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Taxi safety technology pilot program gets city backing

Taxi drivers will get a chance to test out new safety technology as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero pedestrian initiative.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission Thursday backed a one-year study on black box data records to log hard braking and speeding, a driver alert system, automatic speed limits, and cameras in the city’s fleet.

“While most TLC drivers are safe drivers already, they drive so many miles each year and are such a big part of the city’s traffic flow that any improvements to their driving habits could help change the tone of driving in New York City,” said Jo Rausen, TLC director of technology programs.

Rausen noted that this type of technology employed elsewhere in the world has changed some driving habits. Officials said tech companies taking part in the pilot would have to lay out privacy protection measures for drivers and passengers.

Further, data collected would not be used for enforcement, though it could be reviewed in a serious accident.

The livery and black car industries, however, are concerned that safe drivers will be saddled with the cost to install these devices if the TLC decides to make them mandatory.

“If they want to use black boxes on drivers that have had problems with their driving record, we would not be opposed to that,” Ira Goldstein of the Black Car Assistance Corporation said, adding that “at the end of the pilot, they’ll be applying it to everyone regardless of what results they have.”


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