To determine a private hire/hackney carriage vehicle licence.
The Enforcement Officer gave a summary of the report. The Licensing Department carried out a Drivercheck on the driver’s DVLA records on 16 August 2019. This revealed that he was convicted of two offences on 12 February 2019 of IN10 (no insurance) and CU80 (using a mobile phone). It showed that he received 8 penalty points for these offences. The Enforcement Officer did make enquiries with HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCS) and they responded with details of the convictions. It showed that he was convicted in his absence of driving whilst using a mobile phone and driving without insurance only one day after obtaining a private hire/hackney carriage driver’s licence.
RESOLVED to revoke the driver’s drivers licence.
DECISION NOTICE –
The application before the Panel today is for the suspension or revocation of the driver’s joint private hire/hackney carriage licence number PH/HC0062 under S61 (1) (b) Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.- any other reasonable cause. The licence is due to expire on 31 January 2022 and the driver was first licenced by this authority on 11th February 2019. His last known driving role was with Happicabs who advised the Council that he had ceased to work for them some time in April.
We have had the opportunity of reading the officer’s report in this case, a copy of which has been served on the driver, and we have also seen, as has he, the background documents annexed thereto, including a DVLA DriverCheck dated 16th August 2019, the Council’s Licensing Standards, and some email correspondence with Happicabs and HMCTS.
The driver is before us today because the Drivercheck revealed two convictions dated 26th April 2019 for two offences committed on 12th February - an IN10 offence in respect of no insurance and a CU80 offence of using a mobile phone while driving. He was fined £660, ordered to pay costs of £90 and a victim surcharge of £66, and received a total of eight penalty points for these offences. We note that they were committed the day after he was granted a licence by this authority.
The Enforcement Officer wrote to and emailed the driver on 23 August 2019 to explain that his licence would be referred to the Licensing and Environmental Health Committee. The Officer gave him seven days to contact him to arrange a meeting, but no response was received.
Our attention has been drawn to section 2.29 of the suitability policy which reads ‘a major traffic or vehicle related offence is one which is not covered above and also any offence which resulted in injury to any person or damage to any property (including vehicles). It also includes driving without insurance or any offence connected with motor insurance. Where an applicant has a conviction for a major traffic offence or similar offence, a licence will not be granted until at least 7 years have elapsed since the completion of any sentence imposed.’[Our italics]
We are also mindful of section 2.41 which reads ‘as public trust and confidence in the overall safety and integrity of the system of taxi licensing is vital, where a licence holder has received a conviction for any category of offences detailed above, their licence(s) will be revoked.
The primary function of this Committee is the protection of the public and we note the seriousness of the offences. Drivers are required to have insurance for good reason and though there are provisions in place to ensure that victims of uninsured drivers are compensated, it does mean there are additional procedural steps that such people have to take if there is an accident, and the compensation scheme relates to personal injury only. Driving while using a mobile phone only exacerbates matters and we repeat these offences took place the day after the driver was granted his licence. He did not attend Court, he did not respond to correspondence from the Enforcement Officer, and he did not attend before us today. While mercifully there was no accident we therefore feel that the safety of the public requires the revocation under S61 (1) (b) of the 1976 Act of the driver’s drivers’ licence with immediate effect – any other reasonable cause. This is because the nature of the offences is such that allowing him to continue to drive could have a serious impact upon the safety of the travelling public.
There is a right of appeal against this decision which must be exercised within a period of 21 days. Normally, during that period the licence remains in force and thereafter until the conclusion of the appellate process, but since the revocation was with immediate effect in the interests of public safety this period of grace does not apply. The driver will receive a letter from the Legal Department explaining this.