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Tag Archives: New York Traffic Ticket Attorney

Save The Tailgating For Football Season!!!

It seems like everyone in Manhattan is always in a rush. No one wants to wait at a red light or to let pedestrians safely cross the street. Some motorists quickly trail behind the car in front of them to avoid anything that might slow them down. It’s not only annoying, but extremely dangerous. On highways, cars usually are following too closely or tailgate as a method of intimidation because they want to pass the car in front of them. By law, motorists are supposed to maintain a safe following distance behind the car in front of it.

According to VTL 1129 following too closely is described as: the driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon the condition of the highway.

Reasonable and prudent can be determined by the motorists’ judgment. In driver’s education we were taught that you should always remain “a car length” apart from other cars and more than one “car length” apart on highways. The average car is about 14 feet and 8 inches long. By doing so you are creating a buffer space, should anything happen.

If the car in front of you suddenly slams on their brakes, that leaves you with a short reaction time. You have seconds to brake or safely switch lanes. If a motorist is driving behind a car leaving little to no space in front of them the likelihood of them braking in time is greatly decreased. This could cause a car crash domino effect.  According to NYPD this year there have been 542 summonses issued for following too closely. This is a very common summons in New York City; many of my clients have been issued a summons for this and want to fight it.

An experienced New York Traffic, Criminal, TLC and CDL Attorney can help. I have been fighting these summonses and others like it for over 28 years. If you have a summons for Following Too Closely, contact me immediately. I can be contacted at 212-227-9008 or via email at michalblock.law@gmail.com.

Did You Know That You Can Drive Within The Posed Speed Limit & Still Get a Speeding Ticket??

As you are probably aware, most speeding summonses are issued by Police Officers or State Troopers. They are experts in estimating speeds and using speed detection equipment. They usually charge a motorist with going a specific speed over the posted speed limit. For example, driving 75 mph in a 40 mph zone (an 8 point summons). The point system for Speeding summonses in New York is referenced above.

Updated Speeding Violation chart

You should also be aware that a summons for Speed Not Reasonable and Prudent can be issued. VTL 1180a provides that no person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. Basically the Police Officer can allege that you were going too fast for the condition of the road and traffic. It is common sense to reduce your speed during bad weather conditions. This includes torrential rain, snow, or fog. When the roads are not clear you must drive in an appropriate manner. If you are driving at a high speed that can prevent you from stopping your vehicle quickly when the roads are wet or slick. A lot of motorists think because their car may have 4- wheel or all wheel drive that this rule doesn’t apply to them.

This type of summons can be issued when a motorist is involved in a car crash, for example when a driver didn’t reduce their speed due to construction and spins out of control on the highway and hit a median. Or when a driver swerves and their car ends up on the side of the road in an embankment. While receiving a summons for this might not be common, it is very possible. In scenarios like this, a summons is issued because if the motorist was not driving in a reasonable and prudent manner.

Convictions for summonses for Speed Not Reasonable and Prudent will result in three (3) points on your driver’s license. The minimum fine is $138. If you are convicted of three (3) Speeding Tickets received within an 18 month period, your privileges will be revoked. If you or someone you know has recently received a moving violation in New York, contact me immediately. I can fight for you. Hiring an experienced Traffic, Criminal, TLC and CDL Attorney  can be the difference between being found guilty and maintaining a clean license. Don’t hesitate to call my office at 212-227-9008 or email me at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

How’s your driving? If you’re looking for lessons then you’ve come to the right place!

Alan Schlesinger is the founder of Abbott Safety Consulting,Inc. and APS driving lessons. Abbott Safety is a corporation that provides commercial drivers and warehouse safety specialists with affordable programs for accident prevention that meet the specific needs of trucking companies. APS driving lessons provides lessons for drivers to pass their road test on the first try in the comfort of their own vehicle. With a 95% success rate, he is the man to call if you, a loved one, or a friend needs some driving help. He is dedicated to providing drivers with safety tools and techniques to avoid accidents at all costs. We called Alan to get an insider interview. Here’s what he said.

Michael Block, New York Traffic Ticket Attorney: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started.

Alan Schlesinger: I learned the business very young when I swept floors, operated forklifts, drove heavy-duty trucks and tractor-trailers for my grandfather, father, and uncle. I got my bachelor’s degree and then returned to the family business and eventually became the Executive Vice President in charge of Operations, Transportation and Safety. In 2006 I founded Abbott Safety Consulting. I am also a former CDL driver, a licensed CDL examiner, an experienced Driver Trainer and I have OSHA and DPT certifications. I am also certified by the National Safety Council, the National Traffic Safety Institute and the American Safety Institute.

Michael Block, New York Traffic Ticket Attorney: What does Abbott Safety Consulting Incorporated Specialize in? Do you offer training in anything? Where is it located?

Alan Schlesinger: We are located in White Plains, New York. We specialize in a variety of things including:

aps table 3

We also offer training in:

aps table 2

Michael Block,New York Traffic Ticket Attorney:What is the CSA and why is that important to your students?

Alan Schlesinger: The CSA is a U.S Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforcement program requiring large commercial vehicle carriers to be in compliance with safety Laws and regulations. It has three main parts including; Measuring safety performance/Collecting data-CSA BASICs (Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories), Evaluation of high risk driving behavior- identifying candidates for intervention and which type of interventions needed, and Intervention to improve safety. Abbott Safety can evaluate and help truck drivers comply with CSA.

Michael Block,New York Traffic Ticket Attorney:Are there any services you provide that can help improve driving records?

Alan Schlesinger: Yes. We offer a 6-hour New York Point Insurance Reduction Course (Defensive Driving). It can help drivers reduce points on their record received from New York traffic violations by up to 4 points and save up to 10% on their insurance for a three year period. Register for the course online at our website. http://bestpricedrivingschools.com/Course/index.php/register?awc_id=NjM1

Michael Block, New York Traffic Ticket Attorney: Do you offer private driving lessons for non-truck drivers as well? If so, where do you offer these lessons?

Alan Schlesinger: Yes, I offer private driving lessons, I am a certified driving instructor and I have single and package lessons available. I can set up appointments to be taken to road test sights at the student’s local DMV and I have an extremely high success rate for passing road tests on the first try. I allow my students to arrive and practice in a personal car that they are used to, to ensure comfort. I am able to travel to Manhattan, the five boroughs, Westchester County, New Jersey, and Long Island.

Alan takes pride in helping trucking companies improve their high way safety driving records and company enforcement of driving safety regulations. He is extremely patient and is dedicated to helping students pass their road tests on the first try.

For more information or to schedule your driving lessons please visit his website http://abbottsafety.com/  and contact him at (704) 996-1082 or APS5555@verizon.net. For Truck driving safety information call him at: (914) 607-2997 or email him at Alan@AbottSafety.com.

 

 

 

 

How to Save Yourself When Pulled Over for using a Portable Electronic Device

You have just been pulled over by a police officer. You have no idea why. Do not engage the officer in conversation. Do not act angry or surprised. An officer will usually assume that you know the New York Traffic Violation you have committed. Getting visibly upset may only worsen the situation.

The officer hands you a ticket for Improper use of a Portable Electronic Device (texting). According to VTL 1225d  no person shall operate a motor vehicle while using any portable electronic device while such device is in motion. You are shocked and outraged. You were stopped at a red light, so you thought it was okay to touch your phone while the car was stopped. That would be your first mistake. Whether the car is at a complete stop or in motion you are not to touch any electronic devices, especially a cell phone to text. Texting is one of the main causes of car crashes. According to the National Highway Safety Administration operating a motor vehicle while using an electronic device will increase your chances of being in a motor vehicle crash by twenty-three percent, as compared to those drivers who are not. The safest time to use a cell phone would be when the car is off the road and the keys are out of the ignition. In the state of New York you can be pulled over and issued a summons for doing any of the following:

-Talking on a handheld mobile telephone

-Composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or    retrieving electronic data such as email, text messages or  web pages

-Viewing, taking or transmitting images ( picture and/or video)

-Playing games on your cell phone

If you find yourself in a situation where you have been pulled over for using an electronic device remember the less you say, the better. Give the officer the documents that have been requested. If you argue the officer will record that in his notebook. His memory of the case will be enhanced when it is heard in court. The line “anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law” is more than just a saying, it is the truth. The officer may try extra hard to obtain a conviction. If convicted you could lose your driving privileges and there may be an increase in your insurance premiums.

Always stay cool and calm and most importantly give an experienced New York Traffic Ticket Attorney a call immediately. If you receive a summons, contact us at 212-227-9008 or via email at michaelblock.law@gmail.com. I have been fighting summonses in New York for over 28 years and I can fight for you!

Photo: The Globe and Mail

5 Point Cell Phone Ticket Received in East Harlem Reduced to 0 Points

cellphone ticket may be issued regardless of how the driver was using the device.  The law defines “using” as holding your cellphone while talking, taking pictures, texting, or simply viewing the device.  So if you are viewing the device as a GPS, you are in violation.

In addition, cellphone tickets rack up as much as 5 points.  Extra points on your license can increase the price of your insurance.  3 cellphone tickets could result in the suspension of your license.

The cost of cellphone tickets can range between $50 to $400 depending on the gravity and frequency of the offense. Aside from the immediate cost of the ticket, points on your license could cause insurance premiums to increase significantly.

When you receive the cellphone ticket, do not discuss it with the police officer.   Anything you say can, and WILL be used against you in court. Officers take notes on any comments you make which can later harm you while disputing your traffic ticket.

A cellphone ticket lawyer is waiting to help you. New York Traffic Violations can be very damaging to your driving record. My advice is: don’t pay that traffic ticket. Take a moment now to share a few details about your ticket here.

We always fight for the most favorable outcome and are always glad to have great results for our clients. If you’ve received a speeding ticket or any other type of moving violation, let us help you! Email us at michaelblocklawyer.com or call (212) 227-9008 to learn how we can defend you.

  1. This is a great article with much useful information. I’d like to share it on my social media but there are no icons to do so.

    Mike Haltman

Cops on Long Island Give Out Hundreds of Summonses in April

Suffolk County had a distracted driver initiative last month and issued almost 1,000 citations for various distracted driving infractions.

Read the article below:

You know who you are: Drivers who got busted last month in Suffolk County for texting or cellphone chatting, instead of paying full attention to the road.

As part of a monthlong distracted driver initiative, held in conjunction with state and local police, county police officers issued more than 930 citations in April for distracted driving — a 117 percent increase over the same time last year, according to Suffolk County police.

Correspondingly, county police responded to 11.75 percent fewer crashes — 3,320 of them — than in April 2015, police said in a news release issued Thursday.

During the crackdown, State Police on Long Island issued 810 citations, with 470 of them tickets for cellphone use, 314 of them for texting, and 26 for move-over law infractions, the release said.

There’s a “strong correlation” between such distracted driving violations and the number of motor vehicle crashes, police said.

Funding for the initiative, which was statewide, came from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

Catch the Train of Many Colors to the Mets' Opening Day

On Friday, April 8, the vintage “Train of Many Colors,” consisting of 11 cars built between 1948 and 1964, will leave 34th Street-Hudson Yards at 11:30 a.m. and make express stops to Flushing-Main Street for the Mets home opener at 1:30 p.m. against the Philadelphia Phillies. The varying colors on those cars mark different eras in subway history.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said riders to all Yankees game should use the Yankee Stadium station, which serves the B, D and 4 lines, which is right in front of the stadium at the corner of 161st Street and River Avenue.

The subway’s Mets-Willets Point station, served by the 7 train, is in front of Citi Field on Roosevelt Avenue near 126th Street.

After weeknight and weekend games, New York City Transit provides special super-express 7 trains timed to depart after the last out.

After leaving the game, these trains make only six stops — 61st Street-Woodside, Queensboro Plaza, Court Square, 42nd Street-Grand Central, 5th Avenue-Bryant Park, and Times Square-42nd Street

The Long Island Rail Road provides direct service to the Mets-Willets Point station all season long via the Port Washington Branch, about 19 minutes from Penn Station. Citi Field is about 17 minutes from Great Neck and 27 minutes from Port Washington.

Fans traveling from Long Island on other branches can reach Citi Field by changing to Port Washington Branch trains at Woodside, about a five-minute ride from the stadium. Regularly scheduled Port Washington Branch trains will make stops at the Mets-Willets Point Station throughout the regular season for all games, and the LIRR will operate extra trains for each weekend game.

Check out the full article from NY Daily News

 

 

Get your Metro cards ready! Some NYC Streets to shut down on Earth Day.

On Earth day parts of Manhattan will be closed to vehicular traffic. This act is part of the #CarFreeNYC initiative and the goal is to reduce New York’s carbon footprint. It also will give New Yorkers the chance to take advantage of all the various forms of mass transportation available in the city.

Check out the AMNY article below for more information:

Parts of Manhattan will be shut down to car traffic on Earth Day to help lower New York’s carbon foot print and a city councilman wants the Big Apple drivers to ditch their rides to join in the effort.

Councilman Yndanis Rodriguez said the #carfreeNY initiative would go a long way for reducing New York’s carbon footprint and lowering the number road accidents.

Too many people are riding in cars by themselves instead of taking advantage of the various mass transits options available, according to the councilman who chairs the transportation committee.

“We have a responsibility to our environment, to our residents and to ourselves to have a frank conversation about the inefficiencies of car use,” he said at a news conference at NYU’s Kimmel Center Wednesday.

As part of the initiative, Broadway between the Flatiron Building and Union Square, Wadsworth Avenue from 173rd to 177th streets and the roads surrounding Washington Square Park will all be shut down April 22. Rodriguez hopes New York drivers will take up the pledge and find alternative ways of traveling, including carpooling, subways and buses.

He acknowledged that some communities, like southeast Queens, Staten Island and the Rockaways are “transit deserts” but said that the initiative will help highlight their plight and push the city to take more action.

“It clearly speaks to the need for investment in mass transit in these communities as imperative to social mobility, especially for the many New Yorkers who are unable to afford a car in this expensive city,” he said.

 

Top Driver Excuses Given When Pulled Over For Cellphone Use While Driving

Getting pulled over for using ANY electronic device is a major offense. It is no wonder that when people get pulled over for talking on the their cellphone while driving they use all kinds of excuses to try to get out of their ticket. Take a look at the top 5 excuses I’ve stopped my clients from repeating in court:

1. I was using my GPS

2. I was just checking the time

3. I wasn’t using it, I was just holding it in my hand

4. It wasn’t my phone it was my comb. I was doing my hair.

  FYI- Then you’re still breaking the law. You must have both hands on the wheel.

5. I wasn’t on my phone, I was shaving.

                        – Shaving is still distracted driving, please don’t shave while driving. You could cause an accident or cut yourself.

6. I only had my phone in my hand because it fell on the floor and I had to pick it up.

 7. I was stopped at a red light.

                If actually true and believed by the court, this is a defense. But  if the officer’s statement is that the vehicle was in motion it’s hard to overcome. It’s best to NOT have your phone anywhere near you unless you are parked and the engine is off. Don’t touch it, look at it or play games on it.

Please remember: you must have BOTH hands on the wheel at all times while driving. It is never okay to “multi-task” while driving. If you are pulled over for driving while on your cell phone or any electronic device you will be ticketed and given 5 points. If this has happened to you please call my office immediately at 212-227-9008 or email me at michaelblock.law@gmail.com

Just Some Thoughts from a Traffic Ticket Attorney: NY Mets

Will the NY Mets end my personal drought of 30 championship-less years?

They look great “on paper” but that often doesn’t translate into success on the field. They should feature great young starting pitchers, an awesome closer and a good, but not great offense.

I don’t fear the Cubs or Nationals but I think the main threat will come from the Giants, Pirates and the always-present Cardinals.

Let’s Go Mets!

Guest Feature: The Automotive Academy for New York & Cross County Safety Education

Are you unfamiliar with the current New York State driving rules and regulations? Or are you in danger of having your license suspended?  The Automotive Academy for New York (AANY) and Cross County Safety Education (CCSE) are great resources for both issues. AANY offers driving lessons, and accident prevention courses. CCSE offers a Health & Safety course that offers point reduction for any eligible driver. Most drivers facing suspension are eligible for point reduction.

Automotive Academy for New York Driving School and Cross County Safety Education are two sister companies that have been in existence since March 2013; With dual efforts, they have designed their delivery of services to assist New York State’s motorists in understanding, interpreting and staying within the confines of New York State’s stringent traffic laws.  It also helps motorists meet the challenge of keeping abreast of the changes and modifications in all traffic laws, requirements, fines and fees in New York State.

About Driving Services

Automotive Academy for New York (AANY) is a New York State licensed driving school in the state of New York. It provides the following services to its community: Driving Lessons, 5 Hour Pre-Licensing Class, Defensive Driving, Road Test Preparatory for CDL and Class D Licenses, and Community Fund Raising Options. It provides FREE consultations to people who need to renew, maintain or acquire commercial or Class D NYS driver’s licenses. Automotive Academy for New York Driving School offers services to the community in Long Island, Queens, Albany and Central NY.

The driving school’s newest venture for community involvement it the New Driver Start Up course; hosted by CUNY York College’s Department of Continuing Education. Tangible outcomes of this course include New Driver Pre-License Certificate, Defensive Driving Accident Prevention Certificate, 2 Road Test Prep Driving Lessons, and a Scheduled Road Test.

About Accident Prevention Services

Cross County Safety Education, Inc. (CCSE) offers New York’s Accident Prevention through Empire Safety Council.  It services the Capital Region, Central NY, Long Island and the five boroughs. It has strengthened its community relationships by providing services to Local 804 (UPS drivers), Uniondale Fire Department, the Utica Public Library and classes to Albany, Clinton and Utica public schools.

Cross County Safety Education, Inc. is ready to assist you and your members to become safer drivers while reducing the cost of your insurance and to assist in getting points off your license. The topics for each class address the current traffic and road conditions specific to the area that it services. Topics include snowy road conditions, rural or urban driving, aggression and road rage dynamics, city lane markings, etc. This Health & Safety Program is a fast, easy, and inexpensive accident prevention workshop that provides individuals with proven effective accident prevention methods.  Upon completion of the course, the driver will obtain a 3 year insurance discount and point reductions on their driving record. Fund raising incentives are offered to clubs and organizations in communities to support safe driving.

AANY’s headquarters is located in Uniondale NY, for more information on taking a Defensive Driving course you can call AANY at (516) 279-9281 or email them at nydriving.school@ymail.com.

It’s important to stay on top of any and all New York State traffic law changes. You never want to get pulled over for breaking a law that you were unaware of. Contrary to popular belief, not knowing isn’t a good enough reason to not get ticketed. And if you have received over 6 points within the last 18-months and are facing a possible suspension you should seek counsel immediately. We can fight for you! Give us a call at 212-227-9008 or email us at michaelblock.law@gmail.com.

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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

If you are going out in New York to celebrate please be careful! Always take public transportation or any taxi and car service available.

DO NOT get behind the wheel.

Too many people lose their driving privileges or worse, kill or hurt themselves or others because they drove drunk.

Don’t forget to wear your green and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Just some thoughts from a New York Traffic Ticket Attorney…

Driving Laws are not usually affected by Supreme Court decisions..but there ought to be a Constitutional Amendment for Supreme Court Vacancies. It should read something like this:

Upon the death or incapacity of a Supreme Court Justice, the President shall, within thirty (30) days select a replacement. Upon the President’s selection, the Senate shall conduct hearings and must confirm or deny the President’s choice within sixty (60) days.
This might solve the problem we would have with the Supreme Court vacancy we now have. At least it forces the Senate to act. And by the way, President Obama should pick Justice Scalia’s replacement very soon.

Surely he had a list long before Justice Scalia’s death. Unfortunately, I don’t think an amendment like this would ever pass.

  1. I agree. Thems the brakes! If one dies then person in the Whitehouse at that moment gets to submit candidates. Enough already.

Fed Up Uber drivers protest the App during the Super bowl

Fed Up Uber drivers protest the App during the Super bowl in an effort to slow down business and get corporate headquarters attention on one of the busiest Sundays of the year. Tired of price cuts, no benefits for full time drivers and all around poor treatment, the driver partners led by fellow Uber driver Abdoul Diallo are in the process of creating their own e- hailing app that would better benefit employees.

Check out the full article from the New York Times below:

On Super Bowl Sunday, a few hundred Uber drivers met in the cold in a public park in Queens, plotting to disrupt the app that thousands of New Yorkers were about to use to get in place to watch the big game. Gathered angrily on rows of wooden benches were Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russians, Kenyans, Serbs and Bangladeshis, many of them waving handmade signs. Their yellow placards attacked the ride-hailing service in the innumerable languages of polyglot New York. “Shame on Uber!” one announced in Spanish. “Uber Broke Our Hearts!” said another in Tibetan. Then in English: “We Made You Billionaires!” and “We Are Not Slaves!”

“We want to show Uber that without us full-time drivers, they won’t have any cars on the road,” Abdoul Diallo shouted from atop a concrete stage. Mr. Diallo, a Guinean immigrant who has emerged as a leader of the strikes, was holding up his own sign: “No Drivers, No Uber — It’s That Simple.”

“This is the formula!” he hollered to the crowd.

It has been nearly five years since Uber arrived in New York City. With its Randian philosophy and proprietary algorithms, the company promised to reshape the driving industry, and in many ways that promise has come true. A million New Yorkers have become accustomed to making cars materialize by pulling out their smartphones — and not just in Manhattan, but also in the other boroughs, which have long been underserved by for-hire providers. In part as a result, taxi owners have seen their profits crumble, taxi lenders are slowly going under and taxi unions are scrambling to protect their members’ jobs.

More recently, however, Uber’s indomitable rise has been clouded by an insurgency from a small but vocal portion of its own drivers who say they feel neglected, even used. From spring 2014 to spring 2015, the company quadrupled its business in the city, and for nearly a year it has been signing up new customers at a rate of 30,000 a week. The drivers argue that such dynamic growth would not have been possible without them: They, after all, supply the cars that keep the network liquid. Drawn to the company by advertisements that promised decent wages, many now contend that they are victims of a corporate bait-and-switch. As Uber has obtained a solid foothold in the market (and a $60 billion valuation), the drivers are complaining that it has slashed its prices in an effort to destroy the competition and to finance its expansion on their backs.

“In the beginning, your company was great for both drivers and customers,” Mr. Diallo and his partners wrote this month in a letter to the service. “You treated drivers well and we loved you for that. Little did we know that it would be a short-lived momentary ecstasy that you used to lure us in in great numbers, just so that you can execute your plans and strategies toward world domination.”

Uber, mostly through the voice of Josh Mohrer, the 33-year-old general manager of Uber New York, has said it is pained by the grievances of the drivers, who, while not employees of the service, are known as “driver-partners” in the company’s jargon. Like most tech operations, Uber has a data set for everything, and Mr. Mohrer said his numbers proved that January’s price cut, like a steeper one two years ago, increased the demand for rides and therefore led to larger driver paychecks.

“It’s not intuitive to think that lower fares will mean more money, but that is the reality,” Mr. Mohrer said. He added that he understood why the drivers might be anxious. “It’s a big ask to say, ‘Just trust us.’”

And yet there are underlying reasons for the drivers not to trust him. Uber, like other players in the gig economy, has a tenuous relationship with those who make a living from its software. Its drivers — 34,000 in New York — are independent contractors who buy their own cars, pay for gas and maintenance, and provide their own insurance. Although they get no benefits, they remit to Uber 20 to 25 percent of what they make as a fee to use the service. And unlike its competitors like Lyft, Uber does not permit tipping through its app, but it still reserves the right to “deactivate” its drivers, sometimes for little more than a subpar rider rating.

Two years ago, Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, said in an interview about the company’s plan to field a fleet of driverless vehicles that a reason the service was relatively expensive was that customers were paying for “the other dude in the car.” As the company’s ridership explodes and the investor class anticipates a potential public offering, the drivers say they often feel like just some other dude: a frictional human substance that gets in the way of an idealized experience of seamless digital travel.

“Uber treats its drivers however it wants,” Mr. Diallo said. “But we’re the ones who do everything except provide the technology.”

A former import-export trader who studied for a business degree, Mr. Diallo, 29, has been driving for the company for three years in a $50,000 Chevrolet Suburban. At first, he said, the job was great: He could afford his lease and still make money because he was taking in as much as $5,000 a week.

But in 2014, Uber cut its rates by 20 percent and not long after that it increased its commissions. Last year, it forced new drivers working for its luxury arm, Uber Black, to pick up passengers through its less expensive option, UberX. On top of this, Mr. Diallo claimed that Uber’s aggressive hiring has flooded the city with too many drivers chasing too few fares.

The price cuts last month were the final straw that set off the rebellion. Most of the drivers learned about the change through a company email, whose lack of warning and remoteness were softened by the fact that Uber promised, for a month, to guarantee an hourly wage at pre-cut levels. Within days of the announcement — and despite the guarantees — Mr. Diallo and two other drivers, Fabio Krasniqi and Farrukh Khamdamov, decided on a strike. Calling themselves the Uber Drivers Network, they created a Facebook page, designed a flier and paid for nearly 20,000 copies at a print shop near La Guardia.

“People can’t make a living,” Mr. Diallo said on the phone after a meeting to coordinate the New York actions with others in London and San Francisco. “They’re picking up $8 fares. They’re driving their cars into the ground. Collectively, there’s a lot of money coming in, but no one individual is making much.

“It’s gotten to the point,” he said, “where it’s literally unbearable.”

Uber likes to say that its drivers, not its riders, are its customers. And while the company might not give its customers health care or a pension, it does provide them access to high-tech support centers, modeled on Apple’s Genius Bars, where they can ask questions about commercial licenses, receive free medical exams or get a can of soda. Uber also helps its drivers negotiate leases with car dealers.

The conflict over the price cuts has been especially vexing for the company, which is adamant that the lower rates have been a boon to both the drivers and its own bottom line. Shortly after the strikers wrote to Uber, Mr. Kalanick posted a memo onto his Facebook page showing that the previous cuts had increased the average driver’s gross hourly wages from $28 to $37. On Tuesday, Mr. Mohrer released numbers indicating that from the three weeks before the last round of cuts to the three weeks after, drivers’ wages went up by 17 percent.

Uber also disputes the claim that there are too many drivers in New York. There are still more taxi riders that the company could woo, and, according to Mr. Mohrer, after the recent cuts were made, trips in the Bronx and Queens, where many drivers live, went up by nearly 25 percent.

But if all this data has the weight of scripture for Uber executives, it has been less persuasive to the drivers, who say the statistics do not fully describe the experience of working for the company. Though lower prices might increase their workload and thus their gross, they say, the increased revenue will be eroded by a corresponding increase in expenses.

At the Super Bowl rally, a driver named Mustafa, who declined to give his last name because he feared reprisals from Uber, said he expected to make about $40 an hour after the cuts. But that was before he paid for higher costs of maintenance, gas and washes; for his car lease, insurance and sales and income taxes; for emissions inspections and the 2.5 percent of earnings he gives each year to the Black Car Fund, a drivers’ trade group, for workers’ compensation; and, of course, for his commissions.

“When you put it together, the numbers don’t add up,” Mustafa said. “I’m taking home less than minimum wage.”
And beyond money, culture matters, too, the drivers say. Some mentioned a photograph that Mr. Mohrer posted on Twitter during his early days at Uber, which showed him smiling with Mr. Kalanick above a message that read, “Jamming with @travisk and plotting city domination.” Others pointed to their own support of Uber this summer when the company went to war with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who wanted to cap its growth, ostensibly to lessen road congestion. During the fight, which it won when Mr. de Blasio dropped his plan for the cap, Uber mobilized millions of dollars and an all-star team of political tacticians, but it also made use of the sympathetic image of hard-working immigrants telling City Hall that Uber put food on the table for their families.

“We stood behind them,” said Ronnie Paulino, a driver who has worked for Uber for a year. “Then they turned around and cut our pay.”

After speaking this month to an economics class at New York University, Mr. Mohrer acknowledged that when he first came to Uber, there were fewer drivers and stronger bonds between them and his management team. But as the fleet has grown, he said, he has tried to remain responsive to the drivers, who, on average, work 30 hours a week — or triple the rate of their peers in smaller cities.

“They’re more vested and engaged in Uber, so we take a more careful approach here,” Mr. Mohrer said. He added: “It’s a deeper relationship.”

But deeper doesn’t necessarily mean easier. A few weeks ago, Mr. Mohrer met with the leaders of the strikes at his office on West 27th Street in Chelsea’s gallery district. He said they had a frank discussion about the rate cuts, which could be rescinded if the cuts do not achieve their goals. While he was not explicit about what those goals might be, he insisted that the conversation had been useful. “I want to do this regularly,” he said. “Giving drivers the opportunity to speak to me and my staff can result in more rapid change.”

The strikers found the meeting less successful. “It was a joke,” Mr. Diallo said. “They treated us like jokers.” From his perspective, Mr. Mohrer offered no concessions on the cuts and was firm on only one position: that there would never be a tipping option on Uber’s app.

And that was the message Mr. Krasniqi delivered to the crowd in Queens on Super Bowl Sunday. Cupping his hands to his mouth, he reported on the meeting, then told the drivers to call their friends and relatives who also worked for Uber and urge them to stop driving.

“That’s how we built them up — with our friends and families,” Mr. Krasniqi roared. “And if we built them up, we can destroy them!”

It is hard to tell at this point just how serious the threat to Uber from sustained unrest would be. The challenges of organizing a work force composed of men and women of disparate ethnicities and languages loosely connected by a cloud-based app are significant. “If the drivers can come together in a block causing problems, they might get something,” said Evan Rawley, a professor of strategy at the Columbia Business School who studies the taxi industry. “But this is not West Virginia coal miners who all grew up together in the same small town.”

Uber has been somewhat clumsy in dealing with the problems with its fleet. In a stroke of unfortunate timing, Wired magazine published a 3,000-word treatise on Uber’s new corporate logo one day after the drivers went on strike outside its New York office. It was an inadvertent study in tech-world navel-gazing: as hundreds of immigrants were splashed across the Internet attacking Uber, Wired described how Mr. Kalanick had been working for two years on the logo, immersing himself in organic color schemes and kerning.

There is a potential wild card: Class-action lawsuits have been filed against Uber, including in the federal courts in Brooklyn and San Francisco, which seek to make the drivers full employees. If the suits are successful, they could cripple Uber’s business model, though some legal experts have said they are skeptical that the drivers could prevail when they use their own vehicles, and decide themselves when and whether to pick up passengers.

That leaves the traditional route of union organizing, which, in the case of the strikers in New York, has become chaotic. About a year ago, the Uber Drivers Network approached Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, one of whose organizers has been helping them plan rallies and collect union cards. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, an advocacy group for yellow cabdrivers, claims to have signed up nearly 5,000 Uber drivers in the city. And on Feb. 2, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1430, filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board asking to represent another 600 Uber drivers who work at La Guardia.

Mr. Diallo and his team have been working on a secret weapon: a driver-owned app to compete with those from Lyft and Uber, those from other ride-hailing companies like Gett and Via, and the taxi industry’s own two e-hailing systems, Way2Ride and Arro. The drivers designed the app themselves and have hired a company called Swift Technologies to build it. It could be ready as early as next month.

“The solution is not to stay with Uber,” Mr. Diallo said. “The solution is to have our own platform — to build a real partnership and really be partners.”

For now, however, they are still planning strikes, even if the one on Super Bowl Sunday was of questionable effectiveness. The drivers celebrated the action on their Facebook page, posting a screen shot of Uber’s app that night — accompanied by the hashtag #SHUTDOWNSUPERBOWL — that showed a wait time at Kennedy Airport of 72 minutes.

But the very next morning, Uber sent an email to its drivers announcing that the day before, it had broken its record for the most trips on a Sunday.

“Thanks to you, our driver-partners,” the email read, “hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers moved safely around the city this weekend.”

photo credit: nationofachange.com