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Taxi drivers and mobile phones

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Taxi drivers and mobile phones

Postby Spankymonkey » Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:28 pm

Recently I have noticed all mini cabs in my area use mobile phone apps for metering and communication with their control centre. The mobile phone is fixed to the dash and all the drivers are expected to notify the control centre when they have completed the drop off by manually entering it into the phone. So effectively ALL of them are breaking the law by using mobile phones while driving.

Could there be a statutory instrument that permits the local licensing authority to exclude licensed taxi drivers from this offence?
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Re: Taxi drivers and mobile phones

Postby atticus » Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:13 pm

A quick internet search shows (a) that you are not the first to raise such concerns and (b) that the answer to your question is "no".
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Re: Taxi drivers and mobile phones

Postby dls » Mon Jun 06, 2016 6:02 pm

Start by checking the exact wording of any prohibition.
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Re: Taxi drivers and mobile phones

Postby Hairyloon » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:11 pm

Spankymonkey wrote:The mobile phone is fixed to the dash and all the drivers are expected to notify the control centre when they have completed the drop off by manually entering it into the phone. So effectively ALL of them are breaking the law by using mobile phones while driving.

I don't use taxis very often, but I am fairly sure that each time I have used them, the taxi has been stationary when I was dropped off... most times I would even go so far as to say it was parked.
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Re: Taxi drivers and mobile phones

Postby atticus » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:22 pm

I bet the key was in the ignition and the engine was still running.
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Re: Taxi drivers and mobile phones

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:46 pm

True, but if the vehicle is parked it's not being driven, notwithstanding that the engine may be running. I accept that a vehicle may be being driven if it's stopped in, say, a traffic jam: but the fact that the engine is running cannot be determinative, otherwise a vehicle could be said to be driven if it was in a garage, or clamped, or if someone had nicked the wheels and it was up on bricks, so long as the engine was running.
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Re: Taxi drivers and mobile phones

Postby Hairyloon » Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:24 pm

Also, the phone is not being used as a phone. Jimmy Carr famously got off a charge of using a phone while driving because he was using the dicta-phone feature in it.
Possibly the law has changed since then... if it hasn't then why has nobody suggested that:
Spankymonkey wrote:The mobile phone is fixed to the dash...

means that it is hands free?
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Re: Taxi drivers and mobile phones

Postby atticus » Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:16 am

Spankymonkey wrote:...and all the drivers are expected to notify the control centre when they have completed the drop off by manually entering it into the phone.
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Re: Taxi drivers and mobile phones

Postby DannyJP » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:44 pm

From memory the prohibition is against a hand-held interactive communications device.
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Re: Taxi drivers and mobile phones

Postby Spankymonkey » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:48 pm

I can't speak for your experiences Hairyloon, but I can say I don't drive and I use cabs on a frequent basis. In the vast majority of those instances the drivers are often tinkering with the touchscreen of the phones fixed to the dash while the vehicles are moving. Outside of the computers you see in Mission Impossible movies I have yet to see a handsfree touchscreen in action.

The reason that they are so keen to enter data while in transit is so that they can segue the drop-off with the next available pick-up.

It's only recently I have become more aloof to this fact because I am becoming increasingly agitated by taxi driver's propensity to have a moonlighting conversation with persons unknown in a foreign language through their handsfree headsets while driving me. Something I find extremely rude. Pointing out the added illegality of their tinkering with their mobile phones may give me some gravitas when complaining about their 'private' conversations.
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