As prom season approaches the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is urging parents to check if their child’s limousine is safe and legal before booking.
The DVSA says it understands how important it is for children to arrive at their prom in the right vehicle. And, no matter what they choose, parents want to know they’ll get there safely.
Hiring a vehicle and driver that hasn’t been properly vetted and licensed, could put children at risk.
So, DVSA is urging parents to carry out simple checks on GOV.UK to find out if they have a public service vehicle operators’ licence or not. This applies to anyone running limousines with nine or more seats.
If the limousine has fewer than nine seats parents should contact their local council to see if the company is licenced as a private hire vehicle instead.
If an operator has neither then it can be reported to DVSA. DVSA has the power to take these limousines off the road. In the last five years DVSA has impounded 31 and crushed 20 unsafe limousines.
DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “DVSA is committed to protecting you from unsafe drivers and vehicles.
“We know parents want to keep their children safe but rogue limousine operators working outside of the law are putting them at risk.
“We will not hesitate to take action against cowboy operators who risk the lives of young people and other road users. This could include seizing limousines and referring operators to the traffic commissioners, who have the power to take away their licence.”
National Limousine and Chauffeur Association Legislation Officer, Bill Bowling, said: “The safety of your passengers is paramount to us and we ask that parents ensure that the company they use is properly licensed and insured.
“Many people are being taken to their prom in unlicensed and therefore uninsured wedding cars or novelty vehicles.
“Our members are all properly vetted and licensed and are there to ensure the safety of your family and friends.
“Be safe not sorry.”
Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain, Richard Turfitt, said: “Unlicensed operators are not insured to carry passengers. There are good, responsible limousine operators in the industry but those who don’t have a licence to operate are likely to be running vehicles with defects that are potentially dangerous.
“That is why Traffic commissioners fully support DVSA’s advice to parents to be aware of the dangers posed by unsafe limousines.”
“No-one wants to ruin a special night but there are simple steps you can take to find out about the people who will be carrying your children during the prom season. Limousine operators have to be licensed and you can check online whether the operator you are planning to use has been authorised by your local Traffic Commissioner or if they have been refused or had a licence revoked.”
DVSA can also stop limousines being used on UK roads if their enforcement officers find serious mechanical defects on the vehicle or if the driver has failed to abide by the drivers’ hours rules.
DVSA regularly carry out joint operations with the police and they can seize a vehicle if it’s not properly licenced and insured.