February 19, 2015

When most of us hail a cab, we seldom give much thought to a taxicab driver’s training or qualifications. The majority of us are satisfied when we see the cab driver’s hack license presented prominently in the front of the vehicle. That’s because as riding customers, we have grown to expect that Pennsylvania authorities have demanded a thorough vetting of taxicab drivers before issuing those licenses.

But what exactly does it take to get a taxicab driver license in Pennsylvania? In order to answer that, it’s first important to explain that Pennsylvania considers taxi drivers as for-hire, commercial vehicle drivers. As such, taxi drivers must undergo a strict protocol of background checks and training requirements that are designed to ensure public safety. The following are some of the more important aspects of those requirements:

— Each applicant for a taxi driver certificate must first have a valid driver’s license and an alternate photo ID.

— Each applicant must also obtain a criminal background report from the Pennsylvania State Police that is not older than 60 days prior to the application filing. Prior felonies are sufficient grounds for denial.

— Applicants must also obtain a training certificate issued by the Commission and pass a thorough driver’s examination. This training is extensive and includes elements of defensive driver training, emergency aid, map reading and giving assistance to elderly or disabled customers.

–The Commission can deny applicants for previous convictions and even guilty pleas regarding any violation of Pennsylvania’s vehicle codes. This also applies to vehicle code violations that have occurred in other jurisdictions and contain elements of willful disregard or indifference to the safety, health and welfare of the public.

Despite all of these requirements, taxicab accidents involving distracted, impaired and reckless driving still occur. If you have beeninjured in a taxicab, you should know that commercial vehicles often have complex and overlapping insurance policy coverage. That’s why it can be helpful to have the assistance of an experienced commercial vehicle accident attorney. Your attorney can provide guidance and assistance in navigating the numerous methods those insurance companies will use to defend against your claims.

Source: The Pennsylvania Code, “§ 30.72. Standards for obtaining a taxi driver’s certificate.” accessed Feb. 19, 2015