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Fatal accident: Unrestrained taxi passengers at huge risk

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Authorities are concerned about the number of deaths that are reported involving passengers in the backseats of vehicles in New York. After the tragic deaths of Nobel Prize winner John Nash and his wife in a fatal accident, concern escalated. The couple were passengers in a taxi that was involved in an accident.

Research indicates that backseat fatalities could be lowered by 17 percent if seat belt laws are changed to enforce restraining backseat passengers. Data collected by the Department of Transportation shows that 22 percent of passengers in backseats fail to wear seat belts. However, only 38 percent of passengers in taxis buckle up, according to the New York City Taxi Commission.

A New York cab driver with 20 years of experiences says despite posting a sign in his taxi urging passengers to wear their seat belts or pay a $50 fine, passengers rarely wear their seat belts. The CEO and president of the National Safety Council reminds people that backseat passengers are at the same risk as front seat passengers. Wearing seat belts can prevent passengers from being ejected in the events of accidents, giving them a much better chance of survival.

While there is a push for legislation to make the failure to wear seat belts when traveling in a taxi cab illegal, fatalities still continue to occur. Nevertheless, wearing a seat belt does not always prevent car accident injuries, and even a restrained person can lose his or her life in a fatal accident. Any person who has suffered injuries in a New York taxi accident -- or those who have lost loved ones -- may be entitled to pursue compensation if negligence on the part of the cab driver or another party can be established. Personal injury and/or wrongful death claims may be filed in a civil court to seek compensation for medical expenses and end-of-life expenses where applicable.

Source: CBS News, "Deadly trend among backseat passengers", June 24, 2015

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