It is illegal for anyone to run a taxi service or pick up fares off the street without a licence issued by the local authority or Public Carriage Office. In spite of this, unlicensed minicab drivers often hang around clubs and pubs late at night, hoping to pick up fares from among the inebriated crowds spilling out of them.
Getting into an unlicensed cab leaves late night revellers at the risk of getting into vehicles that may not even be roadworthy, meaning they are not insured in case of a road traffic accident. Drivers may also drive dangerously, increasing the risk of motoring accidents, and it is highly likely that fares will be way higher than they should be. The worst case scenario is getting into a vehicle, being asked to pay outrageous fares, and then being threatened or actually physically attacked by the driver if you try to argue about it.
It is believed that men may take the risk of getting into unlicensed cabs because they simply do not think about the dangers, while women seem to take this option rather than having to walk home alone in the dark. According to recent London statistics, the sad reality is that every month, 11 women are violently attacked after getting into unlicensed cabs. A staggering 80 per cent of rapes by strangers are committed by, you guessed it, unlicensed cab drivers.
To prevent being injured by road accidents caused by reckless unlicensed drivers or falling victim to violent assaults, it is imperative not to get into one of these vehicles. Think ahead, plan your night out and, if at all possible, pre-book your taxi home with a company you know. If pre-booking is not an option, make sure you have three numbers of companies you know with you and, when calling them, ask when to expect the vehicle and how much the journey will cost. When the car arrives.
- Ask the driver who he is booked for
- Check his ID
- Sit behind the driver
- Avoid revealing personal information while chatting to the driver.
On arrival, ask him to hang on until you are inside. Genuine, licensed drivers are happy to oblige, as it increases the likelihood of you using them again.
If, in spite of all your precautions, you are injured in a car accident or violent street attack, you may qualify for personal injury compensation. Call Accident Advice Helpline team for free, confidential advice and legal assistance.
Date Published: September 30, 2014
Author: Accident Advice