Much has been made of the recent push, led by Mayor de Blasio and hastened by the nightmarish deaths of two children, to drastically improve our city’s approach to traffic safety. Every step in the process is an important one, but here’s something that feels like a large and embarrassing oversight: Koffi Komlani, the cab driver who hit and killed nine-year-old Cooper Stock last month, is still a fully licensed driver.
After the incident Komlani was hit with a summons for failing to yield to a pedestrian, and representatives from the Taxi and Limousine Commission note that he’s stayed off the road of his own volition ever since the accident. Still, the TLC has yet to issue any kind of disciplinary measure, and Stock’s grieving family is understandably frustrated.
Stock’s mother Dana Lerner said, “I feel betrayed. When a cabdriver injures a pedestrian, there should be some sort of immediate review of culpability, followed by suspension […] What if this cabdriver had kept driving and done the same thing the next day?”
The issue’s a bit complicated from a bureaucratic standpoint, as the TLC technically doesn’t have grounds to suspend Komlani over the accident; his traffic court conviction put “three points” on his license for the next 15 months, but representatives say it’d take a minimum of six to earn him even a monthlong suspension, and ten to have his license revoked. “We would require some legislative or regularly enabling mechanism in order to suspend automatically.”
Of course, this kind of thing isn’t new: the driver who took off a tourist’s leg last summer is still zooming around the city free as can be after veering onto a curb in a specific attempt to hit a cyclist. If we’re going to get anywhere close to “Vision Zero,” isn’t it time we closed this loophole?
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.