Have you ever noticed a taxi cab in Chicago speeding down the street, running a stop sign, or making an illegal turn? Do you wonder whether cabdrivers have to pay traffic tickets like other Chicagoans do?
Well, cabdrivers certainly receive their share of moving violations. But a new study by the Chicago Tribune has discovered that these tickets issued to cabdrivers are dismissed by the courts much more regularly than for other drivers.
Here is a snapshot of the Tribune study’s findings:
• About two out of every three traffic tickets among heavily-cited cabdrivers were dismissed. That’s about twice the rate of ticket dismissal for drivers in the general population.• Among the cabdriver citations studied, 75% of them were dismissed if they were written by Chicago Police officers. But citations brought by Cook County prosecutors (those written by Illinois State Police or outside Chicago city limits) have only a 40% dismissal rate.• About one out of every four auto-pedestrian crashes in downtown Chicago involves taxis.• One Chicago cabdriver was stopped by police a whopping 22 times in a 3 1/2 year period. But since most of those violations were dismissed, he never lost his chauffeur’s license. He is accused of running over a pedestrian on the Magnificent Mile.• Another cabdriver in Chicago received nine traffic citations – including one for crashing into a police car – but eight of them were dismissed. He later allegedly struck an 86-year old woman who had the right of way in a crosswalk.
Cabdrivers who have three convictions for moving violations in a year’s time automatically get their chauffeur’s licenses revoked. But because of the high rate of ticket dismissals, many of them never have three citations on their driving record during any 12-month period.
One thing is important to keep in mind: even if a cabdriver is not convicted of a traffic violation in an auto-pedestrian accident, he or she can be held responsible in civil court as a defendant in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Plaintiffs can often receive compensation not only from the defendant, but also by the cab company that employs the cabdriver.