Earlier this month the penalties for use of a mobile phone when driving were increased, however it would seem there is still some confusion over what is and isn't legal when it comes to using a phone behind the wheel. The Private Hire and Taxi Association have had a number of drivers contacting them regarding this issue so approached the Department for Transport for clarification on this matter. The DfT provided the following facts:
- If caught using a handheld device when driving the penalty is £200 and 6 points on your licence.
- It is also illegal to hold a satellite navigation system when driving.
- The only exception to the rule is if you are required to dial 999 or 112 in a genuine emergency and it is unsafe or impractical to stop.
- It is NOT illegal to use a handsfree set (mounted/headset/headphones) to speak on a mobile phone.
- However if using a hands free set (for example when touching a mounted phone) causes your driving to suffer, it is possible this could lead to other offenses, for example, you could be prosecuted for dangerous driving, careless driving or not being in proper control of the vehicle.
It is clear that use of any in-car equipment including holding/touching a mobile phone or sat nav can severely affect your driving performance putting yourself at risk of prosecution, risking your own safety and the safety of others. This is something we all need to keep in mind in order to drive with as much care as possible.
You can find out more about using a mobile phone safely when driving on the Government website here.
Southampton Hackney Association member and owner of Southampton White Taxi Excursions, Lance Bradley, offers a private taxi service to UK airports, cruise terminals and seaports as well as city visits and sightseeing trips to a variety of attractions. Southampton White Taxi Excursions offer groups large or small, custom made journeys to some of England’s most popular destinations including London, Bath and Stonehenge.
Lance has recently come up with an innovative way of supporting places of interest in the area - a taxi bib which contains maps and information which can simply clip onto the back of the taxi seat. Not only does his design help promote local attractions, it provides passengers with something interesting to peruse during their journey and may enlighten passengers who would not normally have considered using a taxi for sightseeing.
You can support local attractions by purchasing one of these great products for your own taxi. Just get in touch with Lance through his website here: Southampton White Taxi Excursions.
Southampton White Taxi Excursions are one of the many businesses who advertise on the Southampton Hackney Association ‘Our Partners’ page.
Here are the key points raised at the Southampton City Council Meeting on Tuesday April 8th:
- The decision to extend the lifespan of taxi cabs to nine years for saloon cars, and twelve years for wheelchair adapted vehicles was approved.
- The subsidy for CCTV cameras will be extended until September 2014, and as CCTV cameras are to remain mandatory, the trade will investigate to see if there are cheaper models on the market.
- The council is also going to contact Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes to try to get funding towards the subsidy for CCTV cameras.
Other Points of interest: The recent talk of Southampton taxi drivers going on strike within our City is incorrect. It was never discussed with the trade. (Some of the individuals responsible for making this remark do not actually drive taxi's). With the economy the way it is at the present moment, no self employed taxi driver would consider this as a course of action.
The statutory law no.176 of The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts Regulations- 1993) states that while a taxi is seeking hire, answering a call for hire or carrying a passenger for hire a licensed taxi driver does not have to wear a seat belt. However, it is advisable that if you are going out of your licensing area with customers or to collect customers - you should wear a seat belt.
When carrying children in Licensed Taxis, statutory law no.1892 of The Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts ((Amendment)) Regulations 2006), there is no requirement on licensed taxi/private car operators to provide child seats/boosters. Advice says to make sure that any child or children in your taxi are strapped in using the normal adult seat belt.
If however, you have a licensed vehicle with a partition - the Southampton Hackney Association's advice would be this - If you are going to leave the child with the parents consent in their pushchair, make sure that there are no bags of shopping hanging onto the handles. Secure the pushchair correctly, in the same way that you would with a person in a disabled chair and make sure that they have a seat belt placed around them.
If you have a saloon car taxi, please make sure that you carry no more than your licence plate allows you to.
The Southampton Hackney Association would refer you to the Department for Transport's Guide on Seat Belts for more detailed advice and information.
To all taxi drivers why not visit the The Sweet Market who advertise on the partners page of our website, just by the Bargate Taxi Rank?
Apart from the great sandwiches and coffee, Kevin and Caroline keep a large stock of taxi receipt pads, account books and the 2013 - 2014 Passenger Ship Movement Diary which only costs £1.
Have a flutter and buy a lottery ticket - you may be a winner! Or top up your phone, Gas or Electric card - it's all there
Apart from selling the National Newspapers, they have newspapers from other parts of the world. Plus you can pick up groceries, magazines, birthday cards and much more, making The Sweet Market well worth a regular visit!
Would you like to advertise on our website? Get in touch to have a chat, our website gets lots of visits daily, and we can link from ours to yours!
On the 9th April 2013 The Law Commission released an interim statement regards the taxi and private hire trade.
The full report should be available in December 2013. However, one of the findings that has been released is that the two tier system between taxi's and private hire's should stay the same.
Only taxi's should be allowed to pick passengers up from ranks and be hailed in the street, whilst Private hire vehicles are only able to pick up passengers that are pre-booked through a licensed operator.
Click on the image to read more on The Law Commission website...
Last Thursday evening 28th March 2013, the SHA held it's AGM and General Meeting.
Members present were concerned regarding the current economy and the increase of private hire vehicles that companies seem to be allowing to join their radio circuits, as this is having a detrimental effect to the Hackney trade of Southampton.
However putting a positive spin to the present situation - representatives of this association and The Unite Union Cab Section, Southampton had a constructive meeting with a Senior Member of Southampton City Council with regards to the Local Transport Plan.
We are confident that the taxi trade can offer a reliable alternative transport package to the local community and we hope to continue to have further discussions on this matter.
Southampton taxi drivers who operate a saloon car or a multi purpose vehicle taxi (MPV) can apply for a Smart Cities Card for use on the Itchen Toll Bridge.
The Smartcities card is a multifunctional card which allows you to access a number of different services and products in Southampton:
It can be your bus pass, donor card, library card, leisure card or your ID card. It is also the new way to pay the toll on the Itchen Bridge.
You can apply online at http://www.southampton.gov.uk/living/smartcities/bridgeinfo.aspx or phone (023) 8083 3008.
The card avoids the need to carry the exact change when crossing the toll bridge, you can add credit to your account online with a credit or debit card - great news!
The informative 'Helping Victims of Hate Crime' booklets, sponsored by Hampshire Constabulary Western Area have now been distributed to most, if not all taxi companies and drivers in Southampton
Both the Unite Union and the Southampton Hackney Association are totally against any kind of Hate Crime, be it in relation to a persons colour of skin, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion or beliefs, since we understand the devastating psychological effect it can have on individuals.
Hate Crime can consist of physical violence, assault, verbal abuse or obscene calls, and taxi drivers who work at night can be easy targets.
Taxi Drivers are trying to make people aware by placing stickers inside their cabs, if you would like to find out more about Hate Crime, how to report it or to receive support visit The Hampshire Police Hate Crime Advice page here.
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and The Public Order Act 1986 Part III are two forms of legislation which protect victims of crime.
Taxi trade representatives held a long awaited and positive meeting with Southampton Council Licensing Officers and Police this week.
Some of the subjects on the agenda were as follows :-
New initiatives planned for when the ships start to come into Southampton.
Definite no U-Turns in London Road with hopefully a weight limit - further discussions to be held with The Highways Department on this matter.
The Southampton Hackney Association's zero tolerance campaign against the illegal touting for work from some private hire's has now been placed as the number one priority with support from Southampton City Council and the police.
The CRB check (now known as DBS) was also discussed - You have to be in this country for five years before you can obtain a licence to become a taxi driver, necessary certificates are also sometimes needed from the Embassy where an individual has come from.
The committee strive to raise the standard of the White Southampton Taxis, and we need to keep this momentum alive...We really do welcome the input from SHA members, some of you are very proactive, yet we are looking for positive contributions from many more of you, so do get in touch.
We will let you know the details of the Southampton Hackney Association AGM asap.
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