NEW YORK — Taxi Limousine and Paratransit Association President Victor Dizengoff met this week with New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Matt Daus to discuss the proposed NYC distracted driver rules which would prohibit chauffeurs and cabbies from using most electronic devices such as hands free cell phones while driving.
Dizengoff, also the executive director of the Black Car Assistance Corp., said Daus will not be holding another meeting on the issue until December, but does expect to see passage of the rule before the end of the year. The next meeting would need to include a public hearing.
“We presented our position to the Commissioner,” Dizengoff said. “Drivers need to have the ability to communicate with the base while the passenger is in the vehicle. It would be extremely difficult and dangerous for a driver to pull over on the East River Drive. Our drivers are not texting to their BFFs as teenagers are,” added Dizengoff. “We are professionals who need the communication tools available to do their job effectively. Our drivers don’t talk on cell phones the way cab drivers do.”
The issue of distracted drivers is also being reviewed by the U.S. Congress. The National Limousine Association recently sent to its association presidents a memorandum from the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection and Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet staff regarding a hearing on the topic set for Nov. 9. According to the NLA memo, the Congressional memo is a potential tool to build the case for future legislative action.
Dizengoff cited the fact that Virginia has an exemption to its distracted driver legislation for for-hire vehicle drivers. He requested that Commissioner Daus consider such an exemption.
The Luxury Based Operators Association (LBOA) will meet with Commissioner Daus next week to further discuss the proposed new rule and advance chauffeured transportation operator viewpoints and interests, said LBOA President Sergio Sanchez.
Source: Linda Jagiela, LCT