10 taxis grounded after spot checks

PUBLISHED: 09:30 27 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:33 10 June 2010

TEN taxis in Exmouth were ruled unsafe following spot checks and one was judged so bad it was towed away to a garage. In just one evening, checks uncovered a worrying catalogue of faults, from minor defects to 'complete unroadworthiness'. Said East Devo

TEN taxis in Exmouth were ruled unsafe following spot checks - and one was judged so bad it was towed away to a garage.In just one evening, checks uncovered a worrying catalogue of faults, from minor defects to 'complete unroadworthiness'.Said East Devon District Council's licensing manager, John Tippin: "The operators and drivers of these vehicles have acted irresponsibly by putting all road users and, in particular, their customers' safety at risk."Last Friday, 29 taxis were checked by EDCC's licensing service, together with the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, the Vehicle and Operators' Services Agency, the Department of Work and Pensions and the council's Revenues and Benefits Fraud Department.Ten drivers were issued with prohibition notices for defects ranging from a serious suspension fault to a number of bald tyres. The condition of one taxi was so serious it had to be collected by a garage.Two prohibition orders were delayed to allow the defects to be repaired within three days.Problems with two taxis were rectified by changing tyres, allowing the prohibitions to be lifted.The remaining five taxis were required to have the necessary repairs done before the they could go back into service.Mr Tippin said some of the results were still being evaluated, including those involving the Department of Work and Pensions and the Revenues and Benefits Fraud Team. Mr Tippin said: "This is an extremely disappointing result, with 34.5 per cent of the taxis checked receiving prohibition notices. "Many of the defects could easily have been corrected if the owners or drivers had done a proper check of the vehicle at the start of work that day. "On the positive side, the operation was an excellent example of partnership working by a number of enforcement agencies. "This gives people the comfort of knowing someone is checking these vehicles and looking after their safety. "During the coming year, EDDC licensing officers and the police will be co-ordinating similar checks throughout East Devon - and we will be certainly returning to Exmouth." David Lean, of Exmouth Taxi Association, welcomed the surprise inspections, reiterating that Exmouth taxis are safe - because of the strict inspection regime.He said: "Spot checks are absolutely necessary - it keeps everybody on their toes. No matter what business you are in, there will always be people trying to bend the rules. It's important taxis are safe.

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