October 22, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – On October 21st, New York Taxi Workers Alliance members rallied in support of the Taxi Driver Protection Act. The Council votes today October 22nd on this important legislation that would treat an assault on a taxi driver as a felony with a penalty up to 25 years in prison. Upon passage of a bill, warning signs will be posted in all yellow or green cabs as well as liveries.
"This campaign was born in my hospital room, when I was recovering from being stabbed with a hunting knife by a passenger. So many of my fellow drivers lost their blood or are permanent injured, even died, from attacks while just doing our job of serving the public. We need real protection. Maybe the man who stabbed me in Brooklyn Heights would have thought twice if he knew the city valued my safety," said Mamnun Ul Haq, a co-founder of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.
The latest Department of Labor study cites that taxi drivers are 30 times more likely to be killed on the job than other workers. Just this year, there have been a high number of violent assaults and shootings of taxi and livery drivers. "There is an urgency for the city to show that it stands with the drivers and will protect them," said NYTWA Executive Director Bhairavi Desai.