The short answer to this is yes, taxi drivers can legally use their two way radio while driving, but you can still be pulled over and prosecuted if the police believe that using a radio has distracted you or impaired your driving.
Stricter mobile phone laws introduced in March 2017 have understandably raised this topic among taxi drivers, but users of CB or two way radios are exempt in most cases.
What are the exceptions?
- Some two way radios now enable you to send text messages, but you mustn’t use this feature when you’re driving. The exemption for radios applies to transmitting or receiving spoken messages only
- If your radio operates on certain frequencies
Using a mobile phone is still illegal
While taxi drivers can legally use a two way radio while driving, this doesn’t apply to mobile phones. If you’re one of the many private hire drivers still relying on their mobile phone to conduct business, the penalty is now much stiffer. A £200 fine will sting, but the mandatory 6 penalty points and a possible driving ban could cost you your licence and possibly your livelihood.
Tips for using your taxi radio safely while driving
- Minimise unnecessary interaction with your radio (e.g. fiddling with tuner or volume controls etc.)
- If it’s safe and practical, pull over to transmit from your radio whenever possible
- Never use the texting function on your radio (if it has one) while driving
Don’t forget that using a taxi radio mustn’t distract you from driving safely. Taxi drivers can still face fixed penalties and prosecution in the same way as mobile phone users for careless or dangerous driving.