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Some 4,500 Cabbies With More Than 6 Points On Their License Still Driving Due To Computer Glitch

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- If you've ever wondered if your cab driver should be behind the wheel, the answer might well be no.

As CBS 2's Emily Smith reported Tuesday, an internal review by the Taxi and Limousine Commission found some 4,500 yellow cab and livery drivers had more than six violation points on their licenses. But their licenses have not been revoked, due to a software glitch that dates back a few years.

Six points is the level at which the TLC might suspend or revoke cabbies' licenses. A total of 3,900 drivers had six violations within 15 months, and will be suspended if they don't pay a $1,000 fine. Six hundred drivers may have their licenses revoked for gathering 10 points on their licenses.

Officials said the cabbies weren't flagged due to a computer glitch which has since been fixed.

"There was a data issue so that some drivers who should've been penalized weren't. We fixed it," said TLC Commissioner David Yassky. "Going forward now, we'll make sure that every driver that racks up enough points gets the proper penalty."

The review came after a British tourist lost part of her leg when a runaway taxi struck her in midtown Manhattan.

Sian Green of Leicester said Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show that even seeing a yellow car brings back memories of that day. It was her first public appearance since the Aug. 20 accident, which happened in Rockefeller Center.

The cabbie in the incident said he was startled by an angry bike messenger who banged on his car.

But unbeknownst to the TLC, Mohammed Fisal Himon, the cabbie responsible for the accident, had enough points on his licenses for suspension several months prior.

Ultimately, he surrendered his license and is now eligible to drive a cab again.

"He has not reclaimed his license," Yassky said.

The violations at issue include more than one ticket for speeding, reckless driving, tailgating, and signal violations.

Under the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles point system, speeding costs three to 11 points, reckless driving five points, tailgating four points, and a traffic signal violation three points.

Yassky said penalty notices have now been sent to all the cabbies who for bad driving.

"Going forward, we have a new protocol that is seamless directly into our data tracking system," Yassky said.

But commuters were frustrated Tuesday that the policy has not been enforced in about three years.

"I'm already nervous getting into a cab," said Monique Anderson of Harlem. "But now knowing there's a mistake I'm going to be super nervous."

"I've had the craziest issues with cab drivers," one passenger said.

"They get away with murder, these guys," another said.

And as CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez reported, ome cabbies, such as Mohammad Ali and Igor Shamayev, said the TLC must be held responsible for allowing dangerous drivers to slip through the cracks.

"Many cab drivers are unprofessional," Shamayev said. "I know there's rules -- the streets; signs, but many drivers are unprofessional."

"They should have been off the road," Ali said.

Yassky said if you have any issue with a cab driver, the most important thing you should do is look at the serial number on the cab, the side of the cab and call 311.

Yassky said the lost data issue goes back to 2009. There are 110,000 cab drivers in New York City.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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