Probe raises serious concerns over taxi safety

SERIOUS concerns have been raised about the safety of the cars — and the drivers — operating taxis across the country.

And the situation is not helped by the fact that a number of NCT testers are allegedly taking bribes to give vehicles certificates of roadworthiness even though they should be failed.

A probe into the taxi industry, which has 42,000 licensed drivers and 25,000 vehicles, has revealed serious issues with a minority.

About 7,000 drivers have criminal convictions. Licenses have previously been issued to drivers who have been convicted of crimes including violent and sexually-related offences.

Prime Time Investigates also reported on one man who was driving 90 hours a week or more as a bus driver and as a taxi driver. The man was recorded working for 51 hours in three days.

Upon seeing the footage, RSA chief executive Noel Brett said it brought the possibility of tachographs for taxis closer.

A Louth woman was recorded operating a minibus with an expired license but still bearing the paraphernalia of a taxi including a roof sign. During filming, she was recorded repeatedly doing school runs for up to 13 children at any one time.

The programme also revealed cars being passed by the NCT even though they had serious deficiencies.

The programme also claimed a number of NCT testers were taking bribes to pass defective cars.

The presenter paid €100 and was able to get a vehicle that should not have passed through the NCT. It had previously failed and improvements had not been made in the interim. Even though the throttle stuck during the re-test, it was passed for roadworthiness.

Mr Brett said he would be contacting the gardaí about the evidence uncovered.


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