Council planning on introducing practical and geographical exams for all new Taxi and Private Hire a

Practical driving tests could be introduced for all new taxi and private hire applicants in Taunton as members of the borough’s licensing committee begin to discuss potential changes to improve the industry. The recommendations have been put forward to follow practice of the former Driving Standards Agency test for all new applicants that apply for hackney carriage and private hire licenses. The request will also see any current drivers that accumulate six or more penalty points on their driving licence within the three year period of their taxi or PHV period. Current requirements that must be met before a licence is granted are that all applicants submit a medical report, undergo a driver history check as well as a DBS check. If all those requirements are successfully met, applicants will then undertake a knowledge and suitability test, which is the last stage of the application process. Currently there is nothing in place that covers a practical driving test. Taunton Deane Borough drivers are not required to complete a geographical knowledge test of the area either, but if the new proposals are agreed then this would be included in the practical test. The licensing officer has said that adding the new test would promote greater safety for passengers, the Somerset County Gazette.

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