Sunday, 16 August 2009


Reports in the UK press indicate that pressure is being put on the government to introduce legislation to restrict the number of hours that taxi drivers are allowed to work before a formal break is taken. As many taxi drivers are self employed, they can claim exemption from the European Working Time Directive which would otherwise limit them to a maximum 48 hour week, with regular breaks every six hours.

On the one hand, taxi drivers who have been working for long periods without a break clearly represent a safety risk to their passengers, and therefore safety campaigners argue that such legislation is neccessary. On the other hand, many taxi drivers argue that the introduction of such legislation would limit their ability to earn a decent wage.

  • Should the government be able to enforce legislation which, although increasing safety, makes it difficult for self-employed people to make a living?
  • The rules affecting taxi drivers date back to 1831. What should be the attitude of the government to updating potentially out of date legislation?
  • Many taxi drivers work for small companies (or are possibly self-employed). Should employment legislation apply equally to large and small organisations?
  • When a taxi driver who has been put under pressure to work excessively long hours is involved in a serious accident, who should be held responsible?

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