Huffpost Chicago

Chicago Cracks Down On Dangerous Cab Drivers

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After cab drivers were involved in two separate fatal collisions this summer in Chicago, city officials moved to crack down on some of the most dangerous drivers behind the wheels of the city's taxis.

According to CBS Chicago, a citywide review is currently underway to re-evaluate the existing rules and ordinances regulating cab drivers. Principally, a cab driver with three or more convictions for moving violations within the past year will now, automatically, lose their chauffeur's license. The three-strike rule was previously left up to the discretion of the city. The amount of insurance cab drivers are required to carry is also up for discussion.

The move was prompted by two deaths involving taxis this summer. In June, Hector Placencia was killed by a cab driver who lost control of his car and swerved onto a sidewalk in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. In August, 86-year-old Coral Kier was plowed down by a cab while crossing the street in a crosswalk on a Monday morning in Lakeview.

Yao Ofori, the driver in the collision that killed Placencia and seriously injured the driver's passenger, had previously been cited for multiple traffic violations, including an improper turn at an intersection in 2007 and improper lane usage in 2010. In a separate collision in 2007, he was involved in a crash that left one woman injured, though his ticket was dismissed, NBC Chicago reported.

Mohammed Ahmed, the driver in the crash resulting in Kier's death, has been ticketed 63 times since 1999 but has been convicted 14 times, according to CBS Chicago. He was charged with failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in the collision that killed Kier.

According to a Chicago Tribune investigation, many cab drivers' tickets are dismissed by Cook County judges, allowing the drivers in question to keep their licenses, because witnesses to the collisions (frequently police officers) do not show up to testify. The Tribune analysis of nearly 30 heavily ticketed cab drivers revealed that two-thirds of tickets were dismissed -- double the average rate of other motorists' tickets being dismissed.

Photo by heza via Flickr.

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