Thinking of becoming a private hire or taxi driver?

If you are thinking of becoming a private hire or taxi driver, you may be surprised to learn that the rules and regulations differ according to which city or town you are applying for a licence in. It maybe that you are required to take and pass the Driving Standards Agency assessment for private hire vehicles and taxis.

If you have decided to become a driver then there are 3 types of assessments you may need to take:

1. The standard driving assessment.

2. The enhanced assessment, which includes a handling of wheelchairs exercise.

3. The third one is an upgrade from the standard driving test if you wish to include the wheelchair exercise.

The initial assessment will last for around 40 minutes and will most likely begin with the eye test:

You will be asked to read a new style number plate from a distance of 20 metres or 20.5 metres for an old style of number plate. If you do not pass the eye test you will be unable to take the driving part of the test.

The next part is a practical assessment that includes:

· Roughly 10 minutes of driving without the tester giving any directional instructions.

· Pulling over and stopping at the side of the road as if you were collecting or dropping off a passenger.

· Driving and manoeuvring the vehicle so that it ends up facing the opposite way round.

· You will be asked questions that are appropriate to the line of work you wish to pursue when becoming a driver, such as “What would you do if a passenger left their belongings in your vehicle?”

· You will be tested on the Highway Code and asked questions about road markings and traffic signs

To pass the test you will need to make 9 or less mistakes; however, 1 serious mistake could also result in a fail.

If you wish to obtain the enhanced assessment then you will be required to take the wheel chair test as follows:

· First of all you will need to make sure that your vehicle is able to carry a wheelchair inside.

· Show that you are able to load and unload the wheelchair in a safe manner.

· You will need to show that you can competently use the brakes on the chair and then release them.

· Show that you can use the safety harness or fasten the safety belt.

· Secure wheel clamps or belts fitted to the vehicle.

If you have been thinking of becoming a private hire or taxi driver, or are ready to take any of the tests, you will need to make sure your vehicle is road worthy and the private hire plate is the same number as the one inside the motor. On passing the test you will receive a pass certificate with a copy of the test and the examiner will include an overview of the test. Your local council can advise you on the next steps needed to become a fully authorised driver.

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