Dogmeat (dogmeatnyc) wrote,

"with taxi drivers being 60 times more likely to be killed on the job than any other worker."

All Drivers Asked to Attend...


Sunday, November 27th, 2005
Roosevelt Avenue (b/t 99th and 100th Streets)
Subway: #7 to 103rd St.
2ND NYC Taxi Driver in Coma In Seven Weeks

When Humayun Kabir Laskar left his home Sunday night for his 12-hour
shift as a NYC livery/car service driver, his wife Rowshon Laskar
thought he would return home in time to take the kids to school the
next morning. Mrs. Laskar and the couple's daughters Tanzina, 15,
and Thamina, 8, and son Farhad, 11, began to worry frantically when by
mid-morning, Mr. Laskar still had not appeared. "He always came home
to take the kids to school," said Mrs. Laskar. "My children know
he would not disappoint them for anything in the world." Humayun
Laskar never returned home from that night's shift. Early Monday
morning, November 21st, at about 4am on Roosevelt Avenue between 99th
and 100th Streets, a cruising police car found Mr. Laskar's
motionless body lying in a pool of blood on the ground in front of his
livery cab. Having suffered severe injuries to the head, Mr. Laskar
remains in a coma and on life support. He is the second taxicab driver
in less than two months to withdraw into a coma following injuries from
a crime. Since October 2nd, yellow taxicab driver Shajedur Rahman, 35,
has been in a coma since being assaulted on 96th Street and 2nd Avenue
in Manhattan. Mr. Rahman and his wife Shahida Rahman have three young
daughters, Tabassum Mim, 15, Sanzia Jim, 10, and Suria Alif, 7.

Mrs. Rahman and her brother Habib Bhuiyan continue their determined
vigil at the hospital anticipating Mr. Rahman's recovery. The family
is in disbelief that no arrest has been made. "The police have
witnesses and the get away car. Why didn't they make an arrest yet
or release a sketch to the public? Does my husband's life have less
value to them than the man who did this to us?" asks Mrs. Rahman.
Mr. Bhuiyan fears the city waited too long to undertake an aggressive
investigation and the assailant has left the city.

The lack of action on Mr. Rahman's case has fellow drivers outraged
and agitated says Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.
Relations between the drivers and the Taxi and Limousine Commission
have been tense for months due to the city's plans to require Global
Positioning System (GPS) spy ware in all taxis and inaction on the
drivers' request for a fuel surcharge, despite record-high gas prices
pre and post Hurricane Katrina. NYTWA estimates taxi drivers have lost
$3,000 in income due to the higher gas prices. "On top of the great
financial risks, taxicab drivers are vulnerable to assaults, robberies,
road rage and car accidents, every single minute of their back-breaking
12-hour shift. But the TLC seems to care about none of these issues,
sending a very public message that taxi drivers are open prey," said
Ms. Desai. The TLC has not responded to the NYTWA's public
invitation to visit with the Rahman family. "You are guaranteed
nothing in this job by the TLC, not an income, not respect for your
privacy and not even the safety of your life," says Mohammed Khan.

In May 2000, the US Department of Labor classified taxi driving as the
most dangerous job in the country; with taxi drivers being 60 times
more likely to be killed on the job than any other worker. The NYTWA
wants the same protection for taxi drivers as is given to the state's
bus drivers and subway operators. Under a 2000 law, sentencing for
felony assaults which bear up to one year of jail time are increased to
three to five years if the victim is a transit operator assaulted while
on duty. "We want the same prosecutorial standards and the same
warning stickers posted in taxis, like you see in subways and buses,"
says Mamnunul Haq who is still recovering from when a passenger in
Brooklyn Heights plunged a 10-inch hunting knife through the flesh of
his upper back earlier this year. Mr. Haq's calls for driver safety
are echoed by Mrs. Rahman and Mrs. Laskar whose families are holding
joint public prayers for their husbands' full recovery and action on
the investigations. "When my children ask why this happened to their
father, somebody should have to answer them," said Mrs. Rahman. "I
want justice for my husband and safety for all of the drivers because
it's a whole family behind the wheel, not just the one person
everyone sees."

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