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Recently the Lurgan Neighbourhood Policing Team joined forces with the Driver Vehicle Agency and HMRC to crack down on PSV drivers and their vehicles. The result on the effort was the discovery of nine taxis found defective and unsafe for operation on the roads. Of the drivers caught in the operation, five had their PSV licenses suspended.

A spokesperson, commenting on behalf of the operation, said the crackdown was conducted to help make roads safer by identifying defective taxis and unsafe roads. Police said the success of the operation makes it clear to PSV drivers’ that authorities will not tolerate defective vehicles or unsafe driving.

The PSV (public service vehicle) licence is required to legally operate a passenger vehicle carrying nine or more passengers for hire. This includes taxis and limousines. The point of the licence is to ensure companies offering passenger service for hire are competent and able to offer a safe and reliable service.

The difference between PSV licence and the HGV licence needed to drive passenger vehicles is simply one of business ownership. The PSV licence is issued to a business offering passenger transport in a given locality. The HGV licence is issued to individual drivers operating company vehicles.

That being the case, business owners must meet certain criteria when applying for a PSV licence:

In allowing defective taxis on the road, the five PSV licence holders in Lurgan were in violation of the conditions of holding a licence. There has been no word as to what will be required in order for those licenses to be reinstated, but we would expect bringing the vehicle into compliance and paying any associated fines will be satisfactory.

Training and Compliance Go Hand-In-Hand

We can all learn some valuable lessons from what happened in Lurgan, chief among them being the fact that driving defective vehicles endangers both the drivers themselves and others on the road. When a driver undertakes his or her initial training to earn their HGV licence, this is one of the first things they are taught. Safety always comes first.

A second important lesson is the fact that training and compliance go hand-in-hand. It doesn’t do much good to learn how to be safe in a training class only to turn around and drive a defective vehicle. Compliance to the law is as important as training, if not more so.

We hope the Lurgan police action results in PSV drivers and their employers taking a closer look at vehicle safety. When everyone involved in the commercial transport and logistics industries does their part in this regard, UK roads are as safe as they can be. We owe at least that much to every other driver and pedestrian on the road.

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