Buttons Would Connect To NYPD; TLC Preaches Safety, Vows To Review Legislation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A city lawmaker is introducing legislation requiring a panic button be installed in passenger areas of all taxi cabs and livery vehicles.

The button would connect directly to the police, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

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Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, who is co-sponsoring the measure, said the February rape of a woman in the back of a green cab prompted the bill’s creation.

The victim said she had no way to call for help.

“She felt totally helpless. She had no ability to call for help. She had no way to reach out to anyone to stop this tragic experience from happening,” Cumbo said.

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Asked what if a drunk decides to push the button for kicks, Cumbo said safety cannot be provided out of fear that somebody will misuse the device, Lamb reported.

“You will always have that challenge in any sort of situation,” Cumbo said, using the example of an emergency brake on a train.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez told CBS2’s Meg Baker the panic button technology is already implemented. Currently, drivers have an emergency button for a distress light on the roof of their vehicle.

“Passengers should also have opportunity to push the button,” Rodriguez said.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission released a statement saying: “The safety of our drivers and our passengers is a top priority of the TLC. We’ll review the legislation.”

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The legislation is only in the beginning stages. There are currently no cost estimates for the installation and no decision on who would pay for the panic buttons, Baker reported.