Tougher sanctions imposed on law-breaking taxi drivers in St Albans

Stricter rules are being imposed on taxi drivers in St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO

Stricter rules are being imposed on taxi drivers in St Albans. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Taxi drivers in St Albans who use mobile phones behind the wheel are to be banned from work for up to five years as part of a council crackdown.

As of January 31, any driver convicted of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving will not be granted a new or renewed taxi licence by St Albans district council until five years have passed, which is four years longer than the council’s previous sanction for a single mobile phone offence.

The new regulations were introduced as part of a package of more stringent sanctions that were agreed by St Albans Licensing and Regulatory Committee on Tuesday, January 29.

Drivers who have seven points on their license for ‘minor’ offences, including speeding, will also not be granted a taxi licence until at least five years have passed.

Motorists with convictions for major traffic or vehicle offences, including offences resulting in death or injury, damage to property or motor insurance offences, will not be granted a licence for at least seven years following completion of any conviction.

Seven years will also have to elapse for a licence to be granted after a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Under the previous policy, drivers who had been disqualified for totting up 12 points or more would have been refused a licence until they had a conviction-free period of one year.

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Council officers say the new policy will help ensure the safety of passengers, including children and vulnerable adults.

The report to the committee said: “The majority of applicants and licensees are professional, hard-working people and this updated policy will assist in setting the standard for entry to the trade in our district to ensure that professionalism is protected and preserved.”

A small number of drivers objected to the changes, suggesting the sanction imposed on a driver with seven points on their licence was too severe and would affect their livelihoods.