Punishing Cabbies is Not Enough


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Proposal to crack down on reckless cab drivers won't solve the problem


By Ian Alterman


Upper West Side I am on the fence as to whether this is an "attack" on cab drivers, since they are involved, percentage-wise, in the majority of collisions in New York City. However, I am not on the fence as to another aspect: that this proposal is not nearly broad enough.


At the public memorial for Cooper Stock ? the young boy who was killed on West End Avenue and 97th Street by a taxi that failed to yield to the pedestrians in a crosswalk ? Comptroller Scott Stringer made an incisive observation: there is something inherently wrong with a system in which a driver who kills someone is generally treated the same way as a driver who double-parks; i.e., they get a ticket.


At the most recent Community Board 7 meeting, the Transportation Committee put forth a resolution asking that, within the five boroughs, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles permanently revoke the license of any driver who causes the death of or severe injury to a pedestrian, and is subsequently convicted in a civil court (i.e., Traffic Court, Taxi & Limousine Commission court) of infractions such as failure to yield or speeding (the two most common causes of pedestrian fatalities and injuries) ? whether or not said driver is also charged with a criminal offense. And while this would seem unduly harsh (I would suggest suspension of a license for a minimum of one year in the case of severe injury, and revocation of a license in the case of death), it is definitely a long-overdue step in the right direction.


Cabs certainly cause their share of collisions, including pedestrian fatalities and severe injuries. But they are obviously not the only vehicles that do so. Any "crack down" on drivers who kill or severely injure pedestrians needs to go much further than just taxicabs.


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