Cab drivers in New York could lose their cellphones (to promote safe driving)


The Taxi and Limousine Commission in New York wants passengers to have a safe, swift ride every time they flag down one of its taxis. To that end the commission is studying several ideas that would make your journey all the more pleasant. One idea in particular deserves our attention: installing signal blockers that would prevent cellphones from being using by the cabbie. (Your cellphone would still work fine in the back seat.) That way you can go from Dumb Club to Stupid After-party without hearing the gentleman driving the cab wax poetic to his friends via his awful Bluetooth headset.

Now, this is just one idea of many; it’s also just an idea, and not yet set policy. And while I initially like the idea of being able to sit in a taxi without having the hear the cabbie’s conversation—many cabbies do use Low Voice, however—there are some concerns. One, if this is just as much about safety as it is convenience (the cabbie drives safer without the distraction of a Bluetooth-enabled conversation) then why not install a signal blocker that covers the entire cab? After all, your blabbing on your iPhone can be just as distracting—dangerous!—to the cabbie as his conversion would be.

Then the kind-hearted person in me thinks, What’s the big deal about the cabbie having a conversation? He’s merely trying to get through his day as painlessly as possible. Throw on your iPod if his talking is that big an issue, no need to be a jerk about it.

Never mind the legal issues of installing signal blockers. That debate is way down the line from where we are now.

But, again, this is just an idea, and one of many. (Other ones include a MetroCard-like Taxi Card that would act like a debit card, and the ability to have receipts sent directly to an e-mail address.)

And now, a conversation has started.