Group proposes ban on hands-free for cabbies

(AP) - New Yorkers and tourists who have ever been frustrated by cabbies talking on the phone might get their full attention soon.

The city's Taxi and Limousine Commission on Friday proposed prohibiting cab drivers from using an array of new communications technologies. That includes hands-free Bluetooth devices and smart phones.

A taxi drivers' group calls the proposal "cruel and irresponsible." The commission says talking while driving is a safety hazard.

Taxi drivers have been prohibited from using handheld and hands-free phones while driving since 1999. But the new rules would significantly increase penalties and prohibit drivers from even wearing wireless earpieces.

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