In the UK, taxi and private hire drivers play a crucial role in the transport ecosystem. They are entrusted with the responsibility of transporting people, often vulnerable individuals, safely to their destinations. This raises a pertinent question: do taxi drivers need to have regular DVLA checks?
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is a government body that maintains the registration and licensing of drivers in Great Britain.
DVLA checks involve a thorough examination of a driver's licence record to ensure they are fit to drive.
Taxi drivers, due to the nature of their work, are considered 'exempt' from the regular eligibility criteria of Enhanced DBS checks.
They don't technically carry out 'regulated activities', but the potential risk involved necessitates these checks as an integral part of effective safeguarding practice.
The Enhanced DBS Check is a requirement under statutory guidance from the Department for Transport for all taxi and private hire drivers. This check comprises:
This information empowers licensing authorities to make informed decisions about granting a driving licence.
On average, Enhanced DBS checks submitted take between 10-14 days. However, there can be variations in this timeline due to errors in the application, the applicant moving areas, or police delays.
Interestingly, about half of all Enhanced submissions are completed within 48 hours. However, there is no maximum time limit for how long a check can take.
After the completion of a DBS check, drivers will receive an email notification, and the licensing authorities will be informed through their dashboard on the TaxiPlus web app.
Notifications will confirm either that the certificate contains no information or that they must wait to view the applicants' certificate.
These certificates are then posted to the current address on the application form by the enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service.
The Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Standards issued by the Department for Transport states that all licensed drivers must be subject to a criminality check every six months.
This can be managed by signing up to the DBS Update Service, which allows licensing authorities to check the individual's record periodically and be notified when new relevant information is added.
The frequency of DVLA checks for taxi drivers is a topic of debate. Some argue for more regular checks, citing the need for licensing authorities to have all the information they need to make safe decisions.
On the other hand, some councils (like Walsall) believe that more frequent checks could lead to restrictive conditions for drivers.
Regardless of the frequency of DVLA checks, it's essential that they are implemented proportionately and in consultation with the local trade.
For instance, a driver with six points on their driving licence could be subject to bi-annual checks, ensuring that the licensing policy is both flexible and proportionate.
The GB medical standards for driver licensing distinguish between Group 1 and Group 2 licence holders. Group 1 includes cars and motorcycles while Group 2 includes large lorries and buses.
The medical standards for Group 2 drivers are higher than for Group 1 drivers due to the size and weight of the vehicle and the length of time an occupational driver typically spends at the wheel.
Applicants and licence holders have a legal duty to notify DVLA of any medical condition or treatment that may affect their ability to drive safely.
Doctors and other healthcare professionals also have a responsibility to advise the individual on the impact of their medical condition on safe driving ability and to notify DVLA when fitness to drive requires notification.
When applying for a taxi or private hire driver licence, applicants need to fill in a DVLA mandate (D906 form), which gives permission to check the driving licence.
The form must be filled out in black ink using capital letters, and any changes on the form must be initialled and dated. A fee of £10.50 is required each time a new mandate is sent.
In conclusion, the answer to the question, do taxi drivers need to have regular DVLA checks is a resounding yes.
Regular DVLA checks are important to ensure the safety of the public and maintain the integrity of the taxi and private hire vehicle industry. It is important to understand your rights as a taxi driver as well.
It's crucial for all taxi drivers to ensure they comply with these checks and maintain up-to-date records. After all, when it comes to transporting people safely, there can be no compromises.
For taxi drivers concerned about protecting their business, renewing taxi insurance with Taxi Insurer is a sound decision. Call one of our friendly taxi insurance team members on 0192 645 4929 or get a quote online.