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Carnage

How Do You Handle Dangerous-Driving Cabbies?

carriagephoto.jpg

A reader sent in this photo of the weekend collision between a yellow cab and a horse carriage on 60th Street at Fifth Avenue. NY1 reports:

Central Park erupted into a scene of chaos early Saturday afternoonafter witnesses say a taxi heading west from 60th Street toward FifthAvenue hit an empty horse and buggy carriage before slamming into abrick wall.

"Actually he was coming very high speed, too, causeyou see the big hole he made in the wall, he was coming very, veryfast," said one witness.

"All of a sudden I heard this loud thumpand I saw a horse going over toward Fifth Avenue, loose, before I saw acouple of drivers, the carriage drivers, stop the horse and there was acab driver I assume it was now laying in the street," said anotherwitness.

The cab driver and the carriage operator were injured, while horse Blackie, miraculously, was unharmed. No word that we could find on what charges, if any, were issued (the Post says the driver "was reportedly suffering from a seizure," but gives no source).

Though animal advocates were quick to paint Saturday's crash as further evidence that horse carriages have no place in traffic (an argument with which I personally agree), it was in fact only the latest example of cabbie-induced carnage.

The Times on Sunday ran a brief editorial reiterating the paper's recent coverage of cab drivers and cell phones. Cab-riding New Yorkers may recognize the dangers of driving on city streets while distracted, the Times says, but few do much about it: the TLC reports just 175 complaints regarding yakking drivers through July of this year. Despite the ubiquity of the offense -- when was the last time you got in a cab where the driver wasn't on the phone? -- NYPD is virtually no help, issuing under 1,000 tickets to cabbies in all of 2008, and just 232 through the first half of 2009.

Given the bleak state of enforcement, the Times advises readers to either buckle up or withhold gratuities. While option two might work on a case-by-case basis, this got us wondering: What should the protocol be for a safe streets advocate sitting behind a reckless cab driver? Confront the cabbie? Complain to TLC? Both? Or are you a conscientious objector, avoiding cabs altogether?

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