Carlisle City Council are fully supporting the installation of COVID-19 protective screens in its licensed taxi and private hire vehicles after both sections of the industry were identified as a raised risk of death by the Office of National Statistics.
At a virtual council meeting, held on Wednesday 27 May, Carlisle Licensing Authority said: “We support the installation of protective screens in licensed vehicles provided they are fit for purpose and of a safe standard.
“There is no requirement to make amendments to licence conditions, but licence holders are required to obtain permission for installation. A guidance note has been produced alongside a procedure for authorisation to ensure that licence holders are able to fit screens in their vehicles without unnecessary delay.”
The installation of screening in vehicles is an option and any such screening must be properly regulated by individual licensing authorities to ensure acceptable standards.
The following guidelines relate only to the makes and models of hackney carriage and private hire vehicles approved for use in Carlisle City Council District.
The council has said all protection screens must be properly, professionally and securely fitted from a manufacturer/installer who can provide documentation as to its specifications.
In addition, the screens must not interfere with the front seat belts, vehicle airbags and not be fitted in any way which impedes the movement or vision of the driver.
Polycarbonate screens are considered most reliable for providing both strength and flexibility but alternative materials will be considered so long as documentation is provided from the installer/manufacturer that it meets safety standards and can be effectively cleaned and disinfected.
All screens should be mounted within the vehicle and fitted securely, thus separating the driver and passengers.
The screen must be transparent; both driver and passenger must be able to see and communicate with each other clearly. The screen will become part of the vehicle testing regime.
The procedure for obtaining approval for a protection screen reads: “All applications for the fitting of a protection screen on a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire vehicle must be made by email to email@example.com or by writing to the Licensing Manager, Carlisle City Council, Civic Centre, Carlisle CA3 8QG.
”Details of the material and proposed installation of the intended screen must be provided together with details of the installer/manufacturer.
”Outlining details of the proposed installation should be provided including details of the manufacturer/installer and full specifications.
”The applicant is required to declare that they have contacted their insurance company and confirm that the installation of the protective screen does not invalidate their vehicle insurance for hire and reward purposes.
“Written provisional approval will be sent/emailed to the applicant normally within 24 hours of the decision being made.
“It is essential that all the details of the type of screen and fitting is shown on the original submission. If it is not then the application may subsequently be rejected. Any changes made following the provisional approval must be agreed with the Licensing Manager who will give written agreement to the changes being made.”
As part of the vehicle‘s final inspection a licensing officer will make arrangements to inspect the vehicle when it is safe to do so. The screen will continue to be inspected as part of the routine vehicle testing programme.
Licence holders are made aware that the screens do not offer total protection for the transmission of viruses and should be part of a rigorous and regular cleaning regime of the vehicle.
Image credit: Pixabay