The Taxi and Limousine Commission of New York City has recently voted to limit the number of hours that drivers should work in transporting their passengers to 12 hours daily or 72 hours per week. This will be the first time for the city to put limitations on the working hours of both the city taxi drivers and the private for hire chauffeurs including those driving Uber and Lyft vehicles.
Why did New York City implement such regulations? The main goal is reduce driver fatigue from long working hours without sleep. According to a research made by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being awake for 18 hours is like intoxication with impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. In New York, a 0.5 blood alcohol concentration can be construed as driving under influence. Findings from the research revealed that in 2014 and 2015, the crash rate for drivers who drove for more than 12 hours in a day was 23.8% higher than those who worked for less than eight hours.
Taxi drivers are against the new restrictions because it will negatively affect their earnings. It is also considered a further burden to the industry that is already over-regulated. Nino Hervias who has been driving a taxi for the last 32 years says that taxi drivers do not need additional regulations to prevent driving fatigue because they know how to pace themselves and when they should take a break. Since the new regulations cover only the hours used to transport passengers, Nino said that he can start work at 6 AM and go home at 11 PM.
The rules have been tightened after an 88-year old woman was killed in Manhattan last year because the taxi driver has been on the road for 16 hours. The commission however does not track drivers in real time and it would be difficult to know how long they have been behind the wheels.
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