Contact: Sunny Mindel/Jennifer Chait (212) 788-2958
Specifically, Intro. 472-C amends and codifies the Taxi and Limousine Commission's regulations with regard to the Persistent Violator Program and the Critical Driver Program. Intro. 472-C authorizes the Taxi and Limousine Commission to suspend, for thirty days, the licenses of taxicab or for-hire vehicle drivers who have accumulated either six or more TLC Persistent Violator or DMV Critical Driver points within any fifteen-month period. The legislation also authorizes the Commission to revoke the licenses of taxicab or for-hire vehicle drivers who have accumulated either ten or more TLC Persistent Violator or DMV Critical Driver points within any fifteen-month period. Provisions with regard to the Persistent Violator Program would apply to violations issued on or after July 26, 1998, the day the TLC began the Persistent Violator Program. Similarly, provisions for the Critical Driver Program would apply to violations issued on or after February 15, 1999, the day the TLC began the Critical Driver Program. Therefore, TLC will continue to have the ability to take into account a driver's history in determining whether a license should be revoked or suspended.
The bill also provides for a two-point reduction from a taxicab or for-hire vehicle driver's Persistent Violator or Critical Driver record upon the driver's completion of a TLC or DMV approved refresher course.
Moreover, this legislation provides for an affirmative defense for taxicab and for-hire vehicle owners in cases involving the suspension or revocation of an owner's license, where an owner did not know, or have reason to know, of any unlawful activity on the part of a driver or managing agent. In addition, the owner must exercise due diligence in the management, operation and inspection of a vehicle.
The bill also establishes an affirmative defense for any violation issued to a driver where the act for which the violation was issued was beyond the control and influence of the driver.
Furthermore, with respect to taximeter tampering, this legislation provides clear parameters for taxicab owners, and delineates their responsibility to exercise due diligence and regularly inspect their vehicles to uncover evidence of taximeter tampering. Owners will be expected to examine their vehicles and have regular inspections of their meters by competent professionals, as well as to instruct their drivers on the serious consequences they face if they engage in unlawful practices. These standards clearly set forth the conduct expected from responsible taxicab owners.
This legislation represents a reasonable compromise between my Administration and the City Council. Intro. 472-C maintains the integrity of the Taxi and Limousine Commission's public safety initiatives by ensuring that passengers, pedestrians and other drivers alike will all continue to be protected from the City's most dangerous taxi drivers.
For the reasons previously stated, I will now sign the bill.