Taxis are governed by strict laws in the way in which way they must be used and maintained. As a taxi driver you have a responsibility for the safeguard of the general public, therefore, contravention of the laws for taxi drivers is treated harshly.
There are strict criteria that must be met in order for a person to legally drive a taxi, and this includes the registration and licensing of the vehicle itself.
There are number of rules and regulations that apply specifically to taxi drivers and the vehicles that they drive.
Common taxi offences include:
Illegal taxi driving and soliciting for hire are serious offences. If the driver a private hire vehicle is caught soliciting for business, then their taxi licence could be revoked and they would face a fine of up to £1000.
If you are driving a private hire taxi, the law requires that your fare must be pre-booked.
If your fare is not pre-booked and you are caught soliciting for fares, this is known as ‘taxi touting’ (illegally plying for business) and you could receive a fine of up to £100 and have your licence revoked.
Taxi touting falls under two main categories:
This is a serious offence and a conviction could even invalidate your insurance.
If you have been accused of taxi touting, we suggest you call our expert taxi offence solicitors here at Lanyon Bowdler. We have an excellent track record of successfully defending taxi driver clients.
If you have been caught driving a taxi without a licence you face a fine of up to £2,500.
Again, driving without a valid licence could void your insurance which may result in further fines of up to £5000 and between 6-8 penalty points.
If you are not covered by a specific taxi insurance policy and you are engaging in the practice of acting as a taxi, then your general car insurance policy will not cover you and you will be charged with driving without insurance.
If you have been asked to produce a valid taxi licence, then you will have 5 days in which to do so. Failure to produce a valid taxi licence within time period can result in a fine up to £1,000.
You must have a specific taxi insurance policy as a normal car policy is considered inadequate. If you do not have adequate insurance (or your insurance is void by another offence) then you face a maximum fine is £5,000 and 6 or possibly 8 penalty points.
Courts often view this harshly and you could also receive a ban and have your taxi licence revoked.
Providing incorrect details for a taxi licence application, such as providing a false name and address when will mean that person has committed an offence.
The penalty for providing false details on a taxi licence carries a fine of up to £250.
This also applies to the owner of a taxi company if they knowingly allow allows a person to drive a taxi having provided incorrect details.
Overcharging passengers in a taxi, over and above those authorised by the local authority, or unnecessarily prolonging a taxi journey can lead to a fine of £1,000.
Taxi passengers can also request a refund of the amount that was overcharged.
Private hire taxi operators do not fall under this legislation.
There may some defence open to a taxi driver solicitor if the taxi meter can be proved defective at the time of the alleged offence.
Smoking while driving taxi is seen as a lesser offence but could result in a £50 fine.
This is an offence under the ‘anti-smoking ban’ and can be very offensive to passengers and reports of taxi drivers smoking is not uncommon. It’s worth noting that a passenger can report a taxi driver smoking even if they were not in the taxi at the time.
‘No Smoking’ signs must be clearly displayed in vehicles.
A ‘victim’ could also argue for damages.
If a taxi driver refuses to carry a disabled passenger and their guide dog, an offence is committed with a fine of up to £1,000. A taxi driver is also unable to charge extra if a disabled person is accompanied for a guide dog.
It is an offence for a taxi or taxi hire company to refuse transportation of a disabled person accompanied by a guide dog. Nor may a taxi driver request additional charges to transport a disabled passenger.
In addition to the specific laws governing a taxi driver you also fall under the general driving regulations such as, drink driving whilst driving a taxi, careless driving, dangerous driving, and speeding offences.
You may well be treated more harshly due to the nature of your work and your obligation to safeguard the public.
Being accused of committing a taxi offence can be serious for you as it could mean losing your licence. This of course would affect your earnings and your livelihood.
Here at Lanyon Bowdler, our team of specialist taxi offence solicitors understand this and we may be able to help you avoid being charged. Just because you are accused of committing a taxi offence type of an does not mean you are automatically guilty.
It’s worth considering contesting any charges against you if it means it could save your licence, your job and many sleepless nights. Get in touch so we can start helping you. Complete our enquiry form today and one of specialist driving offence laywers will get in touch with you
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