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Showing posts with label Taxi Leaks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taxi Leaks. Show all posts

27 July 2017

Two Years Of Massive Disruption And Congestion In Marylebone, Curtesy Of TfL And Thames Water.

Baker Street:
Until early 2019, work is taking place to convert Baker Street and Gloucester Place to two-way traffic. During this time there will be changes to the road layout on these roads, between Park Road and Portman Square. For more details, please visit Additionally, there are lane restrictions on Baker Street southbound at the junction of Marylebone Road until mid-November, for Thames Water works. 

From 21:30 on Friday 28, until 06:00 on Monday 31 July there will be lane closures on South Lambeth Road southbound at the junction of Harleyford Road. This is for a crane operation

English language requirement
The deadline for new or renewal private hire driver’s licence applicants to provide evidence of their ability to comply with the English language requirement has been extended from 30 September 2017 to 16 July 2018. Please click here for more information 

Taxi rank locations now available to app developers
We are now publishing information about taxi ranks, including locations and operating hours, in our API, which means this information can be used by developers in apps. For example, customers can now search for their nearest rank in Apple Maps. Ranks listed include the new ranks at UCL Hospital Beaumont Place, DoubleTree Hotel in Kingston, and Hither Green Station (Fernbrook Road). 

The latest issue of OnRoute magazine features articles about our compliance resources, RideLondon, how you can help stop human trafficking, and much more. Read it now here 

Space for cyclists
To improve cyclist and driver safety, officers from the Met Roads and Transport Policing Command are undertaking a new tactic. Officers from the team will be patrolling in plain clothes, wearing video cameras and riding unmarked bicycles, to identify and deal with the offences that most deter people from cycling. Driving and cycling safety advice is available here

Waterloo proposals
We’re consulting on changes around Waterloo. The consultation closes on 20 August and you can find details here

Draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy
The draft Mayor's Transport Strategy sets out his plans to transform London's streets, improve public transport and create opportunities for new homes and jobs. Our public consultation on these plans is open until 2 October 2017. 
Read more and respond to the consultation here

Lambeth Bridge north and south proposals
We’re consulting on changes to Lambeth Bridge north and south. The consultation closes on 20 August and you can find it here

Fiveways transformation
We are working with Croydon Council on proposals to make Fiveways in Waddon simpler and safer for all road users. The joint consultation will close on 18 September. 
For full details, and to share your views, please click here

Camden Town Station 
We’re consulting on improvements to Camden Town Station. This follows a consultation in January 2017 on development above and around the proposed new station exit. The consultation closes on 18 August and you can find the new consultation here

We would like your views on a number of proposed changes to the layout of Nine Elms Lane and Battersea Park Road. This consultation will run until Sunday 20 August. You can find full details of the proposals and respond to the consultation here

Charlie Brown’s Roundabout
We’re consulting on proposed change to Charlie Brown’s roundabout. The consultation is open until 4 August and you can find it here

from Taxi Leaks

Owners Of ComCab -ComfortDelGro taxis- to offer QR code payment in DBS tie-up.


Passengers of ComfortDelGro taxis can now choose to pay for their fare using a quick response (QR) code, in a tie-up between the taxi company and DBS Bank.

Passengers just need to scan the QR code on the taxi’s cashless payment terminal and the app will automatically process the payment. (Photo: ComfortDelGro)

This is the first time QR code payment – a type of barcode read by devices – is being introduced for taxis in Singapore, DBS said in a press release on Thursday (Jul 27).

Starting Aug 10, users of the bank’s mobile wallet DBS PayLah can scan the QR code on the cashless payment terminal of any of the 16,000 ComfortDelGro taxis, and the app will automatically process the payment.

ComfortDelGro taxi CEO Ang Wei Neng said the move is part of the company's plan to provide more cashless and more convenient payment options for passengers.

"Cashless transactions account for one-fifth of all our taxi trips. We expect its volume to grow steadily as passengers become more accustomed to paying using such payment modes,” he added.

DBS said it has witnessed "a dramatic shift" in the behaviour of consumer's payments, who are becoming more inclined to cashless payments and withdrawing lower amounts of cash from ATMs.

Between June 2016 and June this year, the number of DBS PayLah transactions and payment volume more than doubled, DBS said

Source: CNA

from Taxi Leaks

26 July 2017

Martin Lewis Putting Public In Danger? Advising His Readers To Use Uber

Came across this post on FaceBook this afternoon, from one of our ladies on the Save Black Taxis Group. 

Michele writes:
I've recently signed up to a weekly email from money man Martin Lewis. 

This was in his email this week about using Uber!

He has a Facebook page to which I've made a comment. 
Maybe some of you'd like to add your thoughts.

This is a surprising turn of events from Martin as he has always been seen as a supporter and user of Taxis, and was in fact photographed supporting the Save Black Taxi group.

This email is also surprising because Martin is a husband and father who surely should be concerned more with public safety than sheer cheapness. 
Or this this another case as just do as I say not as I do?

He is recommending an unsafe night service whose record of passengers, seriously sexually assaulted by the driver, has escalated by 50% this year (according to a Freedom of Information request made to the Metropolitan Police).  

Taxi Leaks' question to Martin Lewis:
Martin, would you really advise you wife, mother, sister, niece etc to use Uber to get home after reading about Uber's record of serious sexual assaults including rapes, plus their terrible driving standards seen daily on social media?

It's discussing to think that some people will do anything to earn a few quid in commission. 

from Taxi Leaks

24 July 2017

Corrupt Rail Firm Fraudsters Sentenced Following Painstaking BTP Investigation

A gang of corrupt rail firm employees who took bribes to secure a lucrative contract have today been sentenced following an extensive and prolonged investigation by British Transport Police fraud investigators. 

The investigation related to offences of corruption, fraud and money laundering that occurred during the upgrade to Farringdon Station in 2010.

The sentence for each defendant is: 

1. Alandale Rail Ltd (now Alandale Track and Civils Ltd) was fined £25,000.
2. Innocent Obiekwe  (42) of Edgware, was sentenced to two years in prison and disqualified from being a director for eight years.
3. John Zayya (51) of Catford, was sentenced to two years in prison and disqualified for eight years from being a director.
4. William Waring (56) of Ashford Kent, was sentenced to two years on two counts to run concurrently. The first count was money laundering the second count was corruption. Waring has also been disqualified from being a director for eight years. 
5. Kevin McKee (57) of Maidenhead was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment on five counts to run concurrent and disqualified for eight years from being a director.

BTP’s fraud squad first started investigating corruption surrounding Alandale Rail Ltd in February 2011 when a whistle blower at the organisation contacted the Mayor’s Office at City Hall. The Fraud Team at Transport for London then alerted BTP. 

A meticulous investigation uncovered a network of corruption and bribery for a large contract connected to upgrade works at Farringdon station.

At the heart of the corruption was Obiekwe, a senior manager at Costain and Laing O’Rourke (CoLOR) who was responsible for ensuring the health and safety procedures at the project in Farringdon. During 2010, Alandale Rail, through Zayya and  McKee, made corrupt payments to Obiekwe in order to secure a lucrative contract and additional work to supply safety critical staff (see notes to editors) as part of this project. Corrupt payments were later made through Waring to ensure Obiekwe continued to favour Alandale Rail Ltd. 

The information which was provided to Alandale Rail Ltd by Obiekwe ensured that they had a positive influence on the tender process and could undercut bids made by competitors. The initial value of the contract was £2.1m but eventually rose to £5.2m. 

However, the corruption and dishonesty did not stop once Alandale Rail Ltd had successfully won the tender. After Alandale Rail were appointed, Obiekwe and the other defendants were part of a scheme to defraud CoLOR by claiming for ‘ghost workers’. Claims were fraudulently made to CoLOR for false work undertaken by safety critical staff working for Alandale Rail Ltd. Payments were claimed for workers who never attended the site or carried out any work, and invoices and timesheets were falsified to disguise the bogus claims. 

Throughout the investigation, officers identified payments in excess of £140,000 paid to Obiekwe along with other gifts and favours.

Detective Constable Justin Yorke from British Transport Police Commercial Fraud Squad, said: “The corruption shown by all defendants was complex, prolonged and meticulously planned. However, they did not plan on a whistle-blower reporting their corruption to the Mayor of London’s office. 

“Obiekwe provided confidential information to Alandale Rail Ltd which ensured that they could undercut competitor bids, in order to secure this lucrative contract. He was motivated by greed and took bribes from Alandale Rail Ltd employees. The behaviour of Obiekwe and his fellow defendants was scandalous and undermines the legitimate tendering process companies undertake every day. I am pleased with today’s sentences and I hope this sends a very clear message to any groups who may be considering similar actions. 

“The scale of the corruption was significant. Whilst we may never know the full extent of money fraudulently claimed and laundered, I am pleased that we have brought a criminal gang to justice.”

Notes to Editors 

The ‘Safety Critical Staff’ are specially trained and responsible for the safety of operatives working on the railway infrastructure including stations and tracks. They monitor the movement of staff entering or working on the station, check relevant permits, carry out safety briefings and are responsible for planning/securing stretches of track, known as possessions, to allow work to be carried out in a safe manner. There are different roles involved and operatives are trained to various levels depending on the environment they needed to work in. Safety Critical Staff are tightly regulated. 


Kevin McKee pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on September 16, 2016 to the following charges:

1. Corruption, contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act 1906
2. Conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law
3. Money laundering contrary to s328 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
4. Conspiracy to defraud contrary to Common Law
5. Money laundering contrary to s328 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Innocent Obiekwe pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on May 22, 2017 to a charge of corruption contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

John Zayya pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on May 22, 2017 to a charge of corruption contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. 

William Waring pleaded guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on June 21, 2017 to a charge of corruption contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and money laundering contrary to section 328 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Alandale Rail Limited (Company No 07019850) was found guilty by jury of corruption contrary to s1 Prevention of Corruption Act at Blackfriars Crown Court.  

Perry Morgan (54) who was charged with corruption was unanimously acquitted during trial at Blackfriars Crown Court in June 2017. 

from Taxi Leaks

Minicab driver, accused of sexual comments towards teen passenger has licence taken away

A Minicab driver has lost his appeal against the revocation of his private hire driver’s licence following an allegation of comments of a sexual nature being made to a teenage passenger.

At the recent hearing, Loughborough Magistrates' Court heard that North West Leicestershire District Council had first suspended and then revoked the private hire driver’s licence of Mohammed Kabeer, following complaints about his attitude, behaviour and driving standards.

The court was told that the licence was initially suspended on November 22, last year, following complaints about his attitude towards two female licensing officers, his manner of driving and inappropriate comments made to two passengers, including comments of a sexual nature made to a lone 18-year-old female passenger. This incident happened in Coalville.

Following a safeguarding report made to the council by the police in December 2016 relating to what the council considered to be inappropriate sexual contact between Mr Kabeer and a female passenger, the council revoked his licence on January 31, this year.

During the hearing, Mr Kabeer accepted that there had been sexual contact between him and the passenger but claimed that he was the victim of a sexual assault.

In dismissing his appeal the court found that the decision of the council was correct as its primary duty is the protection of the public.

Mr Kabeer of Southbourne Avenue, Birmingham, was ordered to pay the council’s costs of defending the appeal of £1,650.

Councillor Alison Smith, deputy leader and portfolio holder for community services at the council, said: “I am extremely pleased that the court dismissed this appeal and upheld the decision of the council.

“Members of the public have every right to expect that when they get into a Minicab the driver is fit and proper and will not abuse their position, whether it is by bad driving or inappropriate sexual innuendo or conduct.

“I hope this sends a clear message to the public that we will act robustly to ensure that they are protected when using taxis, and also makes it clear to the licensed vehicle trade that the council will not tolerate this kind of behaviour from drivers. A private hire driver’s licence is a privilege and not a right and where drivers fail to meet the high standards required by the council they can expect their licence to be revoked.”

from Taxi Leaks

23 July 2017

Madrid asks anti-trust watchdog to probe Uber's new airport service

MADRID (Reuters) - Authorities in Madrid asked Spain's anti-trust watchdog on Saturday to investigate whether Uber's new low-cost airport transfer service constitutes unfair competition. 

The city council's request follows the ride-hailing app's return to the Spanish capital last year after the CNMC competition regulator called for the government to lift a ban on the U.S. company. 

The firm's recently launched Uber Airport service offers a tariff of 15-29 euros for a ride between Madrid's Barajas international airport and the city center. Standard taxi fares for the trip are fixed at 30 euros. 

"(Uber Airport) could violate several articles of the Law of Unfair Competition and consumer rights, if it is proven that the service is being operated at prices below operational costs and with the sole intention of gaining customers through unfair competition," Madrid City Council said in statement. 

No one at Uber could immediately be reached to comment. 

Uber, which expanded into Europe six years ago, has come under attack from established taxi companies and some EU countries because it is not bound by strict local licensing and safety rules that apply to some of its competitors. 

Spanish taxi drivers have held three strikes so far this year, arguing that ride-hailing apps, which are regulated in Spain under VTC licenses typically used for private, chauffeur-driven vehicles, constitute unfair competition because they do not meet current regulations and pay less tax. 

According to taxi unions, in Spain there is one VTC license for every 11 regular taxis, well over the 1/30 ratio established under Spanish law in 2015. 

In Madrid, the only Spanish city where Uber is currently active, there are more than 2,000 VTC-licensed taxis and about 15,000 traditional taxis, according to figures from the Ministry of Public Works. 

In May, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) dealt a blow to the company by ruling that it should be considered a transport service and not an app. 

from Taxi Leaks

Know Your Rights When Faced With Stroppy Compliance Or Police Officers.


The police/TfL Compliance are fully aware that the public have the right to record them on duty. 

However this doesn’t stop many of them from using threats, intimidation and even assault until innocent members of the public shut off their cameras.

What should you do if you wish to record the police but they become hostile and threatening?

Here is our comprehensive and updated guide on your right to record the police…


No. In fact, you don’t require ANY member of the public’s permission to record or film then in a public place. 

If this were the case, then Paparazzi wouldn’t exist.

There is no law that says you cannot record someone in public without their permission (or a permit). 

The same rules apply to everyone including security guards, traffic wardens, bailiffs, the emergency services etc. If you are in public (or in your home) you have a right to record whomever you choose.


If your approached and asked why you are filming, you are NOT obliged to answer them. A

You do not have to tell them who you are or what you are doing. 

However, most officers will take this an automatic affront to their authority and possibly use it as a reason to abuse you further.

If you are asked by the police or TfL why you are filming you can give any number of reasonable replies, such as:
“I’m just exercising my right to record in public.”
“It’s for my own personal records”
“It’s for everybody’s protection”

Either way, it pays to be discreet and non-intrusive when recording anyone who might protest.


No they cannot. They would need a warrant under RIPA 

(Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

to access the contents of your device – and would have to arrest you and seize the device to obtain one.

If any officer asks to see what you have recorded tell them that they have no authority and if they wish to examine the device they should obtain the necessary warrant.

Any officer attempting to delete recordings or photographs from a device is committing a criminal offence, as this constitutes the destruction of evidence.



Although in some instances the police can seize items that contain useful evidence there has to be a justifiable reason for doing so.  

A police officer cannot seize your camera under this power simply because you refuse to stop filming. Refusing to abide by an unlawful command that is made by a police officer is not a criminal offence. 

Therefore any attempt to seize your camera as a result would be malicious and the officer could be liable for a charge of misconduct.

TfL compliance have no right to seize your personal property under any circumstance 



Any member of the police service or public servant that physically grabs at you or your camera in an attempt to stop you filming could be liable to a charge of assault. This also includes members of the public. 

Anyone that threatens or intimidates you into putting away your camera could be liable to a charge of harassment. 

If a police officer forces you to stop recording against your will, and you are not under arrest, then take a note of the officers collar number and make an official complaint of misconduct to their relevant Professional Standards Department.

Unfortunately, too many people in authority believe they have an automatic right of entitlement over the public. Paramedics, PCSOs, security guards and other state employees can become extremely aggressive and hostile when a member of the public records them. Although they are in the wrong for doing so it still pays to be discreet, reasonable and cautious when recording people who may suddenly become a physical risk to you at that moment.


The British Police are public servants and should expect to be placed under scrutiny. However police officers – and members of the public – commonly make outlandish claims of breached rights when they protest to being recorded.

Do these people object to the thousands of CCTV cameras that scrutinise us daily, without our permission or knowledge? No. And yet there is no difference between you filming out on the street and local authorities recording us all with CCTV; except for the fact you won’t have to apply to the authorities for a copy of a video you have recorded yourself.

If you hear an officer complaining that you are “infringing their human rights”, “acting suspicious” or “harassing them”, don’t let it intimidate you into switching off your camera. A police officer claiming he is being harassed whilst performing his duties is like a dustman complaining of a bad smell.



The Public Order Act is the most abused piece of legislation in the UK when it comes to the police forcing people to comply with unlawful commands. And unfortunately too many officers think that ‘talking back’ is an arrestable offence, by way of breach of the peace or anti social behaviour laws. 

Any police officer that uses threat of arrest as a means to intimidate, punish or force you to comply with them is acting unlawfully.

As long as you are not behaving in a manner that a reasonable person would deem as anti-social or a public nuisance then the police have no cause to arrest you for filming in a public place against their will.



Again, as long as you are not obstructing an officer from performing his duties, blocking a public right of way, following people against their will or just generally causing a disturbance, then the police have no grounds to move you on.

A common tactic used by police is to claim that ‘members of the public’ have been complaining and feeling intimidated. If the police make such a claim you should ask them for the incident number that was logged when members of the public called in. The police are required to give it to you when asked.

If they do not, you can be certain the police are lying. Make a note of their collar numbers and complain, or at the very least insist that you will make a complaint if they do not leave you alone.


Yes. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) issued an ‘all forces’ memo which lays out guidelines to officers on the rights of members of the public to record them. 

Should you find yourself in a situation where the police argue against your right, then use this letter as your trump card.

Remember, the general rule with the police is that they expect people to be ignorant of the law and to automatically switch off their cameras when told to.


from Taxi Leaks

It's Time To Plug The Holes In Cross-Border Hiring.

Taxi drivers in Merseyside are calling for new laws after spotting a private hire car with what appear to be fake paper plates carrying customers out of Liverpool.

A Hackney driver took pictures of the car heading out of the city and through the Queensway Tunnel towards Birkenhead recently. 

The National Taxi Drivers Association says the car in the picture ( below ) is “clearly using fake white plates” instead of the correct Private Hire plates as well as a fake aerial set. 

This image appears to show a private hire driver with white paper/card where a license plate should be.

The association also claims that one of its members then flagged the car down and asked the driver to produce his private hire badge - only to be shown a bus pass.

The association is now calling for a “major shake-up” to the way the private hire industry is regulated and policed in the region and has called for local leaders to take on the new findings of an All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis.

Kevin Lawrence is the chair of the National Taxi Driver Association in Liverpool and said the picture in question shows the scale of the problem with private hire standards in the region.

This private hire car chose to park up in a disabled bay

He said: “The picture clearly shows a car showing a white paper or cardboard plate instead of a private plate and a fake aerial set.

“When he was stopped on the other side of the tunnel by a Hackney driver and asked to produce his badge he showed him a bus pass.

“Pictures like this prove these standards are not being upheld and that it isn’t possible to do so without a new ruling being drafted in - this shows that fake cars are working here.”

Mr Lawrence said he also ran the license plates of the car in question and found that it did not have a valid MOT certificate.

What is being proposed?

Private hire drivers parked on the pavement.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Taxis has produced a new report on the future of the taxi trade, following a three month investigation led by Labour MP Wes Streeting.

The report calls on the Government to give mayors or combined authorities the power to cap the number of private hire vehicles on the streets, to stop what is known as cross-border hiring and to set out a “robust set of minimum licensing standards” for taxis and private hire vehicles.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including:

-Calling on the government to grant regional leaders the power to cap the number of private hire numbers.

-Creating a statutory definition of cross border hiring whereby a journey must ‘begin or end in the licensing authority where the license was issued.

-Consult on statutory guidance for taxi and private hire licensing and set out a robust set of minimum standards for all licensing authorities.

-Call on Government to create a legally enforceable statutory definition of plying for hire

Problems in our region

An investigation earlier this year found that while many private hire drivers in Liverpool are acting correctly, there are a good number who are breaking the law.

We found many examples of drivers parked illegally, taking up disabled and bus bays.

But the biggest problem seemed to be private hire drivers regularly “plying for hire”, meaning waiting on the road or even in taxi ranks to pick up passengers off the street who haven’t booked them.

This is a particular problem for Liverpool as drivers are getting licenses elsewhere, many getting licensed in London by TfL and then heading to the city centre to pick up fares.

Its something the city council is trying to crack down on.

Chair of licensing Cllr Christine Banks said: “Most of the 2,163 private hire drivers in our city do obey the law, but we have a specific issue in Liverpool with drivers coming in from neighbouring boroughs to ply for trade illegally because of our vibrant night time economy.

“We already run regular operations and issue fines, warnings and prosecutions to hundreds of drivers every year but could do more if we were able to use some of the taxi licensing fees paid to other areas to boost it.”

There has previously been talk of a city-region wide licence which could cover all six boroughs and allow leaders to pinpoint hot spots and take action.

The findings of the APPG would appear to back this idea up as a way forward.

Mr Lawrence agrees, he said: “We must regulate what we have at the present and ensure that public safety is paramount - we need to drive standards forward.”

“We need to cap what we already have and build a team capable of enforcement for all boroughs in the combined authority.”

Source : Liverpool Echo 

from Taxi Leaks

21 July 2017

Uber Concerns For The Trade From Wycombe .... By Lee Ward.

I wish to discuss and highlight the information that I received from Caroline Steven who is the Licensing Team Leader for Wycombe.

Caroline replied to an email that I sent out nationally informing me of the following;

Dear Mr Ward,

Thank you for your e-mail below and the accompanying letter.

I can confirm that it is the opinion of this authority that bookings are taken by Uber and that the contract lies between Uber and the customer. This was the basis on which an operator licence was issued to Uber by this authority.

I would add that in Wycombe district we have far more significant issues with local operators and drivers obtaining licences from authorities with less robust requirements and operating within this area. We also consider that the policies and procedures put in place by Uber are considerably more comprehensive and effective than the majority of private hire operators.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Steven

Licensing Team Leader

Wycombe District Council


While I fully accept that companies are not working within the intention of the Law, I fail to see how Caroline’s defense of Uber is sufficient to accept.

It states in the Wycombe web site for Private Hire licensing that;

A licensed private hire driver cannot accept any bookings unless he/she either holds or works for a licensed private hire operator. An operator may pass a booking to another licensed private hire vehicle operator provided that the operator is also licensed by us.

However, it is stated twice in Canadian Courts and once in a UK Tribunal that Uber do not accept the booking, but the driver does. It is also stated within the Uber terms and conditions that;

Uber is a technology company with a proprietary technology application (the “App”) that provides on-demand lead generation and related services. The App connects independent providers of transportation services with requests from riders requesting transportation services.

Again, it is the customer and the driver who make the contract, Uber simply back fill the acceptance of the request to the appropriate Operators License that the driver is registered to.

I wish this information to highlight that Uber, in their own words both under oath and within their web site, admit that it is the driver who accepts the booking and not Uber themselves.

There may be discussions regarding the law and how technology has advanced, but the crux of the matter is that the law is what we have as it currently stands and must be adhered to. 

It was written with the intention of protecting the public, advances in technology does not detract from that intention, indeed, many if not all other systems that use modern technology in fact were written to work within the current law, its intentions and most importantly the safety of the public.

This email is due to the flippant disregard of Uber and how it operates by Caroline Steven and will now be circulated through the trade’s online and printed press releases.

It is not for one council to sit back and accept that an operator is legal because other councils have licensed them, it is the duty of each individual authority to ensure that the person or company licensed is operating within the intention of the law as it stands now, not how it may stand in the future.

My charge to Wycombe Council is this;

You investigate the working practices of Uber to protect the public of Wycombe.

I look forward to your response, which I assure you will also be shared with the trade as I have explained that this email will be.

I thank you for your time in reading this email.

Yours Sincerely

Lee Ward

ALPHA Chairman

from Taxi Leaks

20 July 2017

Could Listening To Music While Driving Be Banned?

University College London has published a study which indicates that listening to music while driving causes low level distraction that leads to slower reaction times and a reduced awareness of road conditions around you while driving.

The creator of the study, Dr Ulrich Pomper, admits that in normal driving conditions for normal drivers the impact is low level. However, he says that for the elderly, hearing impaired, or drivers who are tired, stressed, or trying to perform complex navigation tasks, the impact can be significant and dangerous.

Mobile phone use while driving has already been proven to be a leading cause of driver distraction and serious accidents. Could this study be the start of road safety experts pushing to ban music in cars as well, on the grounds that it could lead to driver distraction and cause accidents?

Outline of the study

In the study, scientists measured the brain activity of a group of volunteers while listening to sounds coming from speakers. People listening to music were found to have slower reaction times and higher mental stress when looking away from the source of the audio.

The people behind the study also think the effect could be worse when we are tired or under stress, as well as for people with hearing issues and older people. The researchers, from the University College London (UCL) Ear Institute, found that moving the gaze just a few degrees away from the source of a sound can have a profound effect on brain activity.

They believe this is because our brains expect the direction of our gaze to be aligned with what we hear. While we believe we can listen to sounds attentively without looking towards them, the findings indicate that this isn’t the case.

Everyday listening impact

In the test, the researchers aimed to recreate everyday listening situations, attempting to follow a single sound from a range of competing noises ones, under controlled lab conditions. A group of 19 participants each sat facing three loudspeakers and were told to follow the sounds from one while ignoring the other two.

They were also told to look at either the speaker they were following or one of the others. The researchers found that when people looked away from the loudspeaker they were following, their reaction times were slower than when they were looking at the source of the sound.

The effect was also coupled with increased brain activity, meaning people had to concentrate harder on the tasks when they weren’t looking at the loudspeaker they were listening to. People with hearing problems and older people experienced a greater degree of difficulty with the task.

Distracted driving solutions

According to researchers, listening to music or even talking to someone who is to the side of you or behind you could result in you being distracted while driving. Even navigating in traffic, for example by looking right while you listen to a sat nav system, can result in distraction.

  • Listening to music, sat nav instructions, or people talking in a car is virtually impossible to police or ban. 
  • However, a ban on mobile phone use was once thought virtually impossible to police too. 
  • There is currently a major clampdown on people using mobile phones while driving, due to their distracting possibilities and risk of causing accidents.

Scientists at Nissan have recently announced a signal blocker that prevents mobile users being distracted while at the wheel. Aimed at ‘compulsive checkers’ who can’t resist checking their phones, the technology brings a 19th-century solution to a 21st-century problem, using the principle of a “Faraday Cage,” developed over 180 years ago. 

Nissan has introduced a compartment in the armrest of its cars that not only stores the device but acts as a signal blocker, preventing any WiFi and mobile signals from connecting with the smartphone.

Experts said only a few years ago that mobile phone use in cars would be impossible to enforce; now it’s law. If health and safety campaigners or the Police think that listening to music causes distraction and creates accidents, we could be sitting in silence on Britain’s roads in the future.

What do you think about this UCL research? 
Do you agree that music can be a source of driver distraction? 
Do you think the authorities would consider banning music in cars if it was proven to cause accidents? 

Let us know your views in the comments section below.

from Taxi Leaks

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One Taxi company For Milton Keynes you will Like


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