Taxi and private hire drivers to face enhanced checks
|bbc.com 11 Feb 2019 at 16:22|
The government also said it would introduce national minimum standards for drivers.
This would include establishing a national licensing database and potentially restricting drivers from operating hundreds of miles away from where they are licensed.
Under the current system, someone who is denied a taxi licence by a local authority in England and Wales can travel to another area where the licensing authority may be more lenient.
Other proposed safety measures include a recommendation that councils ensure every driver undergoes background checks and enhanced criminal record checks.
The consultation will run until 22 April.
Taxis minister Nusrat Ghani said: "While the vast majority of drivers are safe and act responsibly, we have seen too many cases where taxi and minicab drivers have used their job to prey on vulnerable people, women and children.
"These rules would make sure that drivers are fit to carry passengers, keeping people safe while stopping those with bad intentions from getting behind the wheel of a taxi or minicab."
Last year it emerged that taxi licences were to drivers convicted of offences including child sex crimes and reckless driving.
At the moment a licensing authority, such as a council, has to decide if someone is "fit and proper" before granting a taxi or private hire licence.
Although some guidance has been published, there are no legal rules on how to determine whether someone is "fit and proper person".