Merseyside's taxi drivers could all face mandatory new drug tests when they try and renew their licence, according to a report in the Liverpool Echo. The new proposals were highlighted in a report from police and crime commissioner Jane Kennedy's office following a worrying number of arrests of taxi and private hire drivers operating under the influence of drugs.
Ms Kennedy met with council leaders and the metro mayor earlier this month to try and push the idea forward and now the new report will now be discussed next week
The document says: "Following a huge increase in the number of taxi drivers being arrested for drug driving offences, last April the Commissioner took the issue of ‘drug testing’ for taxi drivers to the authority, advising that she would like to see a standardised approach to drug testing implemented across the region. "This would mean that all prospective taxi drivers and those seeking to renew their licenses would be subject to a mandatory drug test."
The new proposals are set out on improving road safety, which is one of Ms Kennedy's priorities as PCC, with the aim of reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on Merseyside's roads to less than 400. The previous year of 2017 saw 557 people killed or seriously injured on Merseyside's roads.
Taxipoint reported in November of last year that
Merseyside Police revealed that more than forty taxi and private hire drivers had been arrested for drug-driving in 2018.
A post on Merseyside Police's Safer Roads Unit twitter account last year revealed how a driver had tested positive and over the limit for three drugs while he had a paying customer in the vehicle.
Merseyside’s Roads Policing Unit also reported on one private hire driver who had only been a driver for three days and was found to be under the influence of cocaine.
They also tweeted about a hackney carriage driver who was stopped and arrested tested positive for drugs. He was arrested for providing a positive drugs test.