the requirement to play annoying celebrity messages. And that would be an immense improvement in the quality of life for cabbies and passengers alike."

New York Times 8/28/99,
"An upper East Side woman died yesterday when the cab she was riding in jumped a curb on E. 42nd St., careened across a sidewalk and slammed into an office building. Passenger Mara Bitros struck her head on the taxi's plexiglass partition after the runaway cab hurtled into a stone pillar at the entrance to 150 E. 42nd St., police said. The driver was seriously injured. Frightened bystanders dived for their lives at 4:11 p.m. as the speeding cab knocked a concrete planter off its base and then sent a bench flying 100 feet down the sidewalk."

Maureen Dowd column dated 3/398,
Rudolph Giuliani, says he' does not like those stupid celebrity voices in the cabs. But he claims they get more people to buckle up.'

Dr. Seth Manoach, 12/29/98,
"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."
"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."

Ernest Tollerson, New York Times Editor 7/27/98
"The bullet-proof partitions between the front and back seats of most medallion taxis appear to have done wonders for New York's cab drivers. "
"Lately, most public discussion of how to balance the driver's security with the passenger's has revolved around how to design a less-lethal partition. The Taxi and Limousine Commission's belief in the partition as a crime deterrent, though understandable, has crowded out serious consideration of experimenting with the technological options favored by cab companies elsewhere. "
"Taxi riders in New York who have been injured by partitions rarely make the evening news. Their anonymous suffering should not relieve the commission of its responsibility to move quickly."

Eugene Rodriguez - NYTLC Ombudsman, 10/31/95,
"No driver has ever been murdered in a cab with a locked safety shield! In the twenty years that safety have been installed in the cars of the Metropolitan Taxi Board of Trade, an organization of the largest fleets in New York City, no driver has been killed!
Nobody in their right mind can argue with this record of success. Anyone who does is just being penny wise and pound foolish with their driver's lives. In my opinion, any owner who does not provide a safety shield for his drivers is at the very least cheap and greedy, and at best, criminally negligent. I cannot find words strong enough to describe people who oppose the use of safety shields. Foolish is not strong enough. Negligent is just a little better. Murder is about as close as I can come. Safety shields save lives and you can look it up!"

New York Times 6/14/98,
"A 50-year-old Manhattan woman was killed early yesterday morning after the taxicab she was travelling in was struck head-on by a drunken driver on Central Park West, the police said.
The woman, Geraldine Clark of 250 West 138th St., was pronounced dead at the scene, after her body was pulled from the wreckage of the cab that had been demolished by a 1998 Range Rover."
"It was not clear why Penn, who was sitting in the back seat, was killed in the head-on crash while the driver suffered much-less-serious injuries. Initial reports said Penn was trapped beneath the taxi's plexiglass partition."

Tim Ray, Monee, IL police officer,

Unknown officer,
"So, uh, on the way down there he started raising hell and beating on the back of the cage, and kicking the cage and kicking the windows and all this sh**t, so I said "Oh, Goddam, look at that dog!!" and I slammed on the brakes and that summbich ate half of my screen.
So, he got outta the jail and he had bruises on his forehead and bruises on his cheek..."

Boston Globe;

Mayor Raymond L. Flynn, yesterday (1984) reiterated his opposition to cabbies carrying firearms for their own protection to a group of Boston cab drivers and cab company representatives.
Promising to do "everything in my power" to protect the drivers, Flynn, nevertheless, said he was "against the proliferation of guns or the licensing of guns,"
Frank Armstrong,
" Because of our limited testing budget, the number of vehicles involved, and the controversial trade-off of occupant safety for the safety of the vehicle operator from assailants, we have no plans to test the involved vehicles for violations of other FMVSS to which you refer."
Charles Barry,
"In reviewing your attachments, it appears that federal enforcement of their safety standards is limited to written notice to alterers, thus making enforcement, short of court action, seem toothless."

Steve Crowell, 
When it is observed that;

Cab driver murders continue to occur with partition use,
Partition use actually offers the assailant unprecedented protection from driver combativeness,
Partition use in cabs means that assailants will no longer use less deadly weapons (such as brute force, implied weapons or knives),
With partitions, most robbery attempts are done with a gun. Guns are much more frequently fatal.
The cab regulators are willfully and knowingly attempting to lead naïve cab drivers to a feeling of false security - with the claim that the partition is bulletproof,
In fact the plastic would have to be three times thicker than the 3/8" material used - in order to be actually bullet resistant. Even if it was able to stop bullets, assailants rarely shoot at the strongest window in the car.
Occupant injury is more frequent and more severe with cab partitions,
Death in those collisions is more frequent,
The USDOT issued letters of warning to partition manufacturers in 1984,
Violations subsequent to letters of warning may be construed as criminal violations,
Increased bodily injury losses accompanied by decreases in property damage losses results in rewards for insurance companies who ignore the causes of losses,
The partition manufacturers should be penalized in accordance with USDOT sanctions for continuing violations. The total in fines should exceed tens millions of dollars.
Cab regulators should be penalized in accordance with USDOT sanctions for violations of USDOT law.
Cab regulators should be charged with aiding and abetting the murder of cab drivers. It is time for some justice regarding the parties responsible for the deaths of drivers who may have relied on the bullet resistance of the shield to protect him/her.
Cab regulators should also be charged with depraved indifference because of the collision deaths that partitions have caused and reckless endangerment for the injuries that occur from collisions. It is time for some justice regarding the parties responsible for the collision deaths of any occupants.
Insurance companies should be charged with RICO statute violations. Ongoing criminal activity is actually increasing profits for the insurers of cabs with partitions.
State Inspection Agencies have ignored violations of occupant safety requirements for years and should be informed.
The report on taxi partition use viability is totally bogus. The statistics shown in the 1997 STC report by Prof. Stone of NCSU how no decline in assault and a 200% increase in cab driver murder occurred. However, the conclusion of the report is that partitions are viable!

There is only one way will cease my pusuit to nail the TLC and anyone in it for these violations. You had better start a dialogue with me about partitions!

Comments Submitted on Sun Jun 11 14:37:36 2000

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