2007_04_taxiaccident.jpgThe NY Sun reports that doctors believes less people will suffer "craniofacial injuries" during cab accidents because many new cabs, such as the hybrid taxis, don't have the bullet-proof partitions. Drivers of hybrid cabs, especially luxury ones, have been opting for security cameras. Which could mean less business for plastic surgeons, who say that they see some people with "crushed noses, fractured cheekbones and eye sockets, and 'stellate,' or burst lacerations" after accidents.

Now, we always thought that one key to preventing serious injuries was being buckled up. But then we read this part of the article:

In accidents, yellow cab passengers wearing seatbelts are twice as likely to sustain serious or fatal injuries as seatbelt-wearing riders of other vehicles, according to a 2006 city-commissioned study by Brooklyn-based Schaller Consulting. This gap, which is even wider among non-restrained passengers, could be "linked to the presence of partitions in most medallion cabs, which introduce a very hard surface in an otherwise cushioned environment," the study said.

Though crash rates for taxicabs are one-third less than those for other vehicles, 3,349 medallion taxi accidents involved injuries or fatalities in 2004, the most recent year for which data are available.

Among those seriously injured in an accident, 68% of yellow cab passengers experienced head or face trauma, compared to 49% of those riding in liveries and 35% in other vehicles, another Schaller Consulting study released last year showed.

Uh, so, even if you're buckled in, you're screwed? Bruce Schaller says partitions are "very real safety hazard," but many drivers like them because they do offer more protection from gunmen.

And after reading that one woman's teeth were "filleted" in an accident, we'll be sure not to complain if a cab driver seems to be going slowly. And if we do complain, we'll wear a hockey mask.

Photograph by Marianne O'Leary on Flickr