A cab driver who struck and killed an 88-year-old great-grandmother on the Upper West Side on Sunday was rounding off a 16-hour shift—four hours longer than the legal shift limit.
Update November 10th:A TLC spokesman says that while the driver was on the job for 16 hours, he took multiple breaks and thus had not worked 16 hours straight.
73-year-old Salifu Abubkar hit Luisa Rosario around 12:40 a.m. as she crossed the street with the light at Columbus Avenue and West 109th Street. According to the Post, Abubkar told police he'd been working since 9 a.m., and his son added that a 16-hour day wasn't abnormal for his father.
Abubkar was arrested for failing to yield to a pedestrian, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission suspended his license. He'd been a cab driver since before 1989, the year the commission started keeping computerized records.
Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, told the Daily News that the TLC does issue summonses to drivers who work more than 12-hours per shift, though there aren't many who are as old as Abubkar, a Ghana native who was working to support his wife and four kids.
“There's no retirement pension on this job, so many people, if they have no other economic means, they continue to work," Desai told the tabloid.
Rosario was reportedly well-known in the local community; a worker at a hardware store near the crash described her as "a good woman everybody knows in the whole community. I'm talking everybody. Blacks, Hispanics, Moreno, Caucasians, everybody. Because she gets along with everybody. She comes here in the morning, chills with us for a couple hours, then does her rounds, walks around a little, and then she goes home."
On Saturday, a driver killed a 68-year-old pedestrian in South Ozone Park. Sunday's death marked the 11th pedestrian fatality at the hand of a driver since Halloween.
Asked what pedestrians could do to contribute to lowering fatalities, she said: "You can be part of the solution of making our streets safer. You have to be alert when you walk the busy streets of New York. We all do. We all have a role to play: motorists, cyclists and pedestrians."