ALMOST half the Blackburn with Darwen licenced taxis and private hire vehicles stopped for safety checks last year were taken off the road as dangerous.

Four out of ten inspected by police, vehicle road-worthiness experts and council officials were considered not fit to remain on the road carrying passengers, Blackburn with Darwen Environment chief Faryad Hussain reported to the borough’s council forum that four operations to inspect licensed taxi cabs and private hire vehicles were undertaken in 2012.

He said: “In total 92 vehicles were inspected.

“Thirty-eight vehicles (41 per cent) were taken off the road immediately because the defects found were dangerous. The most common faults found being problems with tyres, suspension and headlights.

“The faults found on tyres and headlights are part-icularly disappointing as these can be identified by the driver with the simplest of checks. Twenty-seven received notices requiring them to rectify problems within seven days. These faults were generally due to inadequate signage, displaying of plates and defective lights.

“The remainder of the vehicles, 27, were deemed safe and were compliant with their licence.”

Blackburn with Darwen council licenses 70 black cab taxis, able to pick up on the street, and 650 private hire vehicles, for pre-booking only, to operate in the borough.

Mohammed Younis, chairman of Blackburn Taxi Drivers Association, said: “The majority of those taken off the road were private hire vehicles. Just a couple of black cabs were affected. Our members face rigorous safety checks and check their own vehicles regularly. We welcome safety inspections.”