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Police have said that drug driving in the taxi & private hire trade is becoming a “growing problem” as 8 licensed drivers were caught in Liverpool in as many days.

Figures have shown that more than 40 taxi & private hire drivers were arrested for drug-driving in 2018.  These figures were revealed following a targeted operation in Merseyside that the police said were not “specifically targeting taxi drivers”.

The police further said that whilst not specifically targeting taxi & private hire drivers, they routinely stop and check any car whose driver is suspected of a driving offence.  The police cited one instance that revealed one driver, who had a paying customer in his car, had tested over the legal limit for three different types of drugs.

Insp Keith Kellett said a minority of taxi & private hire drivers had “broken their position of trust”.

The Law

Taxi and private hire drivers need to be aware of the law with regards to drug driving. It goes without saying that drivers who are unfit due to the existence of illegal drugs will always be wrong and unacceptable.  However, many drivers are not aware that the same rules apply to drivers who are found to be unfit due to taking prescription drugs that are not illegal.

The law says, in simple terms, that it’s illegal to drive a licensed vehicle if either:

  • you’re unfit to do so because you’re on legal or illegal drugs
  • you have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood (even if they haven’t affected your driving)

If you’re convicted of drug driving, you’ll get:

  • a minimum 1-year driving ban
  • an unlimited fine
  • up to 6 months in prison

Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years.

A driving ban will also mean an automatic disqualification from holding a taxi & private hire licence because the law states that a taxi & private hire licence can only be issued to a person who holds a full driving licence.

In very exceptional circumstances where someone found to be unfit due to drug driving is not banned, the offence and points on the licence will certainly trigger a review of your licence before a licensing committee/panel where you face the revocation of your licence for not being a “fit and proper” person.

If you are on prescription medication that may affect your ability to drive a taxi/PH vehicle safety, seek medical advice and where appropriate, notify your licensing authority.

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Taxi Defence Barristers are expert taxi & private hire law experts representing licence holders facing issues with their licences.

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