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Taxi groups complain that distracted driver rules favor Uber

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The rise of Uber in New York City has taxi drivers complaining of uneven rules and a tougher fight to make a living. A pro-taxi group recently asked the City Council to limit Uber drivers to a maximum work shift of 12 hours, which is what taxi drivers are limited to in the city. Although the rule is in place for safety reasons to prevent negligence and distracted driver accidents, the taxi group appears to be stressing mainly that they are having a tough time competing due to more liberal rules for Uber drivers.

However, the group also criticized Uber for showing no concerns for safety by having a rule with no maximum shift duration. The Committee for Taxi Safety accused Uber of thinking of nothing "except making money." The written plea by the taxi group was sent to the chair of the Transportation Committee, which is a supporter of the Vision Zero campaign to end pedestrian deaths in the city.

A news report recently stated that some Uber drivers were driving 19 hours continuously. The Taxi and Limousine Commission responded that it needed more information before taking action. An Uber spokesman responded to the taxi group by pointing out that Uber drivers can start work and stop whenever they want, making it rare that any driver would exceed a 12-hour period of work. Uber limits its drivers to 100 hours per week.

The main thrust of the pro-taxi groups generally appears to be an emphasis on the competitive danger that Uber presents to their livelihood. They may do better by emphasizing safety concerns more than other factors.  A change in emphasis could signal a real change in attitudes, leading to fewer negligent driver and distracted driver accidents. In any event, victims of serious injury from negligent driving will serve themselves best by demanding due monetary compensation as required under New York law. Victims or their families can assure a strong response by consulting with an attorney who is particularly experienced in handling personal injury and death claims in all of the city boroughs.

Source: buzzfeed.com, "New York Taxi Group Wants Limits On Uber Driver Hours", Cora Lewis, Feb.10. 2016

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