A drink-driving taxi driver has been jailed for causing serious injuries to himself and two others in a crash where he tried to overtake another car near Aynho. Kabir Hafiz pleaded guilty to two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and one count of driving while above the alcohol limit at Oxford Crown Court on January 28.
The 31-year-old, of Boughton Green Road, Northampton was sentenced to 28 months in prison and disqualified from driving for five years and two months at the same court last Thursday (March 14). At around 11.30pm on May 4, 2018, Hafiz was driving his taxi, with a passenger inside, along the B4100 towards Aynho, when he tried to overtake a car in front.
As the car pulled onto the other side of the road, it collided with a car travelling in the opposite direction. As a result of the collision, Hafiz, his passenger and the driver of the other car all suffered serious injuries that required hospital treatment. A passenger in the other car suffered minor injuries that also required hospital treatment. Hafiz was charged on October 29, 2018.
Investigating officer, PC Graham Holt, of the Joint Roads Policing Unit, said: “This was a serious incident that left four people needing hospital treatment. “The passenger of Hafiz’s taxi and the driver of the other car have received injuries that will affect them for the rest of their lives. “Hafiz’s actions were reckless and dangerous, and as a result he will have to live with the serious injuries he also sustained. “I hope this sentence reflects the severity of the incident and serves as a warning to others of the consequences of driving dangerously and under the influence of alcohol.”
The Uber drivers behind a landmark employment rights case last year are suing the firm over claims it failed to provide them with information under GDPR.
Four drivers including James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, whose worker rights case will reach the Supreme Court this year, said Uber has blocked them from calculating potential money owed in back pay and holiday pay.
They claim that the company failed to "respect their digital rights under the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR]" by not granting them a copy of their trip ratings, performance data and the duration of time that they worked.
The GDPR laws introduced last year mean that anyone is entitled to a copy of the data that a company holds on them.
Mr Farrar said: “For too long Uber has used its technology to abuse its power over drivers and deny them even the most basic of workplace rights.
"It collects vast quantities of personal data from its drivers and uses algorithms to surveill, manage, nudge, penalise, reward and even fire workers from behind the digital curtain. "
Ravi Naik of ITN Solicitors, who is representing the drivers, said that this case will be a "stress-test of Uber’s commitment to data protection".
Mr Aslam said the company is using their technology to exploit workers.
"This is further proof that gig economy employers like Uber manipulate our data behind the curtain to make huge profits for themselves while placing us at a financial disadvantage," he said.
The topic of pay has been contentious among the ride-hailing firm and its drivers.
A report from Oxford University last year revealed that Uber drivers were taking home £11 an hour, £4 less than the company's estimates before driver costs.
The firm also faced a backlash in San Francisco and San Diego after changing its pay structure in 20 cities across the US to give more money to drivers with slower, shorter rides than those with longer trips.
The company has toyed with the idea of a short-term staffing businessin the US ahead of its planned IPO this year.
An Uber spokesperson said: "Our privacy team works hard to provide as much information as we can including explanations when we can’t provide certain data such as when the data doesn't exist or disclosing it would infringe on the rights of another person under GDPR."
A TAXI driver who refused to take a passenger with a guide dog has been ordered to pay nearly £600.
Tahir Murad, 45, of Cullerne Close, Abingdon, was prosecuted by Vale of White Horse District Council after he was deemed to have breached equality legislation.
Murad was working at the Ock Street taxi rank in Abingdon on July 5 last year when he was approached by a man who is registered blind and his guide dog.
He made a number of excuses why he could not take the dog and refused to take the fare, despite not holding a certificate that would have exempted him from carrying dogs.
Murad had previously received disability awareness training and was fully aware of the requirement to carry assistance dogs.
After the victim made a complaint to the district council, Murad pleaded guilty to the offence at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on March 4.
He has been fined £300 and ordered to pay a contribution of £250 towards the prosecution costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
His Hackney carriage driver's licence has lapsed since the offence, according to the council.
Elaine Ware, cabinet member for licensing, said: “I would like to thank the complainant for making us aware of this incident.
"This case demonstrates that we will always look to take action against drivers who refuse to take passengers with assistance dogs without a valid reason.”
A bid to introduce Minehead’s first fully electric taxi has been thwarted by West Somerset Council’s rules which make no provision for licensing electric vehicles.
Alcombe Taxis owner Keith Griffiths a taxi driver in the town for 25 years, wanted to offer customers eco-friendly transport in a £35,000 Nissan Leaf electric ar. It would have been the first electric taxi in West Somerset.
But after waiting three months for a decision from the council’s licensing committee, he has been told that the authority’s policy on licensing electric vehicles needs to be reviewed and no decision is likely until after the formation of the new Somerset West and Taunton Council.
Mr Griffiths told us: “I’m tied up in red tape and stuck with a vehicle I can’t use at a time when the Government is putting £6 million into encouraging the use of electric vehicles. It could be months before I get a decision. I’m at a dead end and don’t know what to do.”
With the backing of Minehead mayor Cllr Norman Hercock and several town councillors, Mr Griffiths appeared before the district council’s licensing committee last November seeking permission to take on a licence had been returned by another driver..
“I knew that a new taxi licence plate will only be granted for a disabled-friendly taxi – which the electric car is not. Bu existing plates, which cover ordinary vehicles, can be passed on”, said Mr Griffiths, who already runs two disabled-friendly vehicles.
“He said it was agreed at the [November] meeting that licensing manager John Rendell would investigate the situation and write a report which would be considered at the next licensing committee meeting last month.
“I was prepared to take my vehicle along so that they knew what they were making a decision about,” he added. “Members agreed that the licence should be issued with the condition that it would be for electric use only and therefore exempt from the regulations on disabled access.
“But this was deferred after the chairman warned they would be going against current policy by issuing a licence for a taxi which was not disabled friendly.”
However, last month’s scheduled meeting was cancelled due to lack of business. Mr Griffiths told the Free Press: “I was hoping the situation would be clarified at the March meeting and I could have put in an appropriate licence application. But they cancelled the meeting and asked me not to attend.
“It seems that nothing will now be done until a new council is formed and a policy on licences decided, which could take the rest of the year. In the meantime, Minehead and West Somerset will be denied a zero-emissions taxi service which would be an asset in the fight against climate change – and I’m helpless to do anything.
“All other taxis in Minehead are petrol or diesel and an electric cab would give people a choice to go green.”
In a letter to Mr Griffith’s representative, Mr Rendell said the proposal was discussed at length at the November meeting and it was fully understood that Mr Griffiths was looking to use a licence plate which was currently out of circulation.
“While there was support for what Mr Griffiths was trying to achieve, the resolution was that the council’s policy needed to be reviewed in the future, taking into account the use [of] electric vehicles.
“At no point was it decided to re-visit the proposal at the March meeting… and we have agreed that this matter will not be re-visited.” Cllr Hercock said last month that he was “appalled” by the licensing committee’s decision to refuse an application that would have seen Minehead taking the lead in Somerset in eco-friendly transport.
“A licence plate is available and to give it to Mr Griffiths would have caused absolutely no problems,” he said. “My view is that the district council is using the formation of the new council as an excuse to put off as many decisions as possible.
“We fully support Mr Griffith and will keep up the fight to get eco-friendly taxis in Minehead.”
Cllr Keith Turner, West Somerset Council executive member for housing, health and wellbeing, said: “WSC is keen to support local businesses and recognises the value of taxi companies to the economy and local communities.
“The possibility of issuing a licence for the electric vehicle was discussed at length during a meeting of the licensing committee in November where a number of points were raised over compliance with existing policy, in particular the need for vehicles to be wheelchair accessible, which the proposed vehicle was not.
“Members felt that there were certain advantages to electric cars and the policy needed to be updated to reflect them whilst remaining fair for all drivers and customers. It was resolved that the licensing manager would investigate the use of electric vehicles and amend the policy for the new Somerset West and Taunton council.”
Local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger said last month that he was “very disappointed” with the licensing committee’s decision and urged councillors to reconsider Mr Griffiths’ application.
“This would be a real first for Minehead and it flies in the face of Government policy to encourage the use of electric vehicles for eco-friendly public transport. Other parts of the country are using electric taxis with great success and I regularly use them in London.
“I will be contacting the relevant government department to see if something can be done to resolve this case so that Mr Griffiths can use his taxi. The present situation is ridiculous.”
A 22-year-old man has been jailed for over two years for robbing a taxi driver in Rotherham last year.
Kieron Medlock, formerly of Meadow Close, Rotherham, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday 5 March where he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.
He pleaded guilty to robbery at an earlier hearing.
In January 2018, Medlock ordered a taxi from a pub in Swallownest. Once he was in the taxi, Medlock threatened the driver and assaulted him, demanding he hand over cash.
The driver handed over some cash before Medlock fled the taxi, but the whole incident was captured on CCTV and Medlock was subsequently arrested and charged.
PC Paul McIntyre, the investigating officer, said: “I am pleased that Medlock accepted responsibility for his crimes and has received a custodial sentence.
“His victim was left deeply affected by the incident, and now no longer works at night due to fear. I hope that the victim is reassured by the sentence given to Medlock and this should send a message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.”