Devizes cabbie must quit driving

Darren Jones has been driving taxis for eight years but the council is now taking away his licence

Darren Jones has been driving taxis for eight years but the council is now taking away his licence

First published in News

Devizes taxi driver Darren Jones is facing a bleak Christmas after Wiltshire Council said it is taking away his licence because of changes in the medical requirements.

Mr Jones, 41, has been driving cabs for Devizes Taxis for eight years and has never had an accident or a complaint made against his driving.

But, because Wiltshire Council have changed the medical requirements to hold a taxi licence, bringing them in line with drivers of heavy goods vehicles, he is facing losing his livelihood from next Wednesday, December 5.

The father-of-three from Melksham, whose family hails from Devizes, said: “I have had a lazy eye since I was a child. It just means that my sight is slightly blurred in my right eye and it can’t be compensated for with glasses.

“I handed in my new medical questionnaire in March and they told me that I was no longer safe to drive.

“But they are not taking away my licence until December 5, so how can I be safe to drive for nine months but not after a certain date?

“I looked on the DVLA website and it said these changes are guidelines and not the law.

“I have got a family relying on my wages. The Government is trying to get people off the dole and Wiltshire Council are putting them on it.

“Driving a taxi is something I love. I enjoy doing it. Wiltshire Council haven’t stopped me doing contract work with children or vulnerable people.”

Mr Jones has enlisted the help of his MP, Claire Perry, who has written to Jane Scott, the leader of Wiltshire Council, and she is awaiting a reply.

Mrs Perry said: “I understand the council’s reasoning and a full consultation on the change was carried out.

“But I find it hard to accept that Mr Jones is considered fit to drive on one day and then, due to a the implementation of a new policy, is no longer fit to do so.

“This does not seem like common sense and I will be asking Wiltshire Council if an exception can be made, on medical advice. Mr Jones has driven safely and successfully for years and his livelihood is at stake.”

Keith Humphries, Wiltshire Council cabinet member responsible for licensing, said: “I certainly sympathise with Mr Jones’ situation, however public safety must be paramount when we make these decisions.

“The policy was agreed by the council’s licensing committee more than two years ago in 2010 following a consultation which included all licensed taxi drivers in Wiltshire.

“Most councils use the same medical criteria as we do, which is recommended by the Department for Transport, and I am confident we are doing everything we can to balance the interests of both the public and the taxi drivers.

“Anyone who is refused a licence has a right of appeal to the magistrates court within 21 days.”

Comments (5)

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1:42pm Fri 30 Nov 12

freddie_W says...

Bringing the medical requirements for Taxis into line with HGV drivers is ridiculous.

Keith Humphries " i certainly sympathise with Mrs Jones position" yes off course you do! empty words from a jobsworth bureaucrat.
Bringing the medical requirements for Taxis into line with HGV drivers is ridiculous. Keith Humphries " i certainly sympathise with Mrs Jones position" yes off course you do! empty words from a jobsworth bureaucrat. freddie_W
  • Score: 0

5:02pm Fri 30 Nov 12

Little Miss Patience says...

I think its awful.I am Darrens wife. Darren has been doing taxis for years and is well known and liked. Why cant he keep his licence as its not the law its a guide line. They sent him a letter back earlier this year saying he needed to take a medical so he did and failed it. He went to the council to hand in his licience and said there had been a mistake as they sent it out to him too early it wasnt meant until Nov 2012. So later that day someone from the council came to our house and gave him back his licience until the 4th Dec. So tell me this: WHY WAS IT GOOD ENOUGH FOR DARREN TO HAVE HIS LICIENCE KNOWING THAT HE FAILED THE MEDICAL AND NOW HE IS NOT ALLOW TO HAVE A LICIENCE ALSO THEY NEVER ASKED HIM TO DO ANOTHER MEDICAL. Darren has never had a accident on taxis and never been in trouble. The council has alot to answer for. xxx
I think its awful.I am Darrens wife. Darren has been doing taxis for years and is well known and liked. Why cant he keep his licence as its not the law its a guide line. They sent him a letter back earlier this year saying he needed to take a medical so he did and failed it. He went to the council to hand in his licience and said there had been a mistake as they sent it out to him too early it wasnt meant until Nov 2012. So later that day someone from the council came to our house and gave him back his licience until the 4th Dec. So tell me this: WHY WAS IT GOOD ENOUGH FOR DARREN TO HAVE HIS LICIENCE KNOWING THAT HE FAILED THE MEDICAL AND NOW HE IS NOT ALLOW TO HAVE A LICIENCE ALSO THEY NEVER ASKED HIM TO DO ANOTHER MEDICAL. Darren has never had a accident on taxis and never been in trouble. The council has alot to answer for. xxx Little Miss Patience
  • Score: 0

2:28pm Wed 5 Dec 12

britcanadian says...

I feel sorry for this guy, obviously just another family man battling away trying to make ends meet.
I am a firm believer in health and safety but also understand that common sence has to be applied in certain situations, this being one of them. The article states that this drivers track record is faultless, surely that really needs to be taken into consideration and it states hes popular with customers,if this is the case, i hope his employer is fighting in his corner as well, good employees are hard to find.
However all is not lost... There are probably 20 Eastern Europeans lined up waiting to take his job which will really make the customers feel safe im sure, but what ever you do, dont complain about the service, they will just claim to not speak English and then spit in your face.
And please, any of you do gooding HIPPIES who are now going to rant about be me being racist blah blah blah, your wrong, im a realist.
I feel sorry for this guy, obviously just another family man battling away trying to make ends meet. I am a firm believer in health and safety but also understand that common sence has to be applied in certain situations, this being one of them. The article states that this drivers track record is faultless, surely that really needs to be taken into consideration and it states hes popular with customers,if this is the case, i hope his employer is fighting in his corner as well, good employees are hard to find. However all is not lost... There are probably 20 Eastern Europeans lined up waiting to take his job which will really make the customers feel safe im sure, but what ever you do, dont complain about the service, they will just claim to not speak English and then spit in your face. And please, any of you do gooding HIPPIES who are now going to rant about be me being racist blah blah blah, your wrong, im a realist. britcanadian
  • Score: 0

7:10pm Wed 5 Dec 12

freddie_W says...

britcanadian wrote:
I feel sorry for this guy, obviously just another family man battling away trying to make ends meet. I am a firm believer in health and safety but also understand that common sence has to be applied in certain situations, this being one of them. The article states that this drivers track record is faultless, surely that really needs to be taken into consideration and it states hes popular with customers,if this is the case, i hope his employer is fighting in his corner as well, good employees are hard to find. However all is not lost... There are probably 20 Eastern Europeans lined up waiting to take his job which will really make the customers feel safe im sure, but what ever you do, dont complain about the service, they will just claim to not speak English and then spit in your face. And please, any of you do gooding HIPPIES who are now going to rant about be me being racist blah blah blah, your wrong, im a realist.
Progressive Liberal jobsworth nimbies are social fantasists, realism is rooted in common sense and honesty the ideology they will always reject as politically incorrect. The state is a Neo Marxist lunatic, it is also their pension provider.
[quote][p][bold]britcanadian[/bold] wrote: I feel sorry for this guy, obviously just another family man battling away trying to make ends meet. I am a firm believer in health and safety but also understand that common sence has to be applied in certain situations, this being one of them. The article states that this drivers track record is faultless, surely that really needs to be taken into consideration and it states hes popular with customers,if this is the case, i hope his employer is fighting in his corner as well, good employees are hard to find. However all is not lost... There are probably 20 Eastern Europeans lined up waiting to take his job which will really make the customers feel safe im sure, but what ever you do, dont complain about the service, they will just claim to not speak English and then spit in your face. And please, any of you do gooding HIPPIES who are now going to rant about be me being racist blah blah blah, your wrong, im a realist.[/p][/quote]Progressive Liberal jobsworth nimbies are social fantasists, realism is rooted in common sense and honesty the ideology they will always reject as politically incorrect. The state is a Neo Marxist lunatic, it is also their pension provider. freddie_W
  • Score: 0

8:34am Thu 6 Dec 12

Harold Shand says...

One man's 'realist' is another's poorly-educated, gibbering halfwit. Seriously, chaps, there is more to life than ranting.

For what it's worth, I happen to agree that it seems wrong that Mr Jones is having his licence revoked. Something stinks. Let's hope the publicity leads to a rethink.

I'd advise Darren and his wife to contact their Wiltshire Councillor. I believe there are elections next year so we're coming into a period when even the idle ones want to be seen to be doing some good for their voters.
One man's 'realist' is another's poorly-educated, gibbering halfwit. Seriously, chaps, there is more to life than ranting. For what it's worth, I happen to agree that it seems wrong that Mr Jones is having his licence revoked. Something stinks. Let's hope the publicity leads to a rethink. I'd advise Darren and his wife to contact their Wiltshire Councillor. I believe there are elections next year so we're coming into a period when even the idle ones want to be seen to be doing some good for their voters. Harold Shand
  • Score: 0

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