When I take a US Taxi, I'm noticing more and more that the drivers either text or call on hand-held phones while driving, both of which make me feel unsafe. Say, as unsafe as seeing an open beer can in the cup holder.

I'm familiar with statistics that pretty conclusively show that calling and texting while driving distracts you enough to make you unsafe, arguably more unsafe than driving intoxicated. To that end, I'd like to ask the driver to put the phone down for the duration of the trip, the same way I would ask my friends or parents to keep their phones put away with me as a passenger. But I'm also aware that taxi drivers do this for a living and probably know way more than I do about safe driving habits.

Is it reasonable for me expect the driver not to use their phone while driving? And if so, is it acceptable for me to request that the driver hold off on using it while I'm in the car with them?

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    I am pretty sure I saw a sticker in a cab saying something like "if the driver is using a mobile phone ask him to stop and report that to us" can't recall where, maybe NYC. Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 0:21
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    I had a shared ride (4 passengers, you pay for your seat) in Uzbekistan where the driver stopped, one of the passengers got a bottle of vodka, and we carried on, the driver on his phone and smoking away on multiple cigarettes and the passengers passing the bottle around. Fortunately the driver didn't drink any...
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 0:31

1 Answer 1


Making calls or texting on a handheld phone while driving is illegal and unsafe basically everywhere, and you're entirely within your rights to tell them to stop and, if they don't, complain to the taxi authorities or even the police.

If they're using a hands-free device though, and vast majority of cabbies are, you're likely out of luck. This is (usually) legal, and dealing with bookings is a critical part of their livelihood: you're already in the cab, they're trying to find their next fare.

Of course, you can always request they stop, and ask to be dropped off right then and there if they don't. But if you're in enough of a hurry that you're in a taxi in the first place, this may not be a realistic alternative.

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    It is illegal for taxi drivers to use even hands-free devices in some cities, such as New York City. The rule isn't exactly enforced and it's common to see NYC cabbies using a hands free device, but you would be within your rights to ask them to stop as they are violating a rule. While I personally probably wouldn't do so, you could file a complaint with the city about it as well. Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 0:23
  • Actually while most states do have some form of texting ban, the majority do not have a bank on using a hand held phone to call (only 15 ban it). There's a Wikipedia article on it, even: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 2:34

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