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DEATH CAB: Toronto Cabbies to ILLEGALLY use Tablets instead of Radio Dispatch

Everyone (including me) who bikes in Toronto has a story about a cab driver hitting them.  At the least, you’ve had a near miss with one, because taxi drivers are always in a rush and do not abide by any laws.  Passing a cyclist with inches (or less) to spare.  Sure. U-turns where U-turns are prohibited? Of course.  Honking at pedestrians and forcing their way through a crowd of people?  Why the hell not.  These are all things I’ve seen cabbies do.

Now, instead of totally insane cabbies listening to their dispatch radio while they are driving, now they’ll be on their tablets all the time.  Do the police know about this?  This is ILLEGAL, according to the Highway Traffic Act:

Here’s what sections 78 and 78.1 say you can’t do while driving, including while stopped at a light, according to the MTO:

  • Use hand-held wireless communication devices like cell phones, iPhones or BlackBerrys

  • Text, dial or e-mail

  • Use hand-held electronic entertainment devices, like iPods or other portable MP3 players and GameBoys

  • View display screens unrelated to driving on devices like laptops, tablets and DVD players

  • Program a GPS device, other than by voice commands.

Source: The Globe and Mail

From the article:

Instead of voices crackling over the speaker, dispatchers will be able to see each car’s position online via GPS, and send drivers on missions individually, depending on who’s closest. It saves the company money on hiring more dispatchers during busy periods, and creates a more responsive network of drivers who can, theoretically, reach clients faster. Plus, Mac says he can more handily win arguments with backseat drivers who think they know the best routes.

More: Beck Taxi Drivers Say Goodbye to Radio Dispatch | cityscape | Torontoist.