Dear Readers: On February 27, 2012 at the Peekskill City Hall there will be a public hearing on whether to raise taxi liability from the present minimum $25,000.00/$50,000.00 to $100,000.00/$300,000.00. This liability increase would apply to all taxi's regardless of driving record. Regardless! This despite universal opposition from the local taxi industry.
Here is the information I have already given the City Manager, certain members of the Council and The Chief Of Police:
1) The City Of Peekskill can not arbitrarily raise liability coverage. This can only be done by the insurance carrier or State Department of Insurance. Apparently there is some disagreement on this. Their experts say they can, mine say they can not. Either way, should they enact this, there is a better than even chance of an Article 78 lawsuit which will cost the city taxpayers money to defend.
2) As of January 1, 2012 the State raised Assigned Risk Taxi Insurance 10% to a minimum fee of $4,126.00 per year per car.
3) The jump in premiums from 25/50 to 100,000/300,00 would be upwards of $1,500 per car. Meaning a total of $1,900.00 per car increase cost.
4)The previous two are important because one of the major carriers of taxi insurance for independent drivers does not cover liability over 25/50 meaning those drivers would be forced into assigned risk no matter their driving record.
The reason given me as to why the City wished to increase liability coverage is because of one, yes I said one incident where a taxi carrying a passenger had an accident that caused more then $50,000.00 in injuries. What information I was not given was if the cab was independent or fleet. Either way the city wishes to increase taxi costs by almost $2,000.00 over one incident.
I have been told by officials that this is a safety issue.
Question:How does raising liability make a driver safer? It does not for it can not. Independents are safer because they own their vehicle and would be out of work should something happen because of their negligence. If there is a problem of driver safety it is cause by the city's granting licenses to anyone who has the money. They had a moratorium, but the council by their own choosing let it expire. The bottom line is that they are the cause and expect independent drivers to pay for their mistake, typical of politicians, dumbing everything down to the lowest common idiot.
Finally it is inherently unfair. To force an excellent driver or even a good driver into the stigma of assigned risk punishes good behavior. The City government does not seem to think this is important. They seem to believe punishing the good along with the bad is a proper message to send to the residents of Peekskiill. As it stands now, the only taxi liability out there is the government of Peekskill.
-Anthony J., Bazzo
Writer is a part owner of a taxi company licensed by the City Of Peekskill