TAXI drivers in Taunton may have to take a special driving test before being granted a licence.

Taunton Deane Borough Council's licensing committee will meet next Wednesday (November 21) to discuss potential changes to hackney carriage and private hire vehicle licences.

A recommendation has been put forward for drivers applying for new licences to take a practical driving test.

Mark Banczyk-Gee, licensing officer for TDBC, said: "The recommendation is for members to approve a proposal to introduce a practical driving test, which follows the format of the former Driving Standards Agency test, to be taken by all new applicants.

"The test would also be taken by drivers should they accumulate six or more penalty points on their DVLA driving licence within the three year licence period or where the licensing manager deems it necessary, following an evidence complaint about the driving ability of the licence holder, be that from the police, other agency, or other third party."

Currently, licences are given out following the submission of an application form, a medical report, driver history check and a DBS check. If the documents are submitted correctly, a driver then goes through a knowledge and suitability test - if they answer these fully, they are given a licence.

But drivers aren't tested on their geographical knowledge of the area - something a practical driving test would cover.

The test costs around £60 to be carried out.

The licencing officer says adding the test will promote greater safety for passengers.

He added: Adopting the proposal can only serve to further promote community safety, by ensuring that licences are only granted to those who can evidence a professional standard of driving.

"Where driving ability falls below expected standards, the proposal includes a mechanism to allow the licensing authority to respond in a consistent and positive manner, without necessarily need to resort to suspension or revocation of an individual’s licence."