Bad cab drivers are frequently let off the legal hook -- leaving them behind the wheel and increasing your risk for a Chicago taxi cab accident.
Our Chicago personal injury lawyers have watched as the government has waged a number of high-profile campaigns against unsafe commercial drivers this year. Commercial bus drivers and truck drivers have come under increasing fire. Cab drivers are often overlooked, however, despite the risk to passengers and other motorists.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Cook County judges have dismissed the vast majority of tickets given to cabbies. In one case, a cabbie was ticketed 34 times since 2008 -- violations included driving twice the posted speed limit, blowing through stop signs and causing at least three crashes before striking a pedestrian crossing Michigan Avenue.
But almost all the tickets were wiped from his driving record, permitting him to renew his license to drive a cab, year after year. The Tribune study found that chauffeur's licenses are routinely renewed -- even after a cabbie causes an accident that seriously injures or kills a pedestrian.
The city has a three-ticket-per-year limit for flagging dangerous cabbies. It uses a two-prong process to identify bad cabbies -- traffic court and citizen complaints. However, the Tribune review found cabbies faced few consequences for current violations. A review of 28 heavily ticketed drivers found two-thirds of violations were dismissed -- or about double the dismissal rate for the average motorist.
"When you have these repeat offenders who are still on the road, that's creating a lot of danger and a lot of unsafe conditions," said Ethan Spotts of the Chicago advocacy group Active Transportation Alliance. "People shouldn't be afraid to walk."
Safety advocates have a right to be frustrated. We continue to point out efforts to increase bicyclist and pedestrian safety within the city. No driver should be permitted to remain licensed with a deplorable driving record -- the fact that it is being permitted among drivers for hire is an outrage.
Meanwhile, the cab industry says drivers are ticketed more frequently because they spend so much more time on the road; and dismissals are likely high because they are more aggressive when it comes to combating the tickets and saving their jobs.