Even though NYC taxis are now clean and free of unpleasant odors, so many of us have had to endure a taxi ride listening to the driver talk incessantly on his/her cell phone. I’ve even had a driver miss a crucial turn because he was more focused on his phone call than my destination and my warning him that the turn was coming up. My ride ended up costing me double the amount.
But starting in mid-January, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has banned NYC taxi drivers from using ‘any electronic device in the immediate propinquity of the driver’s ear’.
That means that not only can drivers cannot wear a hands-free headset, even if they ARE NOT talking on the phone, but they cannot use ANY electronic device while the cab is in motion — things that take pictures, play music, etc.
If they do, they can incur a fine and can lose their license after three violations.
Currently, there has been a ban only on cellphone usage by taxi drivers, even when they’re using a hands-free device. We know, it’s been hard to tell there has been a ban!
“This will go a long way in eradicating the problem of distracted driving that exists today among our driver licensees. This was a major victory for the riding and walking public,” said TLC Commissioner Matthew Daus.
We all know how annoying it is to listen to the driver talking constantly, and usually in a foreign language. But to play devil’s advocate, how many accidents actually happen because the driver is on his/her phone? Also, any ‘regular’ driver of vehicle is legally allowed to use a hands-free device to talk on a cell phone.
Many cab drivers say they need to have constant access to their cellphones to stay in touch with family members and be available for emergencies during long shifts. We don’t have an issue with that argument, but that situation is vastly different than talking all shift long.
Time will tell how this will all work out. It’s going to be tough for police to identify and ticket a cab driver with a hands-free device in his/her ear, but we’ll let you know how this all turns out.
What do you think about this new ban?