Friday, October 8, 2010

City May Track All Taxi Cabs with GPS

The City of Chicago's Inspector General, Joe Ferguson, has recommended that the City mandate that all 6,726 of the licensed taxicabs be outfitted with a GPS system. According to the article, Chicago taxicabs were the “offending vehicle” in 46 hit-and-run collision with bicyclists. There are an additional 1,350 hit-and-run Chicago reported collisions involving taxicabs where the taxicab may be the offending vehicle. The cost to Chicago taxpayers is estimated at $2 million and each taxicab would be assessed an annual fee of around $800.

As the article accurately notes, many taxicabs simply flee the scene of a collision. My experience has been that this is because the person driving the cab has "borrowed" the taxicab from someone else and is an unlicensed driver. It is a very common practice in large urban areas like Chicago to have one person who has the license for the taxicab who then "rents" the taxicab to unlicensed drivers when the owner isn't using it. This practice is illegal and having swarms of unlicensed and untrained taxicab drivers in the city is a very real threat to everyone, especially vulnerable bicyclists.

I strongly contend that a GPS tracking system for taxicabs would create greater accountability and therefore fewer collisions. Of the collisions that did occur, it would also be categorically easier for the victim of the collision to be able to track the offending taxicab and seek compensation through the taxicab's insurance company. All taxicabs are required to maintain liability insurance by law. Having access to a liability insurance policy is often the single most important factor in being able to make a financial recovery for an injured bicyclist. Even when there is insurance, the taxicab companies and their insurers often play "hardball" in negotiations and make it difficult for an injured bicyclist to easily obtain compensation on their own. Many times the insurance companies will not even negotiate unless a lawsuit is filed.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Source: City should track all taxis by GPS, inspector general says :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES