City Cracks Down on Chatty Cabbies -- Finally

New laws will take effect in mid-January

By Jennifer Millman
|  Friday, Dec 18, 2009  |  Updated 11:15 AM EDT
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City Cracks Down on Chatty Cabbies -- Finally

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Turn around and face front, hack.

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It's the law. Cabbies are no longer allowed to use any type of electronic device – cell phones, iPods, cameras, even hands-free devices – while driving their charges around the city, according to new regulations passed by yesterday.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission unanimously approved the new rules, which will take effect next month. Drivers who deign to violate the law could have their licenses suspended. And those who break the rules three times could lose it forever.

"This will go a long way in eradicating the problem of distracted driving that exists today among our driver licensees. This was a major victory for the riding and walking public," TLC Commissioner Matthew Daus said in a statement.

Cabbies and industry advocates complain the ban will prevent them from being clued in on important family matters, reports The New York Post.

But for passengers, it's about time the TLC cracks down on this menace. They're tired of fearing for their lives as drivers jabber away, swerving in and out of traffic, speeding up instead of slowing at yellow lights and slamming on the breaks at any given moment.

So what if the driver's got an earpiece and can still keep both hands on the wheel? Research indicates that's just as dangerous as talking with the phone in your hand. It's not the use of hands that's the problem; it's the distraction of conversation.

The new laws forbid even the use of touch-screen GPS devices unless they're voice activated, according to the Post. All drivers of vehicles regulated by the TLC, including limos, commuter vans and taxicabs, must comply with the regulations.

Oh, and if a driver violates the rules or does something else to make you angry, there's a new Web site where you can go to complain about it.

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