Why rogue taxi drivers are a danger to everyone on the roads

Blackpool Pier Head, beach shot

Demand for taxis continues to soar and in busy seaside resorts such as Blackpool, people might let their guard down and jump into the nearest cab, not realising the danger they could be putting themselves in.

But this is the reason why the taxi industry is heavily regulated – to keep people safe. Ensuring vehicles are checked and well maintained and drivers have a full UK driving licence and up-to-date taxi badge makes the roads safer for passengers, pedestrians and other motorists. If such high standards and checks weren’t in place, why would you get in a car with a complete stranger?


The issue of rogue and out-of-town taxis was raised by former Blackpool South MP Chris Webb, before Parliament was dissolved ahead of the General Election. The town’s cabbies were concerned out-of-town PHV drivers were cashing in on Blackpool’s busy summer season, with profit being put ahead of safety.

In Mr Webb’s first question in the Commons, he revealed taxi drivers in his constituency warned about the influx of drivers from other towns and raised concerns some may not have taxi insurance to carry passengers, posing an even greater risk.

Apart from extortionate fares, questionable driving standards and vehicle safety, the person behind the wheel might have a criminal record, putting vulnerable people such as women on their own in huge danger.

Having licensed taxis and PHVs means people can get a lift home, to the shops or on a night out safe in the knowledge that the vehicle is well maintained and the driver is a fit and proper person to carry paying passengers.

And with safety at the heart of taxi legislation, licensing authorities come down hard on drivers who fail to maintain their vehicles properly, who use mobile phones while driving, or drive dangerously.

Following the money

As reported by the Blackpool Gazette, out-of-town taxis pose two main problems in the resort. Mr Webb said in Parliament: “Blackpool is experiencing a scourge of unlicensed taxis in our treasured seaside resort.

“Uber and similar companies who have no operating licence in Blackpool, are allowing passengers to use their unlicensed taxis, uninsured – creating a real public safety risk.

“These unlicensed drivers are parking in local ranks illegally and taking fares from our hard-working, rule-abiding Blackpool taxi drivers.

“What is the Minister doing to tackle these unlicensed drivers and will he meet with me to discuss this issue I have in my constituency?”

Rogue, uninsured taxis are a huge concern anywhere. While Uber is not licensed by Blackpool Council to operate in the town, its drivers still have to be licensed and have taxi insurance and can pick up fares out of the area can bring them to the seaside resort.

And since the Deregulation Act 2015 allows private-hire drivers licensed by one authority to freely operate anywhere in England and Wales, it means they can wait around for new fares. Before the change, drivers had to return to their own licensing area between jobs. It is an issue that other authorities, including Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, want to see changed.

Blackpool taxi drivers are understandably concerned about drivers from other areas coming in to take fares. The biggest worry as the busy summer season approaches is that rogue taxis will try to blend in with the licenced but unwelcome out-of-towners, putting people in real danger.

This is why licensing laws play such a big part in an industry where safety has to come first.

All information is correct at time of publication. Information provided within this article may have changed over time. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by John Patons Insurance Services or any of its employees.