Unrestrained Toddler in Taxi Leads to Charges
By Jeff Deminski
The parents of a little girl who was injured in a taxi crash in April appeared in court today and were charged with failing to place her in a child restraint. The driver of the taxi is similarly charged. They could each get 18 months in State Prison.
It happened on April 1st when a 63 year old woman driving a Toyota ran a stop sign and crashed into taxi in Hackettstown sending the cab off the road and into a telephone pole. The baby, 14 months at the time, was thrown from the back seat where she had been sitting with her parents. She suffered a head injury and was airlifted for treatment. The three adults were initially trapped in the taxi. All were injured.
Sounds bad,sure, but this was a taxi. Be honest. Every time you've taken a taxi have you always lugged around a big child seat with you? Keep in mind, this wouldn't be just a booster seat for a 14 month old. This would be the large heavy seat. Is that even realistic? Next the problem is do taxi drivers always have these in the trunks of their cars? I think not. I've faced this very dilemma on vacations getting cabs from airports or in taking taxis in NYC. They don't always have them. In fact I would say they usually never have them. So what's a parent to do?
Throw in the fact that so many school buses are allowed to operate perfectly legally in the state of New Jersey with no seat belts for the children whatsoever and it starts to make you angry that these parents could go to prison for this. Then think about how you can fly on a plane, which has onerous federal rules and regulations for almost everything you do while on board, and you can keep your 14 month old on your lap the whole time. No seat belt whatsoever during take-offs, landings, and even during extreme turbulence where everyone else is told to return to their seats immediately and buckle up securely. An accident on a runway or a severe air pocket will mean laws of physics under which no parent would be able to hold onto that child anymore than they could in a car crash, yet we allow it every day. Seems hypocritical, doesn't it? Certainly at least contradictory enough that we should think long and hard about sending parents to prison when they may not have had a realistic choice and when they've already been through so much.