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Private Hire Vehicles (Carriage of Guide Dogs etc.) Act 2002

Commentary on Sections

Section 1: Carrying of guide dogs, hearing dogs and other assistance dogs.

6.Subsection (1) inserts a new section 37A into the 1995 Act as follows.

6.1

Subsections (1) and (3) of the new section 37A create two offences. The operator, or driver, of a PHV, will commit an offence if he refuses to accept a booking for or on behalf of a disabled person, or if he refuses to carry a disabled person, because that disabled person will be accompanied by a guide dog, hearing dog, or other assistance dog.

6.2

Subsection (2) of the new section 37A makes it an offence for an operator to make an additional charge for carrying such a dog when accompanying a disabled person.

6.3

Subsection (4) provides that a person guilty of an offence under any of subsections (1) to (3) may be fined. The amount of the fine must be no more than level 3 on the standard scale - currently £1,000.

6.4

Subsections (5), (6), (7) and (8) of the new section 37A provide for a PHV licensing authority to issue a certificate of exemption to a PHV driver from the requirements under subsection (3) on appropriate medical grounds, and set out to whom the certificate may be issued, how long it may last and how it should be exhibited on the vehicle.

7.Subsection (2) inserts a new paragraph 21A into Schedule 8 to the 1995 Act which modifies the Act in its application to Northern Ireland. The effect is to apply the new section 37A to Northern Ireland with the necessary modifications to the definitions of “licensing authority”, “driver”, “operator” and “private hire vehicle”, as required for consistency within Northern Ireland law.

Section 2: Carrying of guide dogs, hearing dogs and other assistance dogs: Scotland.

8.Section 2 inserts three new subsections into section 20 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982. New subsection (2AA) allows Scottish Ministers to make regulations in relation to the carriage of guide dogs, hearing dogs and other categories of assistance dog (all as defined by section 20(2A) of the 1982 Act) accompanying disabled people in private hire vehicles. This will allow the provisions provided elsewhere in the Act for England and Wales to be introduced in Scotland. Section 20(2AA) enables Scottish Ministers to include in the regulations such requirements for the carriage of guide dogs, hearing dogs and other categories of assistance dog as they consider necessary, the date and extent to which they apply and the circumstances in which the driver or vehicle may be exempt from the requirements.

9.New subsection (2AB) allows Scottish Ministers to include in any regulations offence provisions with a maximum penalty of level 3 on the standard scale (in line with the provisions for England and Wales) for failing to comply with the regulations.

10.New Subsection (2AC) provides that such regulations are subject to the negative resolution procedure of the Scottish Parliament.

Sections 3 and 4: Appeals, forgery and false statements

11.The Act provides for appeals against refusal to issue an exemption certificate, and creates offences relating to forgery and false statements. This is achieved by amending the 1995 Act.

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