A Loss in the Taxi Community

accident-101-280-split-taxi-drunk-driver

Originally published in the S.F. Examiner on October 9, 2019.

Over the years I’ve documented the numerous hardships cab drivers face on the job. The financial struggles. The unjust competition. The traffic. The requisite long hours. The corrupt government agencies. The indignities of this growing belief that robots will one day do our job better.

Well, all that jive is a walk in the park compared to the constant threat of physical harm. And not just the aches and pains of being confined to a small space for hours on end, but the perpetual fear that something could go terribly wrong…

Spending as much time as we do roving the streets of San Francisco, we see more than your average commuter. The high number of accidents that occur throughout The City on a daily basis is terrifying. Not to mention all the near collisions.

I’m often surprised there aren’t more wrecks, giving how most people operate their vehicles. Drivers going the wrong way on one-way streets have become such a regular occurrence it even happens on the freeway.

Two weeks ago, some yahoo in a Tesla drove the wrong way across the entire length of the Bay Bridge through the toll plaza and onto I-880. How nobody was injured or killed along the way is an absolute miracle.

Unlike last Thursday morning, when an intoxicated woman made the fateful decision to drive home to Hillsborough from The City and somehow ended up on the northbound side of 101.

Apparently, several motorists saw her and called CHP. Before they were able to catch up with her, though, she came around the curve at the 280 split, where there is an incline as the roadway curves, limiting visibility, and barely missed an 18-wheeler, colliding head on with a National taxicab driven by Berkant Ahmed, who was transporting a couple from Chicago he’d just picked up at the airport.

In the horrifying aftermath, nobody survived.

Read the rest here.


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