It is well-known that many taxi cab passengers do not wear seat belts when they are in a taxi, even though they wear them dutifully while driving and riding in other vehicles. When passengers do not wear seat belts, they are more likely to end in the emergency room after smashing into the partitions designed to protect cab drivers.
Injuries from taxi cab crashes can be horrific, especially when seatbelts are not worn. On average, there is a mere 16 to 19-inch span between a rider’s nose and the driver partition. Although there are vehicles being developed with partitions that pose less of a danger to passengers, the current partitions contain metal nuts and bolts, credit card machines and change cups. As a result, unbelted passengers often suffer extensive facial injuries, even when they are involved in minor fender-benders or their cabs stop short in traffic.
According to the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, there are nearly 6,000 people involved in taxi-related accidents annually. Out of the approximately 1,700 people injured, 1,500 were seated in the back seat at the time of the accident. The resounding message from doctors, public officials, and cab drivers: Always wear a seatbelt, regardless of how short the ride will be. After all, the majority of taxi trips are short.
Wearing a seatbelt is a good step toward staying safe in a taxi. However passengers clearly cannot control other elements of the chaotic New York City streets, like aggressive and inattentive drivers, or jaywalkers. If you have been injured as a passenger in a taxi cab, consult an experienced New York personal injury attorney so that you can protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.