Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Cabs Crackdown; Dangerous Taxis Discovered in Latest Safety Inspection

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Cabs Crackdown; Dangerous Taxis Discovered in Latest Safety Inspection

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDY HUGHES

TICKING timebomb cabs have been pulled from the roads after they were caught risking passengers' lives.

In the biggest operation of its kind, council licensing officers joined police to pull-over 227 taxis around Newcastle for inspection - and nearly half were found with safety issues or out-of-date insurance.

The council has now suspended 27 licensed taxis which were found to have potentially life-threatening defects including faulty steering, broken brakes and dangerous tyres with no grip.

A further 47 notices were given to cabbies, requiring them to solve minor vehicle defects, such as broken headlights, within five days or they face suspension.

And 35 drivers were driving in taxis with out-of-date insurance.

Investigators say they are "extremely concerned" with the large amount of problems uncovered in the two-day operation. Safety chiefs today condemned the cabbies for risking the lives of the public and praised the council for its crackdown.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at RoSPA, said: "It''s very disturbing that so many taxis were found to have such serious defects in just two days.

"It demonstrates the need for local authorities to have the resources to carry out this type of operation.

"People put their lives in the hands of taxi firms, and have every right to expect the firms and their drivers to transport them in safe and legal vehicles."

A spokeswoman for road safety charity Brake added: "We are extremely concerned about these results.

"Driving in dangerous cars is putting lives at risk, and this is unacceptable."

Many of the cabbies which failed the inspection were handed on-thespot fines and given three penalty points, and some may even lose their licence.

The suspended taxis will be allowed back on the roads after they have fixed the vehicle defaults and proved they are safe to drive. …

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