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‘DON’T RISK IT’: LTDA warns taxi drivers to remain careful despite TfL pledge to review driver policy

Taxi representatives have urged drivers ‘don’t risk it’ despite Transport for London (TfL) looking to make amendments to it’s controversial taxi driver policy.

Paul Kirby, Executive S.O. of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA), raised significant ongoing concerns in Taxi Newspaper regarding the stringent enforcement of TfL's Taxi and Private Hire Driver Policy. This policy, as it stands, places the livelihoods of countless drivers at risk for what many consider to be minor infractions, particularly relating to mobile phone use.

TfL has acknowledged the need for policy adjustments, yet specifics remain undisclosed, leaving drivers in a state of limbo. The current regulations are notably unforgiving, with a single mobile phone offence potentially leading to the suspension or revocation of a driver’s licence. This rule applies even to drivers who might interact with their phone while stationary, not just those blatantly disregarding safety by using their device while driving.

The policy further squeezes drivers’ with its stance on offences deemed 'major', such as driving too close to cyclists. These offences could see drivers penalised with a three to six-point deduction, with the accumulation of six points sufficient grounds for TfL to revoke a taxi licence.

Kirby highlights the disproportionate nature of these penalties, particularly for offences resulting in a mere three-point deduction and no actual harm. TfL's recent communications do suggest a move towards a more equitable approach, potentially preventing undue licence suspensions for minor violations.

The psychological toll on drivers under this regime cannot be overstated, with many experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety due to the fear of punitive action for even minor mistakes. The policy's implementation has led to a climate of fear, exacerbated by the requirement for drivers to report any penalty points to TfL within a strict 21-day window, a deadline that is often challenging to meet.

Kirby's advice to drivers is unequivocal. He says: “I cannot stress strongly enough that you must NOT ever hold your phone, unless you are parked and the engine is off. Under no circumstances have video playing whilst driving, even if you believe it’s to listen to the audio. It’s illegal to use your handheld mobile device if you're stopped at a traffic light, queuing in traffic, or even to hold and use a device that's offline or in-flight mode.

“Don’t take the risk.”


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