Steven Warren Crowell - JUST A WORKER - TRYING TO MAKE THIS A BETTER PLACE TO BE - Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.
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In June 2013, several medical professionals testified at a
TLC hearing in favor of crash testing a taxicab vehicle with the partition installed. Dr. John
Sherman, M.D., F.A.C.S. testified that the taxi partition has accounted for hundreds of injuries to
passengers throughout the years.
Similarly, other physicians who have treated passengers in
taxicab accidents noted that many of
the injuries they see are a result of the partition. Dr.
Charles DiMaggio, PhD specifically
explained that safety testing with the partition installed
would decrease the risk of passenger
head and face injuries because such testing would ensure
that partitions are designed so that they
do not interfere with airbag deployment.
To minimize injury to taxi passengers and drivers resulting
from partitions when a vehicle is
involved in an accident, the proposed rules require that the
vehicles described below be crash tested... by auto manufacturers... with the TLC authorized partition installed.
"Injuries involved in the partitions in taxis are easily avoidable by simply buckling up. I don't wish it upon anybody, but when your taxi driver must come to a short stop, the partition of a Nissan MV 200 is going to hurt just as much if you're not wearing your seat belt."
David Yasskey NYC TLC They are not easily avoided by front seat occupants, even with a seat belt buckled. The solution to the partition injury problem is to get the illegal partition hazards out of the cabs. There are two ways to do that. Remove the partitions completely, or use only certified federally compliant partitions. Until the NYC TLC stipulates federal compliance in the partition designs that they require, inspect and approve... losses can be attributable to the NYC TLC.
On August 29, 2008, Richard D. Emery, an attorney for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, wrote to automakers including Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Honda, General Motors and Volkswagen requesting that they certify that their hybrids or alternative fuel vehicles are manufacturer-approved to be used as taxicabs and safe when modified with partitions and other TLC requirements.
In a September 19th 2008 response to Mr. Emery, a spokesman for Honda said “Honda vehicles are not sold or recommended for use as taxicabs.”
However, in a July 16, 2008 industry notice informing taxi owners which vehicles they can purchase for taxi use, the TLC lists the Honda Civic [tag]Hybrid[/tag] as one of nine approved vehicles for taxi use.
Another automaker, Toyota, the largest manufacturer of hybrids in the world, has not responded to Mr. Emery.
However, a Toyota spokesman told the [tag]New York Times[/tag] on April 27, 2008, that “our engineers are nervous about it because they were not designed for commercial use.” According to the article, “Toyota did not help convert cars into taxis because they were not intended to be driven so heavily.” Still, in the July 16, 2008 TLC industry notice, the TLC lists 3 Toyotas, the Prius, Highlander and Camry on its approved vehicle list — 1/3 of all approved vehicles. Several Toyotas remain in service as New York City [tag]taxicabs[/tag].
Nissan, which claims to be committing up to 200 Altima Hybrid taxicabs per month, refers Mr. Emery to a July 23, 2008 TLC letter that claims the partitions do not hinder side curtain airbag deployment. Nissan offers no crash test results on Altimas that are modified with partitions and concludes its response by stating: “If you have an underlying concern with the mandate to use fuel efficient vehicles, this situation is a result of New York policies, not Nissan’s actions.”
At a September 10th 2008 [tag]New York City Council[/tag] hearing, [tag]Ford Motor Company[/tag] acknowledged that “there is an increased risk for belted occupants to contact the partition in a collision” for “any vehicle with a smaller occupant space than the stretch Crown Victoria” noting that it is “not unique to the Escape Hybrid” which indeed has much smaller occupant space than a stretch Crown Victoria.
Ford seems to be under the mistaken notion that a passengers' proximity, be it one foot... or three feet, to the partition, will somehow change the 30 mph passenger impact with the partition.
Ford refused to certify the crashworthiness of Escape Hybrid taxicabs outfitted with partitions, instead shifting responsibility to the TLC which it says “has an important job in making judgments that balance competing benefits and risks involving driver and customer safety in a unique operating environment.”
General Motors also refused to certify the crashworthiness of its Chevy Malibu Hybrid taxicab when modified with a partition or other TLC requirements. In a letter to Mr. Emery dated September 25th, 2008, GM wrote “your client’s concerns about the taxicab partitions required by the TLC should be addressed to the TLC.” GM was silent about the Saturn Vue Hybrid, which also appears on the TLC’s approved vehicle list.
Volkswagen, which produces a clean diesel Jetta that appears on the TLC approved list, was also asked to certify the safety, suitability and crashworthiness of its TLC-approved hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles when modified with partitions and placed into service as taxicabs but, to date, has not responded.
THE NYC TLC
The TLC has confirmed that it does not crash test hybrid taxicabs modified with partitions and says it relies, in large part, on federal testing to assert the safety of hybrid taxicabs. However, it has also been established that there are no federal crash tests for hybrid taxicabs modified with partitions — nor are there front or rear crash tests in unmodified hybrids for adult rear occupants, which comprise the majority of taxi passengers.
Hybrid automakers explicitly warn against any modifications to hybrid vehicles in the owner manuals. And indeed, according to automotive engineer C. Bruce Gambardella, partitions in hybrids are a “crude modification” that “changes the entire interior environment and takes us back about a half a century in automotive safety.”
Indeed, according to the federal law, the partition manufacturer must comply and certify compliance.
Richard D. Emery, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Honda, General Motors and Volkswagen and the NYC TLC all seem to be ignorant of this basic fact;
The USDOT may, after receiving complaints, ORDER crash testing to be done. Of course, after exposing millions of passengers to severe risks of head injury and or death, with disastrous results, any federally mandated crash testing would be redundant. We have plenty of data using real human victims. Just ask Dr. Sherman or Dr. Goldfrank.
Ford says the NYC TLC “has an important job in making judgments that balance competing benefits and risks involving driver and customer safety in a unique operating environment.”
Ford seems to be apologizing for the TLC's violations of federal safety laws..
The USDOT... HAS received numerous complaints. Copies of their recent dismissals are posted on this blog.
Also available since 5/6/13 on this blog, are copies of the earlier 'letters of warning' and a copy of a later three page legal interpretation of the applicability of the USDOT Law to partition performance in taxis and police cruisers, written by the Chief Counsel for the USDOT .
I have invited Dr. Goldfrank and Dr. Sherman, the MTBOT, the NYC TLC and Nissan to review these official letters and have never received any feedback from any of these parties about them.
Any taxi with the partition that has been required, inspected and approved by the TLC for 40+ years, such as the type still allowed for hybrids or HP's, is subjecting the occupants to serious injury from partition window edges. A major advance in taxi partition design was the elimination of the hazardous window edges. This feature first appeared in my design 34 years ago. The "no wondow" partition is a primary difference between the design and what has always been historically, required, inspected and approved, (until recently). The new partition design which is touted to be safer, now that crash test dummies have been used, has no window, as per my strongly worded advice to Nissan. Old formerly approved partitions with windows are now deemed to be unsafe for all... except HP and Hybrid taxis. HP and Hybrid taxi may continue to use the design with the window edges. This scenario ignores the crash testing that has been done with real people for over 40 years in NYC taxis. Considering that the CDC in Atlanta recently declared that partitioned taxis had no fewer murders than those without partitions, wouldn't it be smart to eliminate the partition requirement? Let those who use - decide.
For many years the news media and the police in New Orleans made a fatal mistake. That is, until 1997. Boston, New York and many other cities still have it wrong and more people die from being shot, because of this policy error.
In 1997 - the New Orleans Times Picayune changed their editorial policy from the usual story; "Witless, vulnerable dupe of a cab driver - easily slain in a remote area, by a lone gunman, who used the taxi for his get-away. Police have few leads" This actually inspires more aggression against the apparently unarmed cab driver.
When it becomes less apparent that the driver is unarmed, crime goes down.
The Times Picayune newspaper published an editorial that called partitions ineffective but also said they probably should be required for taxis. I called the writer of the editorial and suggested that portraying cab drivers as vulnerable... is risky, for cab drivers.
The standard operating procedure, as advised by the police authorities, is, for the driver to yield to aggressors and surrender anything demanded by the assailant.
I suggested that the Times Picayune newspaper start describing New Orleans cab drivers as deadly, when faced with a deadly threat. I suggested they run with the angle that it is dangerous to try to rob a New Orleans cab driver, not easy. After all, it is true, that many New Orleans cab drivers DO carry firearms.
That conversation took place in 1997. From 1994 to 1997 - 13 cab drivers were shot dead. After the change in the editorial policy took place in 1997, the murder rate went to zero for over ten years. This happened in the deadliest city, in the deadliest occupation. Had the usual editorial policy remained in place, as many as 30 cab drivers might have been shot dead in those ten years.
This is what I've been SAYING FOR YEARS!!!! 79 kilos of force is what you get when you break the hard glass. When a passenger hits the hard lexan of a taxi or police cruiser partition in the U.S. it STOPS them. You don't pass through it. It STOPS you. It certainly causes death, frequently. Currently, tests are being conducted with the new 'iconic' Nissan NV200 NYC taxicabs, using dummies, for the first time. It has been decided by the NYC TLC that the partitions used in NYC taxis for the last 40 years... needs no more testing. It has failed and will no longer be acceptable for most NYC cabs. The evidence that they maim and kill is overwhelming. The TLC still allows the inferior partitions in handicap and hybrid cabs, strangely.
There has been a long lasting 'war on drugs' in the US... for decades. It is not unfair to call 'cab driving' territory, the 'front line' of that war, or where the most fatal assault occurs. Are drug addled US addicts more effective at killing than AlQuida?
Here is an answer to the question; "Which is deadlier... war or cab driving?"
The casualty rate in the military has consistently dropped in the US from the Revolutionary war to where we are today. For the latest statistics we have - 2008, there were 1,441 deaths out of 1,683,144 active duty. Of those deaths, however, only 352 were from hostile action, and 43 by homicide - a total of 395 out of 1,683,144, or .023%. The rest were from illness or accident.
By contrast 154,000 active Full Time (I'm including only full time drivers, to match the criteria in the military statistics, but this ALSO includes limo drivers). taxicab and limousine drivers were counted in the 2000 Census and during the same year, an astonishing 49 murders were reported (it is suspected that 49 is lower than the actual number). So the murder rate for full time taxi drivers in the US is .032%.
So for individuals who willingly entered into combat, the death rate is 0.023%, while the murder rate for an individual who signed up to transport people from one place to another so they could support their families is 0.032%.
It is worth noting that combat slain soldiers' loved ones get benefits. Cab drivers do not. Although the honors bestowed on military slain are not enough. My brother suffered from the effects of agent orange. Not enough can be done for these people who sacrificed their health and sometimes their lives. In the past when a cab driver was killed, newspaper reports often cited a theory that the driver may or may not have angered the passenger prior to the assault. Many assaults were scrutinized by the police to get an understanding of whether or not... the assault was 'provoked'. Often the first question by the police was, "Did the driver do anything to anger the assailant?" There was an unspoken suspicion that some drivers brought it on themselves, by being rude or by overcharging.
I contend that if cab drivers follow the example of New Orleans, the fatal assault rate would be so small, it will be difficult to quantify such small numbers. In New Orleans, there were 13 killed in 3 years, 94-97. When the newspapers stopped the tear-jerking stories about the poor, witless, vulnerable cab driver who was so easily slain, in a remote area, for a large amount of cash, and only wrote stories where cab drivers PREVAILED in fatal assault attempts, four drivers were shot at, from 97-2003. Three times drivers returned fire. Two attackers were slain. No charges against any drivers for weapon violations. The cab driver murder rate dropped to zero for 13 years, in the deadliest US occupation, in the deadliest US city.
"To minimize injury to taxi passengers and drivers resulting from partitions when a vehicle is
involved in an accident, the rules require that the vehicles described below be crash tested by
auto manufacturers with the TLC authorized partition installed. A limited exception is made for
hybrid electric and accessible vehicles, allowing such vehicles to be hacked up as taxicabs until
one hybrid electric and one accessible vehicle, respectively, are crash tested with a TLC
authorized partition. Requiring crash testing with TLC authorized partitions ensures that all auto
manufacturers looking to participate in the New York City taxi market are held to the same high