HARD PRESSED TAXI drivers are facing further regulation in Moray with councillors being asked to decide this week if drivers should submit medical reports with their license applications.
The reports – which are expected to cost the local authority a minimum of between £100 and £125 each – was one of the changes agreed last year in a review of taxi licensing conditions in Moray.
Members of the licensing committee will be choose between reaffirming the previous decision or reversing that decision and so allowing taxi license applicants to drive without obtaining a medical report to prove their fitness to do so.
The medical reports were initially backed by the taxi trade on the grounds of public safety – however, new consultation suggests that they now believe it was “unduly onerous and unnecessary”. However, councillors may now take a different view in particular against the backdrop of the Glasgow bin lorry tragedy.
In their report council officials say that while the cost of the medical reports would fall on the local authority it could be recovered through an increase in licensing fees.
The report says: “It is estimated that the cost of reports would be at least £100 to £125 each and approximately 200 would be required per annum. This is a total estimated cost of £20,000 to £25,000.”
Currently taxi license applications are required to disclose any medical conditions that might affect their ability to drive. They are asked specifically about heart problems and diabetes – and if issues are identified a report is then sought and paid for by the licensing authority.
The report adds: “Under self-disclosure, very few reports are required. That implies that for a large percentage of applications the report would be of no added value unless prospective drivers could be said to be concealing medical conditions.
“There is no evidence to confirm this and no ‘hidden’ medical conditions have been found.”