Saturday, October 17, 2009

TLC Proposes Cell Phone Ban for Taxi Drivers

The Taxi and Limousine Commission wants to ban New York hacks from talking on cell phones while they drive, according to the New York Post. The crackdown even pertains to cabbies using hands-free headsets.

Taxi drivers everywhere, I predict, will be in an uproar. And who can blame them? It must get lonely, with no one to talk to all day. Maybe they want to talk to their families on the other side of the world. Or maybe they want to complain to each other about the jerk customers in the backs of their cabs.

But I have to say, I'm all for ban. Studies show that people driving while on the phone -- even using hands-free headsets -- are as dangerous as drunk drivers. (Read a New York Times piece on this topic.)

Full disclosure: My dad used to manage a trucking company, and I spent my teenage years having driver safety rules pounded into my head. The fist rule: driving is not a passive activity. You need to be aware. Don't put on your make-up while driving, don't drive with a hot coffee in your lap because it could spill, always know what the drivers around you are doing.

And when you're on the phone, you're just not aware.

Anyway, the TLC will have a public hearing on the new rules and will likely vote on them before year-end. And if the rule is passed, cabbies caught three times talking on the phone will have their licenses ripped away.

I predict many people will disagree with me. Feel free to weigh in.

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