On Friday 6th November 2015, North Yorkshire Police Road Policing Group, Harrogate Borough Council, the DSVA (the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) and HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) worked in partnership to carry out vehicle safety checks on private hire vehicles and Hackney Carriages in Harrogate.
A previous similar operation took place in 2014, where upon inspection a significant number of vehicles were found to be defective.
- 25 vehicles stopped
- 3 immediate prohibition notices (vehicle ordered off road until repaired and MOT’d)
- 2 delayed prohibition notice (seven days to rectify defect before vehicle ordered off road)
- 2 advisory notices issued for defects
- 4 vehicles had their taxi plates suspended preventing them from continuing to work
- 3 traffic offence reports (fixed penalty’s) given for tyre offences
- 1 driver reported to go to court
- 14 vehicles checked by HMRC for red diesel
Checks took place between 7-11pm on a total of 25 vehicles, which were stopped and checked to ensure their drivers were properly licensed. The DVSA undertook full mechanical examinations on 15 of the vehicles and HMRC also checked them for illegal road fuel.
Due to a variety of defects relating to tyres, brakes and seatbelts; three taxis were given immediate prohibition notices, which means the vehicles were ordered off the road with one being clamped by officers from the DVSA.
Two other vehicles were given a delayed prohibition notice, where they are given seven days to rectify defects found. A further two were given advisory notices in relation to light and brake defects. A number of drivers were also warned by taxi inspectors about breaches of taxi licencing rules.
Traffic Sergeant Andy Morton said:
Whilst I know the majority of taxi drivers are responsible people and do maintain their vehicles, I was disappointed by the fact that almost half of the vehicles which underwent a mechanical inspection had some form of defect. Four of these vehicles had defects which were so serious that their taxi plates were suspended by Harrogate Borough Council and three were prohibited from being driven on the road at all.
Some of these drivers had full knowledge that their vehicles had defects, but continued to drive anyway which isn’t acceptable and puts the lives of passengers at risk. I want to ensure that taxi drivers are fully aware that it is their responsibility to ensure their vehicle is free of defects before they use it, regardless of the fact it is a company vehicle.
With the festive season fast approaching, we will continue to work in partnership with our colleagues in the other agencies; to raise standards and awareness of the importance of vehicle safety and enforce the regulations to keep the public of North Yorkshire safe. We are already planning further operations of this type in the coming months.
Councillor John Ennis, Harrogate Borough Council’s Licensing Committee Chairman said:
Harrogate Borough Council considers the safety of the travelling public in licensed hackney carriage and private hire vehicles to be paramount. I would like to express my thanks to all parties involved and hope that this operation demonstrates our commitment to passenger safety. Drivers should ensure that their vehicles are in good order before commencing any journey and they can be assured that action will be taken where they fall short of the required standards.