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Tribune Report: Judges Throw Out Cases Against Regularly Ticketed Cab Drivers

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 23, 2011 7:40PM

Cabs on LaSalle Street (Image Credit: John Caruso)
Sometimes riding a cab in this Chicago is like riding a roller coaster at Great America without a safety harness. We know not every cab driver is trying out for the 24 hours of LeMans; it only seems that way. These drivers, who are frequently ticketed by police, are the proverbial bad apples who spoil the bushel. So why aren't they separated from the good apples?

The Tribune published an investigation into the court cases of cab drivers who are ticketed routinely for traffic violations and found courts dismiss the cases of heavily ticketed cabbies at a larger rate than regular drivers. This allows cab drivers to continue to renew their chauffeur's licenses annually and some of these drivers were later involved in serious accidents, some fatal. City Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein noted Chicago cab drivers are involved in one out of every four pedestrian crashes downtown and said much of his department's research finds a large number of cab drivers drive well above the speed limit.

Cabdriver advocate George Lutfallah told the Tribune he wasn't surprised by the findings, as cab drivers are more aggressive in fighting their tickets, but supports cracking down on bad cabbies to get them off the streets.

The Tribune's investigation found two out of every three citations against cab drivers are dismissed. City attorneys don't know why this is so, but believe police officers and witnesses to accidents not testifying in court may have something to do with the large numbers.

One new measure that could help is a new policy which revokes chauffeur's licenses to any cab driver convicted of three or more moving violations.