TAXI drivers say the CCTV systems they have been ‘forced’ to install in their cars are invalidating their insurance and running down the vehicles’ batteries.
Some cabbies even fear the wiring has made their cars unsafe.
Warrington Borough Council ordered every taxi driver in town to fit CCTV in their vehicle to protect drivers and passengers.
Three companies were selected by the council to do the work and each driver had to pay £450 for the equipment to be installed.
But one driver, who asked not to be named, said: “This is draining the batteries because the CCTV is still running after the engine has stopped. It’s a total nightmare.
“Some drivers are having insurance problems due to the fact the car has been modified, meaning they can only get third party insurance. And potentially we are now all driving cars with electrical problems.
“The council forced this on around 700 cars without due diligence.”
Cabbies also say the cameras can easily be blocked by lowering the sun visor and another taxi driver added: “Many drivers want CCTV however there have been failures in the implementation from the start.
“As a trade we are helpless to do anything. As a diligent driver with my passengers’ safety in mind I would disconnect the system and get it checked, however I would be suspended immediately if I was to do this. Our licence conditions say it must be working all the time.”
A council spokesman said the matter is currently under review but declined to comment further.
The Information Commissioners Office is also looking into claims the system breaches data protection.
A spokesman from the ICO said: “The Data Protection Act protects the public by setting out rules that personal data must be handled fairly and lawfully. We have ongoing discussions with Warrington Council about its use of CCTV in taxis.”
The council was one of the first in the country to introduce CCTV in taxis and the plans were launched in June 2016 following a public consultation.
It was hoped the system would prevent drivers from verbal abuse and assault as well as helping to provide evidence for any crimes that may take place inside taxis.