Janet Lee

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

TLC January 28, 1997 McGrath-McKechnie boldly lies about start date for partition mandate in NYC (1995) and false security

January 28, 1997
                                   NEW YORK CITY
                                  TAXI & LIMOUSINE
         221 West 41st Street, New York, New York 10036-7208 (212) 840-4520
                                                       January 28, 1997
               Mr. Steven W. Crowell
               4706 Canal Street
               New Orleans, Louisiana 70114
               Dear Mr. Crowell,
                    Thank you for taking the time to share with us your concerns
               and opinions, as stated in your January 15 e-mail.
                    If I may, I would like to clear up some of the
               misconceptions expressed in your communication.  It was far more
               recently, two or so years, in fact, since the partition was
               mandated for fleet taxicabs.  Former Police Commissioner Bratton
               was in no way involved in the process, which was enacted wholly
               by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission and supported
               by the Giuliani Administration.
                    I must take exception with your remark regarding the City's
               motives in passing a partition requirement.  Through its passage,
               as well as the passage of rules mandating such other innovations
               as the trouble light, we have done more than  appear functional
               in protecting cab drivers,' we have been successful in protecting
               cab drivers.
                    If you have information pertinent to the safety of taxicab
               drivers in the City of New York, we would indeed be most grateful
               if you would share it with us.

                                                  Diane McGrath-McKechnie
                                                  New York City
                                                  Taxi and Limousine Commission
               DMM: aj f

Steven Warren Crowell
President & Founder
Crowell Manufacturing Co Inc.
2111 Westbend P&kway #233
New Orleans, LA

April 7, 1997

Dianne McGrath-McKechnie
Commissioner of The TLC
221 West4lst St.
New York, NY 10036-7208

Dear Ms. McGrath-McKechnie,
I received your letters dated January 28th and March 28th of this year. Thank you for your attention to those matters.
Can you tell me, as far back as you can find, what the evolution of partition requirements has been for NYC medallion cabs.
In your Jan. letter you state that the partition requirement was mandated for fleet cabs in the last "two or so years" in the March letter you state that "The partition was first required for non-individually owned and operated cabs approximately two years ago and independently owned cabs are not required to have partitions".
Is this a different application of the partition requirement or is it the same thing worded differently?
Does this mean that all partitions used, before two years ago, were used on a voluntary basis?
I have seen a copy of the NYC TL&C regulations dated prior to 1987, and the partition requirement is in there. Although I do not know just exactly which cabs they are required for. I was under the impression that 'mini-fleets' were not required to install them at that time.
One of the things that prompted the Boston Police Department to require partitions in 1970 was the alleged success of their use in New York.
About safety - In 1984 I met with Capt. Arthur Cadegan to tell him I was disturbed about the removal of shoulder harnesses (which was supposedly unavoidable to permit partition installation) from Boston cabs, in addition to several other hazards inherent in popular partition designs. I told him of the frustration I had encountered speaking to the manufacturer/installer of the partition, in that they felt safety was of less concern in a cab even though cabs have a great deal more daily human exposure than regular cars. I suggested that the BPDHD abandon their efforts to set specification requirements for partition design and instead refer to the Federal standards for items of after-market motor vehicle equipment and insist on a certification of compliance label on the partition.
            Captain Cadegan told me that Federal standards had no jurisdiction in Boston.
            Needless to say, I was stunned to hear a law school graduate say such a thing and countered that the feds did have superseding authority. Captain Cadegan then told me "If that is true, why don't you have the feds tell me so?" So, I did have the feds tell them (and three northeast U.S. partition manufacturers - two in Boston and one in New York) that Federal standards are applicable to cab partitions.
            In March of 1987 I forwarded copies of - the formal letters of warning to the manufacturers and the letter of caution sent  to the BPDHD - to the NYT&LC. I suggested at that time... that the TLC abandon the partition requirement or be sure that the only partitions used - be those which are certified to be in compliance with all applicable Federal standards in the form of a label or tag on the partition. I also let the TLC know that I offer a partition that is certified to comply with Federal standards. I was never able to confirm, in writing that that the requirement was abandoned, but I believed had been, given that there is a 'new' partition requirement as of "two years ago".

            Regarding your taking exception to my comment regarding the 'appearance of function without substance', I did not mean to say that there may not have been appreciable reductions in cab driver assaults since the partition requirement.  Personally, I feel safer without one.
            Your predecessors' implementation of bad partition requirements is not a thing you are responsible for. Failure to recognize the need to enhance occupant safety in cabs with partitions is a potential error.
            What I did mean to say is, after burying so many co-workers slain by killers of cab drivers, that I am distressed that partition manufacturers and cab regulators tout the bullet-resistance capacity of a device that is so easily circumvented.

            It is not my intention to put anybody on the spot. It is my intention to see that no cab driver is led to a feeling of false security regarding assault attempts by persons with guns, that are easily aimed at the driver through the drivers' window.

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