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Government consults on new taxi driver checks

The Government is looking to introduce enhanced checks on taxi and private hire drivers to ensure passengers are kept safe.

The consultation will look at whether vehicles should be fitted with CCTV

The new safety measures, which are under consultation until 22 April, include recommending councils ensure every driver undergoes enhanced criminal record and background checks, and looking at whether vehicles should be fitted with CCTV.

The consultation forms part of the Government’s response to the Task and Finish Group’s report on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing, which made a series of recommendations to reform the sector in September.

The Government has also pledged to legislate on national minimum standards for drivers, establish a national licensing database and look at restricting drivers operating hundreds of miles away from where they are licensed.

Taxis Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “While the vast majority of drivers are safe and act responsibly, we have seen too many cases where taxi and minicab drivers have used their job to prey on vulnerable people, women and children.

“These rules would make sure that drivers are fit to carry passengers, keeping people safe while stopping those with bad intentions from getting behind the wheel of a taxi or minicab.”

The news was welcomed by the London Assembly Transport Committee. Chair Caroline Pidgeon said: “Anything that improves the safety of passengers has to be a good thing.

“The big miss in the Government response to the DfT Review is the statutory definition of plying for hire not being resolved. This has long been a major bone of contention and it appears to be too hard to resolve, so they aren’t going to try. The good news is that Transport for London will be given legislative powers to regulate pedicabs.

“The Transport Committee will publish its report into the taxi and private hire industry in March.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.