Last year 342 car accidents in New York City were caused by fatigued or drowsy drivers and 626 by drivers who fell asleep behind the wheel according to NYPD statistics. Driver fatigue is often experienced by taxi and limousine drivers who are working long shifts without proper rest.
A study conducted by the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and published last year in the the Singapore Medical Journal shows that one in 3 taxi drivers participating in the study experienced driver fatigue. The study also found that the risk of dozing off unexpectedly was much higher after 10 hours of driving.
Symptoms of driver fatigue include trouble concentrating on the road, unexpected nodding, short term memory issues, longer time to react when facing a dangerous situation, yawning and rubbing eyes as well as unexpectedly drifting out of the lane.
Last November in Manhattan, 74-year-old Salifu Abubakar been had been driving his taxi for 16 hours when he fatally struck 88 year old Luisa Rosario who was crossing the street on the Upper West Side. The driver said he never saw the victim(See previous blog). Following the accident, the Taxi and Limousine Commission proposed to cap shifts to 12 hours a day and 72 hours a week.
Last Thursday at at a public hearing of the TLC dozens of taxi drivers showed up to protest the proposed rule fearing that it would cut their income. Members of Luisa Rosario’s family were also there to push for the rule. They believe road safety and protecting lives has to come before profit.
Read more in the Huffington Post