The peak body representing the Queensland taxi industry is warning of the dangers of illegal services that do not regulate drivers to have a zero alcohol reading.
Under state transport laws, Queensland taxi drivers must always show a alcohol zero limit, and risk suspension and other penalties if found to have breached the strict regulations.
Taxi Council Queensland chief executive officer Benjamin Wash says disregarding a zero alcohol limit poses serious safety concerns for customers who expect their drivers to be 100 per cent focused behind the wheel.
“Taxi drivers can not drink, full stop. A driver of an illegal taxi service can have a couple of drinks before getting on the road and picking up a passenger.”
He said it was impossible for illegal taxi services like uber to enforce their own blood alcohol limits because their drivers were not breaking the law by drinking and driving.
“Coupled with them having to use smartphones and digital devices, it is clear their concentration is less than what it should be,” Mr Wash said.
He pointed out that the recent introduction of heavier penalties for drivers caught using mobile devices is welcome but not a major concern for taxi drivers because they don’t need to use phones to receive bookings.
“Queensland taxis use a sophisticated but safe dispatch system. They are 100 per cent focused on what is in front of them and face minimal distractions.”
Queensland Police research shows 22 per cent of all motor vehicle crashes are a result of driver distraction through using digital devices.
“Our drivers are not required to communicate this way and it is simply naive to think that illegal taxi operators will self-regulate to not use their phone while driving when it offers them a pickup.”