Over half of taxis fail test

MOrE than half of taxis and private hire vehicles inspected as part of a multi-agency operation in Scarborough have failed security checks.

The random inspections involved North Yorkshire Police and Scarborough Council’s licensing services.

Inspectors primarily looked for defects such as faulty headlights, problems with indicators, illegal tyres and worn handbrakes.

In addition, licensing officers checked that licensed drivers were fully compliant with the council’s Taxi and Private Hire Policy and government legislation which includes wearing their identification badges, driving a clean car and observing the dress code.

Out of the 28 taxi and private hire vehicles inspected, 12 vehicles were given a clean bill of health.

The verbal advisory notifications mainly related to defects involving tyre wear, number plate bulbs, minor oil leaks, ball joint rubbers, wiper blades and an exhaust defect.

Cllr Brian Watson, chairman of the licensing committee said: “I am very pleased with the way the operation has been conducted and I am aware that the vast majority of licensed drivers are very diligent and do ensure they are wearing their badges and checking their vehicles thoroughly before commencing work.”

Checks were also made on licensed drivers to ensure compliance, one particular driver was found to be driving without wearing his badge and another driver failed to clearly display his photographic ID card. The vast majority of drivers were able to demonstrate full compliance with all of the driver requirements and legislation.

On this occasion no immediate suspensions for a serious defect were necessary neither were any delayed suspensions.

However, there were two Police Vehicle Defect Repair Notices (VDRN’s) issued (relating to a ball joint, tyre tracking and a brake pedal rubber) and nine verbal advisory notifications issued for minor defects requiring urgent attention.

A VDRN requires the owner to undertake the repair, have it checked at an MOT facility and also complete/submit paperwork back to the police. One fixed penalty notice was issued at the Police’s discretion.

The results show a vast improvement compared with the last Scarborough operation which resulted in one immediate suspension, six delayed prohibitions and seven verbal advisory notifications being issued, plus two fixed penalty notices issued at the Police’s discretion.

Sgt Neil Campbell, of North Yorkshire Police’s roads policing unit, added: “The results on this occasion have shown an improvement on the percentage of vehicles presenting with defects compared with last time, which is encouraging.

“The public have a right to expect that the vehicles they pay to be carried in are maintained to a high level, and driven by properly licensed drivers.

“We will continue to programme these checks into our calendars to ensure these standards are maintained.”