NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Doctors say that taxi passengers who neglect to wear seat belts are suffering from terrible facial injuries, even in minor fender-benders.

“This is a New York City tragedy and public health issue that has not changed in almost two decades,” Dr. Lewis Goldfrank, chairman of emergency medicine at Bellevue Hospital and NYU Langone Medical Center told the Daily news. “We don’t have a good system to count them, but there isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t see at least two patients with these terrible injuries.”

To combat the threat of these major injuries the Taxi and Limousine Commission has asked Nissan to develop new partitions that will reduce the amount of damage done when cabs stop short and passengers haven’t buckled up.

The barriers that are currently being used have protruding steel nuts and bolts, as well as credit card machines and change cups all at face level. The average distance between a rider’s face and the partition is 16-19 inches.

Rider Thomas Evans failed to wear a seat belt during a cab ride and suffered facial cuts, a broken nose, and a massive gash on his forehead.

Cab driver Pierre Serge said that riders are “paying more attention to their phones than safety.”

Doctors have called for increased vigilance on the part of cab drivers, stating that they should not leave the curb until all riders have buckled up.

Do you always remember to buckle up when riding in a cab? Let us know in our comments section below…

Comments (8)
  1. Bullett says:

    Two decades of partition improvements for driver security and additions of electronic gadgets for the passenger amusement, and the TLC over looks passenger safety! How did this happen? True, while most cabs only have a lap belt for the center passenger, newer cabs now have shoulder/lap (same as outboard passengers) combos. However, hopefully Nissan who is working with the TLC on a new cab design can come up with a fix for this problem, like the padded dash board when it was first marketed in the 50’s, unless of course if one includes the 1948 Tucker. Too bad he (Tucker) isn’t here today. I’m sure he could come up with a solution to this problem.

    1. Steven Crowell says:

      Until side impact airbags became mandatory I offered a federally compliant partition configuration. A design lauded by police for taxi and police car use. Unfortunately, now – since the side impact airbag req. – not even my partition configuration can avoid conflict with the airbag deployment zone, since the side bags (SIAB’s) are now mandatory. I would like to see an airbag in my partition (across the head impact area of the back of the front seat) as an alternative to SIAB’s. That way any legal partition would again be in harmony with remaining airbags.

  2. Spikedance says:

    Who are all of these people that have taken over Manhattan? Now they need instructions on how to ride in a cab? They have instructions on the subway as to how to ride the subway. I’ve encountered other areas that are common sense among New Yorkers but have to be explained to people today. Please go back home to where you are comfortable.

    1. Steven Crowell says:

      I think the point is the regulator needs to learn how to comply with federal safety standards.

  3. david parker says:

    i am a cab driver and 1 out of 50 rides i get a ride of three people, so you want to outweight the importance of seat belts just it might endanger the middle passanger in the back seat ?? please get back on ur med.

    1. Steven Crowell says:

      I don’t outweigh the importance of seat belts. Whatever that means. Do you put any importance on compliance with federal safety law? The partitions are illegal and deadly. Collisions are more frequent than robberies. I took my meds, what is your excuse?

      1. david parker says:

        GTF outta my cab!

  4. Steven Crowell says:

    Wearing a seat belt cannot protect a front seat occupant from partition injury. My spine dented a steel partition when I was rear ended. Seat belts might help outboard rear seat occupants from impact, but often the center seat has only a lap restraint. That is very bad. Wearing a lap restraint allows your torso to jack-knife forward striking the partition with more force than if there were no belt at all. So, at best saying seat belt use is the answer is wrongheaded because it won’t help 4 out of six occupants. Correct the federal safety violations, correct the TLC’s illegal requirements, correct the state inspection procedure to scrutinize partitions for legality.

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