Bath taxi drivers facing sat-nav ban

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Media captionThe council in Bath said drivers should know where they are going

Taxi drivers in Bath look set to become the first in the country to be banned from using sat-navs for local journeys.

Liberal Democrat-run Bath and North East Somerset Council said it wanted to stop their use because drivers have to pass a test to get their licence, and should know where they are going.

The council also said taxi inspections in the area had shown sat-navs placed on windscreens were obscuring vision.

Conservative councillors said the ban was unenforceable.

A final decision on the ban will be made in the new year.

'Seems nonsensical'

Deputy council leader David Dixon said they came up with the idea together with the local Taxi Drivers' Association to "improve standards".

"Taxi drivers should know their way around the area in which they're licensed," he said.

"I think that's completely to be expected and we always appreciate there's going to be an exception to that which is why, if they're going out of the area, we're quite happy for them to use GPS."

Mr Dixon added that the other issue was safety.

"The last set of taxi inspections we did with VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency), they found all the Sat-navs that were being used were actually situated in a place on the windscreen that made it unsafe," he said.

Anthony Clarke, the council's Conservative spokesman for transport, said: "If sat-navs are positioned so that they are blocking the view through the windscreen then this has to be dealt with, though of course many new cars come with a sat-nav already installed.

"However, there is a difference between ensuring safety and telling taxi companies how to operate their business.

"There is also clearly a question over how an outright ban would be enforced, as taxis would be allowed to switch their sat-navs back on if taking a passenger out of the area, to say Wiltshire, Bristol or Somerset.

"It seems nonsensical that taxis will apparently be allowed to have a sat-nav, but not use it."

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