Limo Law Petition Update – Response from the Government…

We received a petition asking… “We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to introduce a single limousine licensing system for all limousines (1 to 16 passengers).”

Details of Petition:
“At present none of the laws truly fit stretched limousines, these vehicles are being forced into legislation which is neither appropriate nor fair. There are at present 2 main associations representing this industry who have been trying to lobby this cause only to have most doors blocked by unfair and antiquated law. Its time this industry of over 10,000 (tax paying) limousines had a say and the government allowed VOSA/DVLA and the police to work with this industry instead of against. Very soon proposed and badly thought out legislation will force over 50% of these vehicles of our roads simply because the industry has had no say and not because they are dangerous. Over 30 years the stretched limousine industry has been in business in the UK and not 1 single person has been killed in one. The safety record speaks for itself!!!”

Read the Government’s response…
The Government is aware that there has been some confusion surrounding the licensing and safe operation of stretch limousines. The Department for Transport issued Guidance for Operators of Stretch Limousines in January, which sets out clearly the requirements for the safe and legal operation of this type of vehicle.

The law is clear in this area. Virtually any motor vehicle used in Great Britain to carry passengers for hire or reward on a commercial basis needs a licence of some kind. The type of licence required depends upon on the capacity of the vehicle and the type of hire or reward operation undertaken rather than the type of vehicle used. Operating without the requisite licence is a criminal offence.

For vehicles constructed or adapted to carry more than 8 passengers, the licence required is a public service vehicle (PSV) operator’s licence issued by the Traffic Commissioner. For vehicles adapted to carry 8 passengers or fewer, it is either:

  • a taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV) license if the vehicle is hired out, with a driver, as a whole (taxis can ply for hire, PHVs can only take pre-booked hirings). These licences are administered by the relevant local authority who have discretion on what vehicles they will license (DfT has issued guidance to the licensing authorities advising them to consider any applications for PHV licences for limousines on their merits rather than formulating local policies which effectively rule out limousines altogether);
  • a PSV operator’s licence if it is used for carrying passengers at separate fares “in the course of a business of carrying passengers”, once again issued by the Traffic Commissioner.

To legally carry more than 8 passengers on UK roads the vehicles must comply with various parts of the Construction and Use Regulations 1986, including Schedule 6 (Minibuses). Vehicles of the stretched limousine type, at present, do not – in particular they often do not have adequate emergency exits, the turning circle is too large and the lights, tyres and glass are non-compliant.

If constructed to meet the required standards there is nothing stopping a limousine from obtaining a Certificate of Initial Fitness (COIF) and operating as a PSV using a PSV operator’s license.

From Summer 2008, a new pre-registration inspection will prevent the registration of limousines that do not comply with the Construction and Use regulations. This should have the effect of ensuring that in future, larger limousines (with more than 8 passenger seats) are able to comply with the COIF standards that must be met for the limousine to be licensed to carry paying passengers.

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