Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council is considering implementing a penalty points system that targets taxi drivers in an effort to address issues of rudeness, parking on ranks and unclean vehicles.
The potential changes are part of the council's Hackney Carriage, Private Hire Drivers, Operators, and Vehicle Proprietor Licensing Policy and Vehicle Licensing Policy.
Currently, when complaints are made about drivers' conduct, the council employs a 'lighter touch' enforcement approach. However, the proposed penalty points system would be utilised in cases where no breach of licence conditions has occurred. By introducing this system, the council hopes to ensure that drivers comply with regulations, thereby safeguarding both passengers and the reputation of the industry.
The proposed penalty points scheme covers a range of offences, including private hire drivers parking on ranks, Hackney Carriage drivers leaving vehicles unattended on ranks, failure to report damages within stipulated time frames, rudeness towards customers, unnecessarily prolonged journeys, unsatisfactory vehicle conditions, failure to display or carry the taxi driver's badge, and late submission of requested documents, among others.
In addition to the abovementioned offences, points may also be added to a driver's record if they are convicted of certain driving offences in court. Examples of such offences include speeding, crossing a red light, driving with bald tires, using a phone while driving, or smoking while driving. Once a driver accumulates 12 points, the matter will be referred to the council's licensing committee, which will then determine the appropriate course of action.
The introduction of the points system is just one of several changes proposed for the policy. The council's licensing committee is scheduled to discuss these proposals during a meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday, 17 October. This development reflects the council's commitment to ensuring a higher level of driver conduct and vehicle maintenance within the local taxi industry.
Kevin Hollis, Strategic Director for Public Services at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, wrote in the Licensing Committee report: “The primary objective of implementing a penalty points scheme must clearly be to improve the levels of compliance within the trade which would subsequently help improve the standards, safety and protection of the travelling public.
“It is not a 'punishment' but more of a fair, open and transparent scheme to monitor drivers' behaviour and conduct over a period to establish whether they remain 'fit and proper to hold a licence.”