Tag Archive: police

  1. Disqualified Drivers Facing Tougher Sentences

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    It is an unfortunate fact that a number of people are on the road illegally; either they are driving a vehicle without an appropriate licence, have failed to properly cover themselves and their vehicle with car insurance, or are disqualified from driving yet still continue to get behind the wheel of a car. Luckily, the DVLA keeps a record of all drivers that have been disqualified, as well as which vehicles in the UK are legally allowed on the road, which helps the police can catch those that are on the road illegally.

    However, some have claimed that the punishments for those that cause harm to others while on the road are too lenient, which is why Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced that disqualified drivers who cause harm or death on the road will now face tougher sentencing. Previously, disqualified drivers who caused death were only sentenced to two years in prison, however after appeals from victims’ families this has now been increased to ten years. Furthermore, Mr Grayling has brought in a new law which states that disqualified drivers who cause serious injury will now face up to four years in jail.

    Discussing the new, tougher rules, Mr Grayling said: “I want to make our roads safer and ensure people who cause harm face tough penalties. Disqualified drivers should not be on our roads for good reason. Those who choose to defy a ban imposed by a court and go on to destroy innocent lives must face serious consequences for the terrible impact of their actions. Today, we are sending a clear message that anyone who does will face much tougher punishment.”

    It is expected for the new laws to come into place as early as the beginning of 2015, and the Justice Secretary has also claimed that he will be reviewing other punishments for driving offences in the near future in order to make sure that those who break the law receive adequate sentences. Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan has supported Mr Grayling’s proposal and agrees that those who drive without car insurance should also face tougher sentencing, however he also added that the UK’s prisons are currently overcrowded.

    Mr Khan said: “The government also needs to assure the public that they have enough space in prison to cope with the increased demand. The current shortage of space and increased overcrowding on their watch has led to serious problems in our prisons.” Mr Grayling has been supported by a number of motoring groups and charities such as Brake and the AA, with Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, saying: “We have long campaigned for a shake-up of charges and penalties for risky and irresponsible drivers who kill and injure on our roads.”

    Meanwhile, AA president Edmund King said: “A small proportion of drivers are serial offenders who need to be taken off the road. We support these changes as a deterrent to not re-offend or as a means of stopping those imprisoned who seem intent to be serial re-offenders.”

    Photo by Pixabay

  2. Taxi Drivers turning away fares over Safety Fears

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    Safety has always been a huge issue for taxi drivers, as essentially they let dozens of strangers enter their vehicles during each shift, and it only takes one to put them in danger. Unfortunately, we often see stories in the news about taxi drivers who have been assaulted by passengers because they are under the influence of alcohol or are trying to get away without paying their fare.

    This is why many local councils have regular meetings with taxi drivers in their constituencies – particularly public hire ones – where they discuss how to improve their safety. Some towns have already introduced taxi marshals at busy taxi ranks in order to improve the safety of both taxi drivers and those waiting for taxis; however some are thinking about going even further. For example, a number of taxi drivers and local politicians are campaigning for CCTV to be installed in all taxis, which will hopefully deter passengers from engaging in illegal activity, or will catch them if they do.

    However, some taxi drivers believe that the only way to stay completely safe is to flat out refuse fares which they think will put them in danger. Recently there has been a spate of robberies and attacks on taxis drivers in the East Lincolnshire area during the early hours of the morning, which has left many taxi drivers feeling concerned about picking up such fares. Roy Grantham from Links Taxis is just one of the taxi drivers in the area who has been affected, and he believes that the situation is becoming more dangerous.

    He said: “I started in 2001 and I believe it’s getting worse. We are hearing on a daily basis of people not getting paid and being threatened. I have had plenty of people refusing to pay, arguments
    with people that have been abrupt towards me, but this is the worst I have felt since 2008. My views on the job at the minute aren’t very good. We are very vulnerable. I think I’m going to have to stick with it at the minute but as soon as I get the chance to get another job I will be gone. It’s just not safe.

    “I’m going to be carrying on going out in the morning but I’m going to be very much more aware and self-conscious about picking people up on street corners and phone boxes. A lot of the taxi drivers I have been talking to said they are going to do the same. If they don’t like the look of somebody or are suspicious acting or who are not from a proper address they might all refuse the fare. There’s innocent people out there and you shouldn’t tar everyone with the same brush but we have got to do what is safe for us.”

    Paul Revell, manager of Links Taxis, understands why his staff including Paul are concerned, and added: “We have always had a problem with people not paying fares, but we have had a lot more support from the police than in the past in that they do tend to make an effort and follow up incidents in order to retrieve drivers’ fares. I can see a time where we are not going to pick anybody up in the twilight hours if they are not seen to come from an address.”

    When it comes to staying safe, Revell says that taxi drivers “have got to make a decision before they have got somebody in the car. It’s very difficult if you stop and they approach the car. The best thing is to weigh it up as you’re driving – you are not necessarily their car as far as they are concerned.” Naturally, if your vehicle is damaged or your money is stolen while on a job the local police and your taxi insurance provider will be there to help, however they are not always able to solve physical or emotional injuries to the drivers themselves.

    If you are ever concerned about a certain fare then it may be a good idea to adopt a policy such as Roy Grantham, and not pick up anyone unless it is from an actual address. Don’t forget that if you are affected by theft or assault by a passenger to call the police straight away, as it is likely the culprits will try the same thing again with other taxi drivers.

    Photo by Albert Bridge / CC BY-SA 2.0