TAMPA - We hear a lot about the dangers of distracted driving.
But what about tired driving?
As 10Investigates first told you, that is an issue on your roads. We discovered taxi drivers in Hillsborough County have no restrictions on the number of hours they drive. But now, thanks to our investigation, the Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission plans to take action.
PREVIOUS STORY: Fatigued cab drivers allowed unlimited road hours
It can’t come soon enough for Ben Fiore, whose car was hit by a taxi driver
“That's crazy, that's nuts.”
Fiore is talking about the fact that Hillsborough cab drivers have no restrictions on the amount of days or hours they drive. Many drivers work seven days a week, sometimes 17 to 18 hours a day.
“It's a lot of hours, so it is a tough go”, says driver Jim Little.
Little says the problem is leasing a cab can cost up to $600 a week and gas can run as much as $200.
“So you’re talking $800 dollars a week. That’s $40,000 a year that we have to cover before we put anything in our pocket,” Little explained.
We commented that means drivers have to work a lot of hours to make a living.
“Little nodded his head and said. “We do! We do!”
Several drivers told us they often drive tired, working many hours and that means anytime you are on the road driving next to a cab you could be at risk.
But the Public Transportation Commission, which regulates taxi companies, has no restriction on the hours drivers are on the road
Attorney Christopher Ligori, who has successfully sued cab companies as the result of crashes, says the PTC has dropped the ball on this issue.
““They seem to be more protecting the taxi cabs than the people of Hillsborough County”, Ligori says.
Hillsborough Commissioner Ken Hagan, who sits on the PTC board, admits he was, “shocked and surprised that we don't' have any regulations to restrict the ability for taxi cab drivers to work 24 hours candidly.
Hagan admits until he saw our story he had no idea the agency didn’t restrict driver hours. and he is concerned people riding in cabs and driving next to them could be at risk.
We told Hagan one of the things we heard from our viewers is “What is the Public Transportation Commission going to do about it ?”
“So at one of our future meetings,” Hagan told us, “We will take this up. We certainly do not want to restrict the cab driver’s ability to make a living, however public safety is paramount. We have to do everything we can to protect the public.”
Ben Fiore, who was seriously injured in his crash with a cab, says the PTC must take action right away asking “What’s the point of having an agency if they are not going to regulate anything.”
But there's a problem:
Hagan says the PTC will take up the issue, but right now they're more focused on regulating ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft.
Only once the dust settles from the temporary ride-sharing agreement that was just approved, we were told, will the PTC will turn its attention on taxi drivers’ hours.
We are not done pushing them. Your safety on the roads seems more important.
(© 2016 WTSP)