A driver is challenging Bradford Council in court in the hope it may lead to a review of policy on the relicensing of private hire cars damaged in accidents.
Khurram Shehzad has also written to councillors with his concerns, saying he is frustrated by conversations he has had with the Council’s licensing department.
When a private hire car is involved in an accident or damaged it has to be reported to the Council, which issues private hire licenses, and inspected. If it is classed as a write-off it must be sent for inspection in Northampton before a license can be reissued.
But Mr Shehzad said several drivers have had issues with the policy over the last year relating to vehicles which are classed as Category D by insurance companies – when the car is repairable, but the work would cost more than the vehicle is worth.
He and others think in that situation, drivers should not have to take their vehicles to Northampton for a check.
He said the Northampton trip was expensive and unnecessary. “During the current economic climate we feel that such approach from the Council cannot be justified,” said Mr Shehzad, who runs Local Cars.
Geoff Binnington, Bradford Council's principal officer fleet and transport services, said: “The Council does not license vehicles which have been written off by insurance companies unless they have been fully repaired and certificated as safe following a stringent safety inspection by an independent specialist company. The Council will not under any circumstances license vehicles which may jeopardise the safety of the public.”
Mr Shehzad said passenger safety was extremely important to him. He has now lodged papers with Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court relating to the Council’s decision to request a Northampton inspection one of his drivers’ vehicles which was involved in a minor accident and classed as a Category D vehicle due to the cost of repairing damage to its door.
The car has been repaired and passed an MoT, but the Council has requested a Northamton inspection, saying that is the only way it can reissue licence plates for it.
Mr Binnington said the Council would look at the points raised.
A Council spokesman added: “Autolign Inspections are the only UK based company that specialises in the reclassification of vehicles written off by insurance companies and their inspections are carried out in accordance with a specification agreed with the Motor Insurance Repair Research.
“There are no insurance industry recognised local garages certified to carry out these inspections.”