Private hire driver loses license after using phone at the wheel

Press ReleaseUpdated: 22 February 2024Crime and safety

A Three Rivers private hire taxi driver has been fined and had his licence revoked after being caught using a mobile phone whilst driving.

Three Rivers District Council received a report from Surrey Police Road Safety Team that on Friday 7 July 2023 Mr Sajid Mahmood of Northridge Way Hemel Hempstead was stopped by officers as part of Operation Tramline for using his mobile phone whilst driving his licensed private hire vehicle.

The report stated that Mr Mahmood was stopped on the M25 when he was transporting a fare paying customer to Gatwick airport early that morning.

Mr Mahmood was issued a fixed penalty notice by Surrey Police, consisting of six penalty points and a £200 fine. As a result of this conviction, Mr Mahmood’s private hire licence was revoked with immediate effect.

Further to Mr Mahmood’s revocation the licensing authority received an appeal against the council’s decision to revoke his licence which was heard at St Albans Magistrates on Monday 12 February 2024.

Magistrates heard evidence from Mrs Lorna Fryer, the lead licensing officer for Three Rivers District Council and Mr Mahmood.

In delivering their decision the magistrates said: “The law is clear and by using your mobile device whilst driving you have not only put yourself at risk but also members of the public therefore we find you no longer fit and proper to be a licensed driver and uphold the decision of the Licensing Authority." Mr Mahmood was also ordered to pay the Local Authority costs of £1200.

Cllr Sarah Nemes, the Leader of the Council, said: “Since a change in the law in 2022 it is now illegal for any individual including all professional licensed drivers to use a mobile device whilst driving, in doing so Mr Mahmood has endangered the lives of his passengers and the general public. Let this be a stark reminder to all licensed drivers that offences of such a serious nature are dealt with robustly and any driver that breaks the law runs the risk of losing their licence and their livelihood.

“All drivers licensed by Three Rivers District Council are expected to act with integrity, to demonstrate conduct befitting the trust that is placed in them and to ensure the safety of their passengers at all times. By using his mobile phone whilst driving Mr Mahmood has shown a blatant disregard to the law and to the safety of his passengers and the general public”.

Mr Mahmood’s licence was revoked on 14 July 2023 and he will not be permitted to reapply for a licence for a minimum of four years.