The taxi driver who died was found to have cocaine in his system
Drug testing for taxi drivers in Birmingham has moved a step closer following a tragic road collision where six people were killed.
Inquests into the victims who died in the crash at Belgrave Middleway on December 17 heard that one of them, taxi driver Imtiaz Mohammed, aged 33, had cocaine in his system although it was not said to have caused the incident.
Senior Coroner Louise Hunt subsequently wrote to Birmingham City Council as well as Sandwell Borough Council – which had issued his hackney carriage licence – expressing concerns there was no drug testing policy in place at either authority.
In her letter she said: “The level of cocaine metabolite would have resulted in the deceased being over the legal drug drive limit. This did not contribute to this collision.
“However West Midlands Police raised concerns at the inquest that there was presently no system in place to monitor and check whether taxi drivers are over the drug limit whilst driving.
“They confirmed in evidence that some sort of testing was required for the safety of passengers.
“In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you have the power to take such action.”
This week Birmingham City Council’s licensing and public protection committee approved a proposal for officers to produce a draft drugs testing policy for drivers.
Questions were asked about how it might be implemented while Manawar Hussain, from T.O.A. Taxis stated it would have an impact on drivers.
But Emma Rohomon, acting head of licensing, said the details would not be known until the policy had been drawn up stating it would be brought back to the committee who could reject it if it was not feasible.
She added the council was under a legal obligation to respond to the coroner’s letter.
Imtiaz Mohammed was killed alongside his two passengers Lucy Davis, 43, and her partner Lee Jenkins, 42, when the taxi was hit by a speeding Audi travelling in the opposite direction.
Three of the four people in the Audi, driver Kasar Jehangir, 25, Mohammed Fahsha, 30, and Tauqeer Hussain, 26, were also killed while fourth man Zakkria Khan, 18, survived.
The coroner ruled the collision was caused by the excessive speed of the Audi which was estimated to be travelling between 94mph to 100mph on the 40mph route.