Seat Belt Safety in a Taxi

 In Chicago, Travel

Yellow_Cabs_in_New_YorkSafety is our main priority here at SMART Cars because we know that accidents can happen in any type of vehicle which is why we wanted to share this story. This tragic incident happened in a yellow taxi cab but it brings to light just how important safety standards are in the ground transportation industry in general. Whether you’re riding in a stretch limo, a black town car or a yellow cab, you should always insist on a seat belt.

The ‘Beautiful Mind’ mathematician John Nash and his wife were killed in a NJ turnpike taxi crash after returning from Newark Airport from a trip to Norway where Nash had received a prestigious math award.  The tragic taxi crash has sparked some debate over the necessity of wearing seat belts in cabs; which as it turns out, is optional in many areas, but it probably shouldn’t be.

Currently, thanks to a bizarre exemption, cab passengers aren’t required to buckle up, a law that may change in the future thanks to a Vision Zero proposal, but still won’t mandate that backseat passengers over the age of 16 stay belted, at least according to New York State law. Ask your friends and coworkers and see how many actually put on a seat belt every time they get into a taxi. The reality may surprise and alarm you.

Equally disturbing is the fact that here in Chicago, “When riding in a commercial vehicle, such as a taxi, young children do not have to be contained to a restraint device.” According to an article on  A new law passed in Illinois that went into effect January 1, 2012 that amended Section 12-603.1 closing this loophole and mandating that everyone must wear a safety belt inside a vehicle. However, it still states that passengers who ride in the rear seat of a taxi are not required to wear a safety belt! How is this a safe decision? Doesn’t every vehicle stand the same risk of getting into an accident?

Statistics show that 1 in 3 car crashes happen about a mile from home. According to the Taxi & Limousine Commission, around 65 percent of cab passengers don’t bother wearing seat belts. Statistics from 2009 show that in 4,093 cab accidents, only 41 percent of passengers were belted. According to TLC statistics from 2013, 95 passengers were injured during NYC taxi and livery cab crashes. In 65 percent of those crashes, the injured person neglected to wear a seat belt.

Of course, even the long arm of the law won’t necessarily scare people into using seatbelts. In fact, the Nashes were actually breaking the law by not buckling up—in New Jersey, where they died, all passengers are required to wear seat belts. They’re also not the only celebrities whose recent deaths might have been prevented by seat restraints. CBS News correspondent Bob Simon, who was killed in a livery cab crash on the West Side Highway in February, was not wearing a seat belt at the time. 

“Seat belts save lives, so, if there was ever a time that the existing exemption made sense, it certainly doesn’t make sense to us here and now…..the bottom line is that, like everything we’re doing as part of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero Action Plan, this would bring us closer to our goal of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries,” spokesperson Allan Fromberg said.

So ask around and find out who is wearing seat belts in cabs, limos and town cars and then remind them of this story. You may save a life. Share your stories with us on Twitter @smartcars1 via hashtag #cabcrash.


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