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It has long been a tradition in this country for brides to choose a beautiful classic or vintage car to transport her and father from home to the venue of the wedding ceremony. This may not be possible in the future if the Law Commission has its way. The laws regarding private hire and taxis have needed reforming for a very long time and it is right that the commission looks at it. Under all previous relevant laws two classes of car have always been exempt from licencing, wedding and funeral cars. The commission has brought proposals for the much needed reform but buried in the multitude of clauses is “Weddings and funeral cars would no longer be exempted under primary legislation”. So what?
Having been hiring wedding cars for twenty-one years I would estimate that well over fifty percent of wedding cars are supplied by small companies or individuals with just a few cars to whom the cost of licencing would be prohibitive. Each individual car would need to pass a local authority test (see below for current costs). The vehicle owners/companies who operate the business would need a private hire operator’s licence and all drivers would also have to be individually licenced. The really difficult part would relate to the drivers who would normally be driving for weddings on just a small number of weekends in a year. They would also have to be licenced which involves having to take the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) private hire/taxi driving tests, have a CRB report (Criminal Records Bureau), as well as a group 2 medical examination and probably take the “knowledge” test.
One other nasty is that under present law cars licenced for private hire use can only ever be driven by fully licenced private hire drivers which means your wife or friend cannot drive the wedding car to a car show, the shops, in fact never on the public road even for a road test following work on the car unless they hold a full private hire licence. Fortunately there is a proposal in the Law Commission’s proposals to drop this awful condition, having said that it does not have to be dropped in the final new law so may well still exist when ultimately passed by parliament.
You can read the full proposals online at: http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/consultations/1804.htm
If you don’t object to wedding cars becoming private hire cars you may well find in a few years time there are virtually no classic or vintage cars to choose from and any left will be very expensive indeed. Just think what would happen if you did find a car and the driver goes sick the day before the wedding and a replacement fully licenced driver could not be found? Then your car would have to be cancelled at the last minute leaving absolutely no time for you to find a replacement from one of the few remaining companies prepared to hire wedding cars.
Costings for licensing cars and drivers (Based on present charges from Waverley Borough Council)
|Annual testing||£261 (per car)|
|CRB report||£ 44|
|Private hire licence||£100|
|DSA test||£ 96|
|CRB report||£ 44|
|Medical||£ 90 (Fees are set by the medical centre used and will vary)|
The total annual cost for an owner to hold an operator’s licence, driver’s licence and have one licenced vehicle would be £664. Each additional car would cost £261 and if the owner were to pay for the licencing of drivers the cost would be around £330 each driver. No occasional driver is going pay £330 out of his own pocket just to drive wedding cars on ten or twelve weddings a year. These occasional drivers are essential to drive wedding cars. Those driving vintage wedding cars are usually around retirment age but because of their age have the proper skills to drive these wonderful old cars. Young drivers of today have never heard of ‘double de clutching’ let alone know how to do it.
If you want to save one of this country’s wonderful traditions then please object to the Law Commission proposals and get your MP on side as well. Don’t let faceless bureaucrats take away part of the greatest day in your life.
Email the law commission at email@example.com and refer to “Taxi and Private Hire Consultation” with your objections to the “Weddings and funeral cars would no longer be exempted under primary legislation” clause, also that you agree with the dropping of the present ‘licenced drivers only’ condition.
To find your MP and contact details go to: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/ then click “Find your MP”27/05/2012 - 21:40