Are NYC cabbies working too long per shift?

This past weekend New York City saw a number of tragic motor vehicle accidents. However, of the accidents, one incident stands out and may lead one to think that maybe it could have in fact been avoided.

Around 12:40 am on Sunday, a New York City taxi driver, hit an older woman near Columbus Avenue and 109th Street, located just a block from the woman’s home. The driver was arrested almost 4 hours later at around 4:25 am. The driver was charged with the failure to yield to pedestrians, as the victim was in the crosswalk at the time of the accident.

After his arrest, the driver said how he had been behind the wheel of this cab for around 16 hours. The limit that a cabbie is supposed to be on the road is 12 hours. One must beg the question if the extra 4 hours on shift, hindered the driver’s abilities or reflexes at all. As a result of the accident, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) suspended the driver’s license.

By law, cabbies are not allowed to work more than 12-hour shifts at a time. But according go the NY Post, the driver’s son has said how his father works 16 hour shifts- at minimum- each week on Saturdays in order to support the family which consists of 4 children aged 18-30.

Reports by the Mayor have stated how Vision Zero has been reducing the number of traffic accidents by around 16%. However, other reports claim that it has only reduced the number of accidents by a mere 1.4%. According to an article in the NY Post, “So far this year, total injuries and deaths as a result of crashes have only decreased 1.4 percent over the same period last year. And the total number of crashes actually rose by more than 5 percent: 182,003 this year compared to 172,366 over the same period in 2014, according to the data.”

At the end of the day one must ponder if this accident could have been avoided. Even though the law requires a cabbie to drive a maximum 12 hour shift, why was this cabbie on the road for 4 hours past this limit? Do those 4 extra hours have any effect on the driver’s capabilities? Could this have been avoided if the driver hadn’t gone past the legal limit of hours per shift?



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