Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Taxi Seat Covers May Trick Air Bags

For decades, the Taxi and Limousine Commission has required New York City taxicabs to use vinyl seat covers. These covers are more stain resistant and less odor absorbent than cloth materials. That’s good for all NYC riders. Now, for the bad news. The front seats on about 20% of the city’s 13,000 taxis are equipped with weight sensors for passengers. The back seats are not similarly equipped. These sensors determine how forcefully air bags must deploy. The vinyl seat covers may disrupt the sensors from adequately deploying protection when needed. Taxicab owners were ordered to strip the vinyl ... faster than a loser beating a fare! Beaded seat backs and other types of seat padding must also be removed from the new cabs. Imagine that. A NYC taxi without beads is like a NYC taxi without a foreign language!