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Should You Buckle Up In A Taxi Cab?

Our legal team at Banville Law understands taxicabs are among the most convenient modes of travel from one place to another. It can be a reasonable option and especially if you are traveling as a group. Apart from saving you the hassle of finding a parking space, taxi services offer a fast and flexible means of transportation.

Normally, taxi services do not pose any danger. Nonetheless, when it is not your day, you might find yourself on the receiving end. Hence, it is important to implement effective personal safety measures and be mindful of those little things when in a taxi cab. Whether you're in the front seat or rear seat of a taxi, making use of a safety belt is usually the most effective way to avoid severe injuries in case of an accident. Yet, most people find themselves riding free of the seat belts and especially when in the back of a taxi cab.

NYC Law On Seat Belts

clicking a seat beltIf you don't buckle up when you're a passenger in a taxi cab, you aren't alone. In New York City, cab motorists, other vehicles-for-hire, and their customers are immune from laws concerning car seats and seat belts.  It's ironic that while the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission exempts taxicab motorists, for-hire vehicles, and their passengers from laws regarding car seats and safety belts, it also encourages everyone in the vehicle to buckle up while riding in a taxi. Passengers are also advised to carry their own car seats when traveling with children. On a wider view, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (represents state highway safety offices) New York is among the 22 states that do not necessitate safety seat belts for grown-ups in the back seats.

A Seat Belt Can Save Your Life

The truth is that the safety of passengers in cabs has been a plaguing issue in New York for some time now. Well, according to a survey by the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, 65% of taxi passengers don't bother using the taxi's seat belts; on the other hand, 90% of the taxi passengers use seat belts when in private cars. Wearing a seat belt when traveling in a taxicab or any other motor vehicle can save your life; it really doesn't matter whether you're in the front seat or the rear seat of a car - the seat belt is a life saver. So, how do folks kid themselves that it's "safe" enough to do without a seat belt?

Seat Belt Ignorance Is Definitely A Recipe For Disaster

People should not always wait for tragic accidents to happen so as to be reminded that the laws of physics still apply to cabs and other cars-for-hire. In 2012, the New York Daily News reported that taxicabs occupants who didn't bother with seat belts were being rushed to the city's emergency rooms with grave injuries sustained from slamming into the solid plastic partition that separates the back seat passengers with the taxi driver. You will not be safer in a taxi by magic. Most people ignore seat belts while in taxicabs because they are not in them for long periods of time; while others treat taxicabs like any other public transport vehicle that lacks seat belts.

A Motor Vehicle's Rear Seat Is Not As Safe As You Thought

Federal data shows that many people actually believe that the rear seat is naturally safer, and are thus less motivated to buckle-up when riding there. Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in 2012, 1,811 vehicle passengers who occupied rear seats were killed in crashes. Evidence showed that 61% of these passengers were not using seat belts at the time whereas 39% were. In the same year, 19,402 people were killed in the front seat of passenger vehicles. 50% showed evidence of having been buckled up whereas the other 50% did not.

It shouldn't be a debate - a safety belt should be a fundamental requirement in a taxicab for any self-loving passenger out there.

Read more on taxi cab accidents here:

Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: September 11, 2015
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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