Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No Surprise: Taxi accident rate shown to be 4x higher than normal

Taxis can frequently be observed violating the traffic laws in New Haven. On one recent day, New Haven Safe Streets Coalition coordinators observed radar equipment as several Metro Taxi drivers drove at speeds of up to 52 miles per hour in a 25mph, residential zone. This type of behavior needs to be immediately stopped before it results in a major injury. Similar concerns have been echoed in New York City for years by NHSS Coalition member Transportation Alternatives and others.

It appears that local residents now have allies in Hartford when it comes to the lack of standards for taxi companies. This text from a December 9th press release by the office of State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, a supporter of New Haven Safe Streets Petition:

Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (D-New Haven) and Senator Edward Meyer (D-Guilford), Co-chair of the Program Review & Investigations Committee, say results of the legislature’s investigation of the taxicab industry in Connecticut are both surprising and troubling. The report shows that the industry has unusually high accident rates, lack of uniform inspection standards, and varying and unpredictable taxicab rates across Connecticut.

“This report should be a wake-up call for anyone who has ever used a taxi,” said Senator Looney. “It raises serious questions about safety, inspections, and the rates that customers pay. I am committed to putting the brakes on these practices that put the public and taxi drivers at risk.”

The Committee’s findings include: 1) Of 43 vehicles recently inspected by DMV and DOT at two train stations and Bradley International Airport, 41 failed the inspection (95 percent failure rate) including at least six vehicles towed from the inspection site, 2)The Connecticut taxi accident rate is twice as high as the school bus accident rate and more than quadruple the passenger vehicle rate, 3) ....

“The Program Review & Investigations Committee has provided a roadmap for reform,” said Senator Meyer. “Their recommendation should be taken seriously as we look to improve service and safety for customers and workers. I look forward to leading this effort beginning with the next legislative session in January.”