In Newton Abbot there is a new crack down on taxis that are unlicensed by Teignbridge Council.
There have been recent reports from social media networks of illegal taxi drivers having cut prices which are taking trade away from those who are fully licensed.
“This is being done with no consideration of the dangers they are putting themselves and their passengers in,” said a spokesman for the council.
The areas the Council are most concerned about are Newton Road and Market Street in Newton Abbot. The Council have said they will be working with organisations to find what the risks are of using unlicensed taxis.
“While it’s perfectly legal for friends or family members to offer late night lifts, those who operate for profit and advertise themselves are breaking the law and leaving themselves and their passengers open to all sorts of risks.
“The most obvious issue is that passengers may not know the drivers and when they seek lifts, often while drunk, they could put themselves in a dangerous position,” said the spokesman for the council.
Taxi drivers who are licensed have to have criminal record checks every three years, they have to have health checks regularly and have to have been driving for at least a year and take a taxi driver test with the DVLA. All licensed taxi drivers must do this before getting their permit.
The drivers also need to have their vehicles inspected every year to make sure they comply with the standards. Although the council can see through social media sites that unlicensed taxis are promoting their services via these channels to make some extra money. This does however mean that they have little experience, security checks and licences.
Councillor Mike Walters is the Teignbridge Executive Portfolio Holder for Corporate Services has said, “This is a very disturbing trend we are seeing, and we want to put a stop to it straight away before anybody gets hurt. We are urging people to think about how they and their loved ones are getting home after a night out and we want to make them aware of the dangers.
“These drivers are often not aware of the laws they are breaking and may quite innocently be thinking they are just earning a bit of extra cash, but it’s important that they realise how serious this issue is. New drivers can face especially severe consequences, as six points means they’ll lose their licence.”
Those who are now found to be operating taxi services without the correct licences and private hire insurance may face civil and potentially criminal charges.
Those who are practising in the taxi trade with car insurance will mean that the insurance is invalid and driving without insurance means six points instantly. Those who haven’t been driving for a full year, this means a loss of licence too.