Anyone who has ever been in a Manhattan taxi knows it can be a hair-raising experience. And it can also be a very dangerous one, because of the plastic partitions in cabs that are meant to protect their drivers from robberies and assaults.
The problem is that most passengers don’t wear a seat belt when they are in the back of a cab. So when tax’s come to an abrupt stop, as often happens in Big Apple traffic, passengers are slamming their faces and heads into the plastic partitions, sustaining serious injuries.
In response, the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission has asked Nissan to go to the drawing board and design a new partition that won’t inflict so much harm on cab passengers, according to WCBS-TV and the Daily News.
This state-of-the-art partition will be built into the 2013 “Taxi of Tomorrow” that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will introduce next month. That initiative is part of the city’s bid to create a uniform taxi fleet in the city.
That new cab, with its new partition, will be subject to crash testing by federal safety regulators.
The current taxi partitions are only 16 to 19 inches from the faces of passengers, so when a cab stops short riders wind up hitting their heads hard, ending up in an emergency room with head injuries.
In addition, many of the partitions have sharp nuts and bolts, and gear like credit-card machines, which can really slice up a face thrown up against them.
It’s a great idea to redesign these partitions so they protect not only taxi drivers, but taxi passengers, as well.