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Chicago Cab Drivers Pose Danger to Pedestrians on Busy Illinois Streets

Casey Woodruff

From 2005 to 2009, 17,487 car crashes occurred in Chicago, Illinois, involving 18,377 pedestrians. About 30 percent of those vehicle-pedestrian accidents involved cab drivers.

Taxi drivers are a known problem, yet a necessity, on Chicago streets. Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein relates that a majority of Chicago taxi drivers pose a threat to public safety, speeding regularly and “[Setting] a pretty bad example for everybody else. They hit the gas at every green light and slam on the brakes at every red light a block later.”

Too Many Examples of Dangerous Chicago Taxi Drivers

Accidents involving taxi cabs happen all too frequently in Chicago. Illinois taxi accident attorneys have seen unsafe cab driving cause injuries to the drivers themselves, their passengers, passengers of other vehicles and pedestrians.

A man was recently killed by a taxi while walking on the sidewalks in Streeterville, near the intersection of Columbus Drive and Illinois Street. The cab driver, who had accumulated over 30 driving citations in the last 22 years, drove onto the sidewalk and slammed into the wall of the Embassy Suites, fatally injuring the pedestrian in the process.

Another cab driver struck two children, ages 6 and 8, who were trying to cross the street on the Magnificent Mile. One of the children’s femur was broken in the collision while the other was bruised across the abdomen. The cab driver received a traffic citation for hitting a pedestrian in the road.

George Lutfallah, publisher of the Chicago Dispatcher, believes that the sheer number of taxis and pedestrians on Chicago streets lead to the high numbers of vehicle-pedestrian accidents. While he asserts that there’s no excuse for taxi driver negligence or recklessness, “the reality is that cabs flock to pedestrians and pedestrians flock to cabs. It’s not surprising that there would be a higher incidence of accidents.”

The study, commissioned by the Chicago Department of Transportation, named 12 high-crash corridors throughout metro Chicago. Five of those twelve are in Chicago’s central business district, including parts of Michigan Avenue, Dearborn Street, Canal Street, Columbus/Fairbanks and Jackson.

Klein encourages individuals to be vigilant – if you see a dangerous taxi driver, call 311 to make a complaint about the driver. Once a driver receives three complaints, an investigation will be initiated.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “City study: Chicago pedestrians in crosswalks are in cross hairs,” August 15, 2011

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