Published on 3rd August 2016

Row of Hackney taxis along the Promenade taxi rank

Cheltenham Borough Council has revoked the licence of a private hire driver with immediate effect after he tested positive for alcohol above the legal limit.

The driver, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was pulled over by police in June after they noticed two defective lights on the vehicle. Smelling alcohol on his breath they asked the driver to submit a sample of breath, which showed that he was over the legal limit. Two subsequent breath tests were also above the legal limit and the driver admitted that he had been drinking alcohol earlier in the day whilst watching a football match, but had not realised he was over the limit.

Police were unable to take further action against the driver as one of the breath tests at the custody suite was under the limit required for prosecution so instead they notified the council who referred the matter to the licensing committee on Friday 29 July. The committee decided that regardless of the police being unable to press charges, the driver had tested positive for alcohol above the legal limit and he admitted that he had been working when he was pulled over. His employer informed the council that the driver had done 7 passenger journeys in the 2 hours before being pulled over.

Councillor Wendy Flynn, chair of the licensing committee, said: “The council’s principal concern is the safety of passengers and other road users. Drink-driving can never be tolerated under any circumstances and this driver deliberately drove passengers knowing he had been drinking earlier in the day. The fact that he was still over the legal limit more than two hours after he started work is particularly concerning. The police also confirmed that two of the lights on his vehicle were defective which in itself is a serious matter. In the circumstances, the committee unanimously felt that the appropriate course of action was to revoke the licence. In the interests of public safety the revocation of the licence will have immediate effect.”

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• The driver has 21 days to appeal to the magistrate’s court, but he cannot work in the interim because the committee revoked with immediate effect.

• The driver can apply from scratch for a new licence at any time, which would involve going through all the usual checks and tests required of new drivers, and then he would be referred back to the committee. The committee would need to be satisfied that he is fit and proper to hold a licence.