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Jeff Novich

The Reported App is Reducing Repeatedly Reckless Taxi Driving

12:34 PM EST on January 29, 2019

This is the last thing we want to see. Video still: ABC7

The best tool for preventing reckless drivers from repeatedly endangering pedestrians and cyclists is right there in your pocket.

Reported, the smartphone app that lets New Yorkers instantly report taxi drivers for breaking the rules, claims that of the 5,200 drivers reported to the Taxi and Limousine Commission through the app since 2016, only 4 percent have been the subject of a second complaint.

That's just one of the findings from app creator Jeff Novich's end-of-year review. Other findings include:

    • The vast majority of complaints to Reported come from cyclists reporting either a blocked bike lane (64 percent of complaints) or a blocked crosswalk (20 percent of complaints). Other large segments of the complaints were for reckless driving (11 percent) and for illegal parking (5 percent).
    • The Lower East Side led with the most complaints (819, or 27 percent of the total) with Downtown Brooklyn in second with 592 complaints.
    • Fifteen reports were issued for NYPD cars blocking bike lanes.
    • Eighty-three percent of drivers submitted to Reported had at least one driving violation on their record already. Most had been caught speeding in school zones or running red lights.
    • App-based for-hire vehicles such as  Uber, Lyft and Via chalked up 78 percent of complaints against TLC vehicles, even though such vehicles represent only 71 percent of the overall taxi fleet. The remaining 22 percent of complaints were made against old school black car companies as Dial7 or Arecibo or medallion cabbies, which comprise 29 percent of the entire taxi fleet.

Overall, a Reported filing leads to a summons against the driver 97 percent of the time. Sixty percent pay this summons right away, while 40 percent will challenge the complaint before a judge. Half of those who challenge the summons are found guilty — and then pay double the original summons — the statistics show.

In 2018, Reported users filed 3,800 TLC complaints, generating roughly $380,000 in revenue for the city. The Taxi and Limousine Commission says it appreciates the reports even more than the cash.

“Anything that makes a driver think twice about risking someone’s safety with a reckless or irresponsible action is a tool we value,” said TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg.

Novich said the TLC has been supportive and helpful in all the cases Reported has brought to them.

Source: Reported
Source: Reported
Source: Reported

"The attorneys there take these complaints seriously, they act on them," he said. "The TLC should be a model for other city agencies in terms of how to engage constructively with residents."

Roughly 20 percent of Reported complaints are against non-TLC-regulated vehicles — but those complaints go to 311 and are rarely acted upon because the offender is usually gone within seconds.

But regardless of the final punishment, the complaints themselves reveal just how little regard some drivers have for cyclists, who make up 70 percent of all Reported complainants, and pedestrians, who comprise the rest.

"Driver pulled sharply into bike lane directly in front of cyclist almost causing him to crash and forcing him to squeeze between a large truck," reads an Aug. 6 report, one that is typical of the thousands received by the app.

App creator Novich said he's proud of the low recidivism rate for TLC-regulated cars through Reported — but knows the app could do much more with more users.

"There are probably 10,000-times more violations going on every day that are unreported and [Reported comprises] a small group of people are filing these only when they directly encounter [violations], but I think the 4 percent would stay low even at scale," said Novich. "We can use speed ticket data as a proxy. The vast majority of drivers who get a speeding ticket do not get another one."

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