When you see a taxicab in a movie or TV show, what city do you automatically assume you’re in? Probably New York, right?
Taxis here are so prevalent that they have become a symbol of the Big Apple itself. How prevalent are they? In 2016, New York City taxicab drivers provided more than 16 million taxicab rides to residents and visitors. Thousands of New York City residents depend on taxicabs for daily transportation.
For the most part, this is a good thing. It’s hard to drive here, and cabs provide a quick and efficient means of getting around. There is a dark side, though.
With so many taxis operating in New York City every day, accidents are more common than you may realize. Most of the time these are fairly minor, but not always. Sometimes serious injuries – and even fatalities – result. These injuries typically involve automobile drivers and passengers, but can also be sustained by pedestrians, bicyclists, and other bystanders.
If a taxi crash occurs and you experience an injury, you need to be informed about your legal protections.
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission regulates the operation of taxicabs. They require rigorous training of all their drivers, and strive to provide these safety measures for all taxicab riders:
- A taxicab driver who is courteous and safely operates the vehicle
- Seat belts for all vehicle occupants
- No use of cell phone by driver while driving, though a hands-free system may be used
Of course, one of the best ways to stay safe is to understand the common reasons that taxicab crashes occur.
Even though taxicab drivers must refrain from texting while driving, distracted driving is still a common reason for taxicab crashes. Talking on the phone or in-cab radio can provide a distraction. Conversations, radio controls, eating, and leaning over to reach for something can all cause disastrous results.
Many taxicab drivers work long shifts, and the excessive hours can take their toll. Drivers may experience sensory impairment and decreased judgment from lack of sleep. If fatigue plays a role in a taxicab crash, the driver or their company may be held liable for your personal injury damages.
These types of driving errors are the top cause of taxicab crashes. Any time a driver makes aggressive lane changes, tailgates another vehicle, fails to yield, runs red lights, or drives too fast, they put you at a high risk for injury in a crash. If your driver is using aggressive behavior, end your ride and hail another taxi cab to protect yourself.
Unsafe weather conditions
Sometimes the weather plays a role in a crash. Fog, rain, snow, or ice can create dangerous driving conditions. If your driver improperly operates the taxi under these conditions, they may be held liable for an accident.
If you have the choice between riding in a yellow taxi or a blue taxi, it’s actually safer to choose the yellow taxi. Statistical evidence has shown that yellow taxis are more visible on the road, and thus experience fewer crashes than blue taxis. To stay safer as a taxicab passenger, choose a yellow taxi every time.
Driving under the influence
Though taxicab drivers are routinely screened for drug or alcohol use on the job, it can still play a role in a crash. Pay attention to signs of inebriation or irregular behavior, and refuse to ride with a driver who seems to be under the influence of any controlled substance. Make sure to report the situation to the cab company as well, so other passengers don’t wind up injured.
The Taxi and Limousine Commission is responsible for regular inspections and maintenance of all vehicles. However, vehicle malfunctions may occur and result in taxicab crashes. Tires may blow out, seat belts may lose function, brakes may fail, or other parts of the vehicle may play a role in a crash.
Poor road conditions
Potholes can cause serious problems for any driver. When a taxicab driver encounters a pothole, the impact has the possibility of injuring passengers like yourself.
If construction zones are not properly marked or contained, they can interfere with the driver’s ability to safely navigate the roadway. In this case, the Department of Transportation may be held responsible for damages. Also, if a taxicab driver fails to follow speed limits in construction zones, they may cause a crash to occur.
Remember, you should never have to pay for the mistake of another. If negligence plays any role in your taxicab injury, the driver, taxicab company, or other parties may be held responsible for damages.
If you have been injured in a taxicab crash, it’s important to seek the assistance of an experienced New York personal injury attorney. Schedule a consultation today to see what damages may be available for your injuries.