Safety standards for drivers

Safety duties and standards for drivers

Taxi and hire vehicle (including rideshare) drivers must take care of their own safety, and those around them.

While service providers have the primary responsibility for ensuring safe services, there are safety duties and standards that drivers must uphold as well.

Duty of drivers

Drivers must:

  • take care of their own health and safety
  • not act or fail to act in a way that could affect the health and safety of others
  • comply with the reasonable instructions of the taxi or booking service provider; and
  • cooperate with any reasonable health and safety policy or procedure of the service provider.

Failure to comply with a safety duty is a criminal offence.

Standards for drivers

There are specified standards for everyone involved in providing passenger services in NSW.

The law identifies which persons are responsible for ensuring these safety standards are met.

Drivers should be aware of the safety standards that apply to them. Drivers who are also taxi licence holders, owners of the vehicle which they drive or service providers themselves have additional obligations relating to providing passenger services.

Read:

The table below outlines some of the safety responsibilities that drivers must comply with under the law.

Safety Standard Description

Vehicle standards

Vehicles must be registered and be properly maintained by a mechanic licenced to carry out such repairs.  Drivers must not operate a vehicle they know, or ought reasonably to know, is non-compliant with the vehicle standards.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles

Drivers of wheelchair accessible hire vehicles / taxis must be competent in the safe loading, transporting and unloading of passengers in wheelchairs.

 

Read the Safety standards for booked vehicles or Safety standards for taxis for more information on the standards of wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Signs, lights and markings

Taxis must be identified as taxis through appropriate signs. For further information see Safety Standards for Taxis.

 

Hire vehicles, including rideshare, must display a retroreflective sign that makes it clear that the vehicle is being used to provide a passenger service . For further information see Safety standards for vehicles providing booked services.

Motorcycle drivers

The driver (rider) of a motorcycle being used to provide a passenger service must be competent in the operation of the motorcycle while carrying a passenger.

Driver eligibility

Anyone wanting to become a taxi or hire vehicle driver must hold an unrestricted Australian driver licence and pass medical and criminal background checks. It is the responsibility of the driver to communicate any changes to their licence, health or criminal history to their service provider.

Taxi and booking service providers have a responsibility to ensure drivers:

  • have held an unrestricted Australian driver licence (not a probationary licence) for at least 12 months in the preceding two years
  • meet medical standards for commercial vehicle drivers.

Taxi drivers must meet additional standards to those drivers who only provide booked services.

Safety Standard Description

Driver identification

Taxi drivers must display an identity document provided by their taxi service provider. The driver identification document must be clearly visible to all passengers in the taxi.

Fare calculation devices  

Taxi drivers must ensure the fare calculation device (meter) is visible and accurate.

English language standards  (Sydney)

Taxi drivers in Sydney Metropolitan Transport District must have sufficient competency in English to be able to communicate with passengers. The Regulation outlines which standards a driver must meet in Clause 27.

Drivers are ineligible to drive a taxi or hire vehicle if:

  • a previous driver authority (under the Passenger Transport Act 2014 ) was cancelled (other than on medical grounds), or their application for a driver authority was rejected, in the past 10 years on the grounds that they were not a fit and proper person
  • they have been found guilty of any disqualifying offences.

Passenger Transport Licence Code

Driver licensing and vehicle registration is managed by Transport for NSW which also manages the passenger transport licence code (PT Code). In addition to holding a driver licence, a driver of a passenger vehicle must meet medical standards for commercial vehicle drivers.

While it is not compulsory, drivers who wish to drive a taxi or hire vehicle may apply for a passenger transport licence code at a Service NSW centre. Some service providers may have policies that make it a requirement before you are able to drive for them.  This is because the passenger transport licence code enables the service provider to more easily undertake checks.  Drivers will need to complete the application for a PT Code, provide proof of identification and declare any medical conditions.

 To be eligible for a PT Code, a driver must:

  • Meet the medical standards for commercial vehicle drivers set out in Assessing Fitness to Drive, published by Austroads.  Note: If they declare that they have a medical condition they will be required to provide a medical report, or if the customer declares they have a vision disorder they will be required to provide an eyesight report from an optometrist or ophthalmologist
  • Hold an unrestricted NSW driver licence of a term not greater than five years (a person who holds a driver licence of a term greater than five years must be re-issued with a licence of five years or less). Note: If a driver has a 10 year licence, they must be issued with a replacement licence of five years or less. They will be eligible for a refund of the remaining licence fee.

For more information visit the Service NSW website.