Hiring a prom limo that hasn’t been properly vetted and licensed could be putting children at risk.
The warning comes from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which says that the driver may not have had a criminal record check or the prom limo may not be roadworthy.
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The DVSA is urging parents to carry out simple checks via its website to find out if the company has a public service vehicle operators’ licence. This applies to to anyone running limousines with nine or more seats.
If the prom limo has fewer than nine seats, parents are advised to contact their local council to see if the company is licensed as a private hire vehicle operator. If a company has neither licence in place it can be reported to the DVSA, which has the power to remove limousines from the road.
Be safe not sorry
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, 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.”
Bill Bowling, National Limousine and Chauffeur Association legislation officer, added: “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.”
In 2013, the DVSA issued guidance for operators of stretch limousines, including information on driver licensing, drivers’ hours, in-service testing, seatbelts, speed limiters, tachographs, vehicle licensing and vehicle standards.
Illegal prom limos will be crushed
In January 2015, Merseyside Police crushed an illegally modified stretch limousine after it failed to meet UK safety laws because a third axle had been fitted. Earlier, in 2010, eight limos taking school pupils to their prom failed roadside checks have been pulled as part of a joint operation between the police, local council and VOSA.
Fifth Gear crashed a Lincoln Town Car stretch limousine to highlight the dangers of travelling in what is essentially a ‘cut and shut’. The results are… predictable.