Taxi drivers face fines for not installing safety app in cars

Taxi drivers have been warned they face large penalties if they ignore fines for failing to comply with a security feature designed to reassures customers about the safety of taxis.

Around 30 taxi drivers have been prosecuted this year for failing to pay a fine imposed on them for not linking their personal details to a vehicle while available for hire.

Under legislation, taxi licence holders are obliged to register their details with the Driver Check app operated by the National Transport Authority when their vehicle is in service. Failure to do so can result in a €40 fine.

On average, taxi drivers prosecuted for failing to pay the standard fine have been hit with a penalty of almost €400. New figures published by the NTA, which regulates the taxi industry, shows 29 taxi drivers to date in 2017 had the higher penalties imposed on them after being prosecuted for ignoring the original fine.

In 28 cases, the operator had to pay an average penalty of €387. In one case, a penalty of €900 was imposed.

A reported 10% of taxi drivers are failing to register their details while available for hire.

The highest compliance rates are among taxis operating in Roscommon, Galway and Limerick while around 20% or more of taxi drivers in Monaghan, Tipperary, Mayo and Carlow fail to register while in service.

The compliance rate for taxi drivers in Dublin and Cork, which account for the majority of the country’s 20,800 licensed taxi vehicles, is over 90%.

Customers are able to check that the vehicle and taxi driver are registered with the NTA via the Driver Check app. It also displays an ID photo of the authorised driver. In addition, the app allows users to email a friend with the details of their trip with information on the vehicle and driver as an added safety feature.

Customers can also report a vehicle which is signalled as having “no registered details” to the NTA via the app. The NTA said taxi users can help improve compliance and safety by notifying them of any driver or vehicle not registered on Driver Check.

A total of 47 drivers have been prosecuted in the first half of 2017 for operating without a valid licence. In the first six months of 2017, over 77,000 mobile and roadside checks have been carried out by NTA officials on taxi drivers and their vehicles.

A total of 825 fixed payment notices have been handed out over the period for a range of offences, most relating to the failure to register with Driver Check.

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