The time has come for gabby cabbies to hang up or pay up, as super-strict rules cracking down on Bluetooth-happy hacks go into effect tomorrow.
Taxi and Limousine Commission agents and NYPD officers will be on the lookout for drivers using any electronic devices while not legally parked, including iPods, GPS devices and satellite radios.
Officials are also hoping that riders will report any hack in violation by calling 311 or logging on to the TLC’s Web site and filing a report.
“I’d report them,” said Emily McCollun, 23, from the Upper East Side. “They’re reckless drivers when they’re having a conversation on the phone, whether or not it’s hands-free.”
Other passengers said they would take matters into their own hands.
“Now I will ask the driver, ‘Why are you doing this, anyway? Why are you on the phone if you know the rules?’ ” said Mark Martin, who was catching a cab in the East Village yesterday.
A series of new penalties will fine a driver $200 for each conviction and send him to a rules “refresher course.”
After a second infraction, the hack’s license will be suspended, and after the third strike, revoked.
The changes “will help us put an end to distracted driving in taxicabs and for-hire vehicles once and for all,” said TLC chief Matt Daus.
Cabbies are furious over the rules, saying it prevents them from talking to family members during long shifts in case of emergencies.
“It’s crap. They don’t consult the drivers,” said Mark Goldshteyn, who has been driving for 20 years.
“They just make the laws up and it’s ridiculous. I can’t talk to loved ones.”
The new rules also apply to livery drivers, although they are allowed to briefly use a radio to talk to their dispatchers, the TLC said.