Cab Drivers Need to be Held Responsible for Reckless Driving


Brigitte Ayaz/The Observer


Brigitte Ayaz/The Observer
(Brigitte Ayaz/The Observer)

This past August, a cab driver struck British tourist, Sian Green, on Sixth Avenue and 50th Street and cost her a left leg. According to the New York Daily News, Faysal Himon, the driver, was arguing with a bicyclist while behind the wheel. Instead of hitting the brakes, he hit the gas pedal of the car. Greene suffered for six weeks at Bellevue Hospital; meanwhile, Himon essentially escaped with a slap on the wrist. His license was suspended for only 30 days and he hasn’t yet faced any criminal charges. Himon maintains that he is not fully responsible for the accident and blames the bicyclist for distracting him.

Cab drivers’ constant disregard for traffic laws and the lack of punishment for offending drivers has put New York City (NYC) residents, commuters and tourists on edge. This type of accident is not hard to imagine, but what’s alarming is that the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) often turn a blind eye. It was Himon’s responsibility as a driver to be aware of his surroundings—not only was he driving in broad daylight but he was in Manhattan, a perpetual gridlock. According to, 10 people have been killed by New York cab drivers since February 2012. The New York Post lists five incidents between 2011 and 2013 in which cabbies hit and fatally injured pedestrians yet didn’t face criminal charges, much to the distress of the pedestrians’ families.

The NYPD needs to be proactive and willing to file reports made by victims. It’s up to them to make the judgment call, and, according to the NY Post, they won’t file charges unless they witness the crash. It’s unrealistic to suggest that they have to be at the scene of an accident in order to press criminal charges, especially if there are several other witnesses ready to testify. It almost seems as if they are trying to protect the drivers by keeping mum and letting accidents fade into the background.

This isn’t the first time a taxi driver hit a pedestrian, and it most likely won’t be the last if the NYPD and TLC don’t step it up. As someone who has lived in NYC practically her entire life, I’ve seen cabbies that stop too close to the curb or try to drive through herds of people even when pedestrians have the right of way. It’s pretty clear where the TLC’s loyalty lies, as they’re taking the coward’s way out by not confronting cabbies. For a commission that requires a great deal of fees from drivers, they aren’t putting their money to good use if they don’t even have the resources regulate their own drivers.

Although the NYPD expanded their Collision Investigation Squad (CIS), they still aren’t going to great lengths to investigate injury cases. reported that by choosing to only investigate “critical injury cases,” the NYPD is violating New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 603-a, which states, “whenever a motor vehicle accident results in serious physical injury or death to a person…the police shall conduct an investigation of  such accident.” The CIS is supposed to seek justice on behalf of New Yorkers, but are, instead, allowing guilty cabbies to continue to drive while their victims are forced to rebuild their lives and heal from the physical and emotional wounds inflicted upon them.

Cabbies need to be punished because otherwise, they will only continue to drive aggressively and endanger pedestrians. A 30-day license suspension is miniscule compared to an amputated leg or death. It’s not to say that we as pedestrians aren’t responsible for watching out for oncoming traffic because cabbies aren’t always to blame in a collision. Rather, it should be a two-way street.