New York City Looks at Limiting Cab Driver Shifts

nyctaxi New York City is moving to limit the number of consecutive hours taxi and limo drivers can work after a fatal taxicab accident involving a drowsy cab driver. According to a report in Huffington Post, the move from the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission comes just months after Uber limited its New York City drivers to 12-hour shifts. Now the Commission has proposed new rules that would limit cab drivers’ work hours to no more than 12 within a 24-hour period and no more than 72 in any given week. Drivers would also be required to take an eight-hour break after working 12 hours.

Closing the Loopholes
Commissioners are hoping that this proposal would close a number of significant loopholes and get fatigued or drowsy drivers off the road. Under current rules, taxi drivers are only allowed to work 12-hour shifts. But even a few minutes’ break counts as “time between shifts.” This loophole allows drivers to work continuously without taking much needed breaks.
The new proposal by the Commission will affect all for-hire vehicles in the city including black cars and limos. Commissioners also said they were motivated to act after a tragic accident in November 2015 when a sleep-deprived cab driver struck and fatally injured an 88-year-old woman on the Upper West Side. The proposal is also part of the city’s Vision Zero program to eliminate pedestrian accidents and fatalities. The Commission is expected to vote on the proposal in July.
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Sleep and driving obviously don’t mix. Most people are well aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, but often don’t realize that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous. Like alcohol, drowsiness slows reaction time, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and increases your risk of getting involved in a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since currently it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.
Why This New Rule is Important
According to the National Sleep Foundation, drivers who don’t get sufficient sleep include commercial drivers who operate vehicles for lengthy periods, shift workers, drivers with sleep disorders and drivers who take medications (prescription or over the counter) that may make them drowsy.
Commercial drivers such as truck and bus drivers are already subject to federal laws limiting the number of consecutive hours they can be on the road. However, cab drivers who operate on city streets are not subject to any type of regulations when it comes to how long they can drive without taking any breaks. According to news reports, many cab drivers and limousine companies are complaining to the city about this proposed regulation by the Commission saying that they will lose earnings.
However, the fatal accident involving the elderly woman is evidence that this type of regulation is necessary for the safety of others on the roadway. While it is true that cab drivers or rideshare operators would potentially make more money when working longer hours, it should not be at the expense of the safety of other road users. When these drivers operate their vehicles without sufficient rest and breaks, they put themselves, their passengers and others on the roadway in grave danger.
Injuries and Damages
Whether you are a passenger in a taxicab or limousine, a bicyclist or pedestrian, injuries that occur as a consequence of fatigued or drowsy driving can be devastating. There is the potential for severe injuries in these crashes such as head injuries, spinal cord trauma, broken bones and internal organ damage. Injured victims of such accidents caused by negligence can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income and benefits, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a taxicab accident or if you have lost a loved one in an auto accident caused by a reckless driver or due to someone else’s negligence, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a man who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury cases in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
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