After years of fighting, Chicago cab drivers will finally get their vomit tax starting July 1.
In January, the City Council signed off on updated regulations, including a $50 "cleanup fee" cab drivers have been lobbying for since 2009 (though they shaved $25 off the requested price).
Previously, cab drivers in Chicago and elsewhere were at the mercy of their often-incoherent passengers, some of whom would compensate them for the trouble, although drivers were forbidden to charge extra for the inconvenience, Dena Reed, general counsel for the District of Columbia Taxicab Commission told the Huffington Post in 2009.
"No official fee can be imposed on a customer for throwing up in the cab," Reed said. "You can't unofficially do that, either."
At that time, Chicago cab drivers were the first to request an additional tax on in-car messes (often vomit from inebriated passengers), but in the time it took City Council to approve the changes, similar fines have been enacted in Austin, Tex., and Savannah, Ga., according to the KENS5 Austin.
With that same January vote, City Council also enacted new restrictions to regulate driver behavior, including maximum daily work hours and higher fines for regulation violations. Effective July 1, drivers cannot exceed 12-hour days, and companies are required to keep more detailed records of driver infractions, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Additionally, cab companies are working more closely with law enforcement and other agencies to speed communications and identify dangerous drivers.
Rosemary Krimbel, the commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, told CBS Chicago that in the past, “the way we found out about a taxi cab being involved in an accident is we saw it in the paper and then we tried to zoom in online to get the taxi cab number."
Now, Krimbel says, the Chicago Police Department sends biweekly lists of drivers involved in accidents and the Secretary of State's Office shares data about drivers convicted of moving traffic violations, according to CBS.
These changes followed a sweeping re-evaluation of cab driver regulations after two pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents last summer where a cab driver was at fault,