The statistics presented by Bruce Schaller in his report "Taxi and Livery
Crashes in New York City, 1990-1999" have been cited as cause to get rid
of partitions. A March 2, 2001 article in the New York Times states: "The
most obvious explanation for the injuries is the hard plastic partition..."
The crash statistics, however, do not support the idea that partitions have
increased the number of injuries. Here are the figures for injury crashes
in taxicabs from Table 1 on page 17 of Mr. Schaller's report.
Passenger injuries have been declining steadily since partitions were mandated in
1994. This is exactly the opposite of what you would expect if the installation of
partitions had caused an increase in passenger injuries. Instead of injuries
going up, they have gone down every year.
The 1999 total is just 62% of the injury crash total for 1994. Despite the
partitions, far fewer passengers are being hurt in taxi crashes than in the
unshielded cabs of five or six years earlier.
Equally dramatic is a reduction in the percentage of passengers suffering
Type A injuries. The rate for rear-seat taxi passengers was 4% to 4.7%
before partitions, but beginning in 1995 began a steady decline to 2.7%
of passengers involved in injury crashes in 1999. Type B injuries have gone
down similarly. See the figures presented by Mr. Schaller in Table 3 on
page 19 of his report.
Mr. Schaller's report is available in PDF format at:
The experience of New York City absolutely does not support the notion that
partitions have increased the number of passenger injuries. Indeed, NYC
regulators have moved confidently to expand their successful safety strategy
to the much larger fleet of liveries as well.