Cabs fail random checks as new rules proposed

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More than a third of the cabs tested in random vehicle safety checks in the Bradford district failed, it has emerged

Around 40 per cent of those private hire and hackney carriages attending the test were failing, according to a report proposing a string of changes to the rules governing cabs in the district.

It also reveals council officers’ concerns that almost a quarter (around 24 per cent) of vehicles were failing to attend the random test.

Officers want the power to impose a £50 fee on a vehicle’s owner for failing to attend the tests and to suspend the vehicle from working until it is tested, says the report, which will be presented to Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee on Thursday.

At present all vehicles are tested annually. It is being proposed that half of the cabs over six years old are also brought in annually for a random test.

Geoff Binnington, Bradford Council’s principal officer, fleet and transport services, told the Yorkshire Post that there have been improvements in the last month.

He said: “We have worked very closely with the operators to ensure this is being addressed. Improvement has already started to show and numbers failing the test have improved to about 30 per cent in the last month.

“We are optimistic this will continue to increase as the operators and drivers work with us.”

The random tests focus on the mechanical safety of the cabs, flagging up issues such as worn tyres, defective seat belts and oil leaks.

Mr Binnington said: “The random test was only brought in last year. We are now looking to raise the profile more.

“While the drivers have been used to preparing vehicles annually, the short-notice test is really focusing them on ensuring the vehicle remains in good and safe condition throughout the year.

“We are now looking to ensure that we enforce attendance so that everyone who is required to come does attend. Therefore there will be potential penalties if they do not. Then we will be working very closely with the association representatives to ensure the standard increases.”

Councillors are also being asked to back moves to require all drivers to undertake refresher driver training every three years and that training is expanded to include licensed operator training.

Officers are not recommending any increase in licence fees.

The proposed changes follow a number of amendments to the council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Operator, Driver and Licensing Conditions and Procedures which were introduced last June.

The report to be considered by councillors says: “The proposals being made are less restrictive and provide greater opportunity whilst maintaining high standards of safety.

“It is the view of officers that the proposals are proportionate and consistent in their approach to dealing with new and existing drivers, operators and vehicles with the overall aim of promoting public safety and confidence whilst paying due regard to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, criminal convictions, police cautions and motoring offences.

“The defined Conditions and Procedures also support a consistent approach to enforcement for the council’s hackney carriage/private hire standards and enforcement partners.”