New Year revellers are being urged to take precautions to ensure a safe journey home.
South Tyneside Council licences 236 taxis and 315 private hire cars to protect passengers by ensuring drivers are “fit and proper” and that the vehicles are safe.
People who are out and about for New Year are being advised to take measures like pre-booking a taxi home from a licensed operator or use one of the designated ranks across the borough.
Coun Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “We want everyone to have a great time on their night out and we want them to remember their evening for all the right reasons.
“It’s that time of year when people are more likely to let their guard down or their judgement may be impaired having consumed alcohol, so we are keen to highlight a few simple but effective messages about personal safety.”
She added: “Firstly, we would always encourage people to drink responsibly and be vigilant. We would also urge people to plan their journey home in advance with a licensed company that they know and trust. Alternatively, use one of the designated taxi ranks.”
Before a night out, people are advised to:-
•Plan your journey home before they go out.
•Pre-book a ride home with one of the taxis or private hire cars operating in the borough, if possible.
•Tell a family member where you are going and what time you should be back.
•Go home with a friend or a group of friends, if possible.
•Use a designated taxi rank or have the telephone number of one of the licensed companies programmed into your mobile phone.
•Before getting into any vehicle, check that it has a licence plate and a permit displayed in the front windscreen.
•Ask the driver to show his/her badge if it’s not clearly visible.
•Do not accept lifts from strangers under any circumstances.
Passengers are also urged to try to remember some details about the vehicle, the driver’s licence number or part of the vehicle’s registration number.
Coun Smith added: “Any of these details will help the council to trace the vehicle or driver if someone has a problem or leaves property. “Unfortunately we find that the vast majority of people that call the council’s licensing team to report lost property cannot remember any details relating to the vehicle or driver.
“It can be almost impossible to track down.”
To report any taxi-related concerns, or get advice, call the Council’s Licensing Team on (0191) 424 7695.