UK Licensing authorities and police issue safety reminder to taxi and private hire users this Xmas

A number of licensing authorities and police forces across the UK have taken to social media to remind festive goers to ensure they take reasonable precautions when travelling home from evenings out.

Aylesbury Vale District Council have issued a statement, saying: 'Taxis and private hire vehicles offer a convenient way to travel to and from local restaurants, bars and clubs.

'However, if you're taking a taxi or private hire vehicle, it’s important to ensure you’re getting into a licensed cab with a licensed driver.

'All licensed vehicles are routinely checked to ensure they meet Aylesbury Vale District Council’s (AVDC) high standards for passenger safety.

'Licensed drivers are thoroughly vetted by AVDC before they’re allowed to work, while licensed operators are required to record all journeys undertaken by their vehicles.

(Image credit: Aylesbury Vale District Council)

'You can recognise licensed vehicles as follows'

Hackney Carriage Vehicle (Taxi) • No booking required – can be hailed. • Able to queue at a taxi rank. • Must use a meter. • Black, with a white licence plate on the rear (town centre taxis).

Private Hire Vehicle

• Must be booked through a licensed operator – cannot be hailed.

• Not able to queue at a taxi rank.

• Not required to use a meter.

• Yellow licence plate on the rear and in the front window.

They added: 'With both these vehicle types, please check there’s an AVDC taxi licence plate at the rear of the vehicle.

'This should have a valid expiry date on it, and the registration number should match the vehicle’s registration plate.

'You should also check that the vehicle has AVDC stickers on the doors and that the driver is wearing an AVDC Photo ID badge. (Please ensure that the photo matches the driver.)

'When booking a private hire vehicle, always give your name. That way, when checking if your private hire vehicle has arrived, you can ask them whose name the booking was made under.

'Remember, if you take a private hire that hasn’t been booked, you’ll be uninsured for the journey. (It’s a criminal offence for a private hire driver to take you without a prior booking.)

'By following the tips above, you can stay safe – while still enjoying your evenings and nights out.

Police forces across the UK also took the time to remind party goers of the risks of drink driving and have taken to social media to remind drinkers to hop in a taxi to get home safely. Greater Manchester Police (GMP), said: 'We’d like to remind you to plan your journey ahead of time.

'It’s easy to get carried away with the festive cheer, and while some people don’t plan on drink or drug driving they end up making poor decisions as a result of intoxication.

'We encourage you to plan your journey home before you start drinking. Designate a driver to stay sober on a night out or book a taxi in advance. #DontDrinkAndDrive' Ahead of the launch of GMP’s festive drink and drug driving campaign, officers have arrested nine people for drink and drug offences over the past 24 hours.

Four people have been arrested and subsequently charged with drink driving offences, with a further five arrested for drug driving offences.

The campaign, which was officially launched on Sunday 1 December, aims to highlight the consequences of driving while over the limit and the effects drink and drugs can have on your ability to drive.

Chief Inspector Matt Bailey-Smith from GMP’s Roads Policing Unit explains more: “The temptation to stay out and have a drink to celebrate increases during the festive and New Year period; however this also increases the chances of that person drinking and driving.

"GMP will not tolerate anyone who is under the influence of drink or drugs while driving and as we have seen from these results, offenders will be arrested and will face the consequences of their actions.

“My officers will be patrolling hotspot areas in marked and unmarked police vehicles to ensure we limit the number of collisions caused by anyone driving under the influence of drink or drugs. Specialist officers will also be directly targeting drivers who we receive information about in order to remove them from our roads. If you know someone who drives under the influence, let us know.

“Any amount of drink and drugs can impair your vision, decision-making and dramatically reduce your reaction times. It only takes a second to lose control of your car but the consequences can last a lifetime. Make use of public transport or have a designated driver in your group. Don’t risk it, stay safe and have none for the road.

“If you suspect anyone is driving under the influence of drink or drugs, contact the police directly on 101 or 999 in an emergency where they pose an immediate threat to themselves or other road users. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

"The month-long campaign will run over Christmas and New Year before concluding on Wednesday 1 January.

"During this period there will be extra patrols across Greater Manchester and officers from the Roads Policing Unit will target hotspot areas.

"GMP Traffic PCSO’s will be educating communities alongside Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) with the help of a driver simulator van, which will highlight the dangers of drink and drug driving.

"Over four weeks they will tour Greater Manchester and will be in specific locations from 12pm until 5pm. Area Manager Damian O’Rourke from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said:

“Our firefighters are called to serious road traffic collisions daily, and all too often witness the death or life-changing injuries caused by distractions while driving.

“Collisions often occur as a result of distractions like driving too fast, mobile phones, and drink or drug driving, and we want to remind people, especially as Christmas approaches, not to take the risk of drink or drug driving – the consequences can be devastating and wreck lives.”

Last year’s Christmas drink and drug drive campaign saw officers carry out 1,867 breath, drug and field impairment tests and 228 arrests were made.

Anyone convicted of drink or drug driving could face:

- A criminal record

- At least a one-year driving ban

- Higher motor insurance costs

- Endorsement on your driving licence for 11 years

- You could also lose your job. Islington Council also issued an advisory statement, saying: 'Be street smart when getting home this festive period. If it’s not a black cab or licensed taxi, then it’s just a stranger’s car.

'Check who’s driving you home this weekend. #HaveFunStaySafe'

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