08:00 Tuesday 10 December 2013

Council chiefs call for safety talks with taxi drivers

Written byROB SMYTH

26/11/13 Police speed op - Harvester, Ninth Avenue, Centrum,, BranstonPolice speed operation on the A38 between Clay Mills and Branston Interchange 26/11/13 Police speed op - Harvester, Ninth Avenue, Centrum,, BranstonPolice speed operation on the A38 between Clay Mills and Branston Interchange

COUNCIL chiefs have asked to meet taxi drivers after a recent safety operation uncovered concerns over the high level of vehicle defects.

A multitude of issues regarding signage, safety equipment and vehicle maintenance were uncovered during checks in Burton as part of a joint initiative organised by East Staffordshire Borough Council, Staffordshire Police and VOSA.

The outcome prompted council chiefs to call for a meeting with taxi bosses in a bid to try to improve vehicle maintenance and safety.

Julia Jessel, deputy leader for regulatory services, said: “As the licensing authority, the council has a duty of care to ensure the safety of the vehicles that have been granted a licence.

“More importantly, the council must ensure the safety of the people who use these licensed vehicles.

“I am disappointed by the number of vehicles found to have faults and, because of this, I have asked council officers to meet with the taxi trade to discuss concerns about standards of vehicle maintenance.”

Of 19 vehicles stopped, 17 held licenses issued by the authority. Three were found to be failing to comply with signage or safety equipment policy. VOSA vehicle inspectors found 11 vehicles with various defects such as inadequate tread depth on tyres, faulty lights and mirrors.

Drivers have been issued with notices requiring action to rectify the faults and these are being followed up.

Drug swabs and dog searches conducted yielded no positive results.

Mohammed Ikhlaq, chairman of the East Staffordshire Private Hire and Taxi Association, said: “Taxi drivers are more than willing to sit down with council bosses to discuss any safety concerns that they may have.

“The taxi trade is stringently checked, including regular operations like this one and also things such as regular MOTs, more than the average driver.

“I would also say that the issues that were uncovered would most likely be found on most people’s cars, if they were subjected to similarly rigorous testing as taxi drivers are.”

The checks were on November 29.

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