Council taxi and private hire vehicle checks across Mid Devon reveal 15 per cent failure rate

A Mid Devon Council taxi and private hire inspection revealed out of 51 individual checks, 8 had their licence revoked for not meeting the minimum requirements.  

Two licenses, five driver licenses and one vehicle license have been revoked from Hackney Carriage and private hire companies within the last year.

The figures, which account for 15 per cent of licenses checked, were revealed at a Mid Devon District Council regulatory committee meeting.

Devon Live first reported that specialist lead licensing officer, Thomas Keating, advised during the meeting that the council currently had 121 licenses on its register, and 51 of those had been proactively inspected by enforcement officers. Keating explained the checks were additional to the yearly checks carried out on vehicles by authorised garages. Although, on a whole, he wanted to stress “the standard was pretty good” he wanted to highlight some common issues which were found during the inspections. He said: “These were things like drivers not wearing badges, which is an offence. "Dirty vehicles, so if we ever come across a vehicle and we think it hasn’t been cleaned in quite a while, the vehicle is sent away immediately and must be brought back for reinspection to make sure it’s nice and clean for the public to get into and use. "We also found unreported damage to vehicles; nothing major but scrapes and dents that drivers need to be keeping on top of. “We know that our inspections have potential limitations. "Inspection at authorised garages is pre-arranged, so the proprietor of the vehicle knows that it’s going to be tested. "We know we should also be proactive in inspection with the DVSA and the Police where we pull vehicles over and get them in for a real thorough check mechanically. We did this two years ago, and we hope to do that again this year.” Mr Keating added that there had been several direct actions taken by licensing officers. He added: “That’s things that haven’t been referred to committee, and that could be because they are so serious we feel as officers we have to take immediate action to protect the public and we can’t delay that because sometimes a hearing can take two weeks to organise and we just can’t wait that long. “In terms of direct officer decisions in the last year, we’ve immediately revoked two driver’s licenses following notifications from issues from the police, we’ve also immediately suspended five driver licenses, and that’s to safeguard the public. “In addition to that, we’ve immediately suspended one vehicle license because it wasn’t fit to be out working with the public.” In addition to increased checks on drivers and their vehicles, Keating pointed out that since the end of June, all taxi drivers were required to attend safeguarding training.

He said to date 92 per cent had complied and the remaining drivers would be contacted soon to remind them that they have to complete the course or risk being subject to enforcement action.

Image: Source; Pixabay

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