Passenger Liability Risks
2 December 2022
Customers in your hire vehicle are the lifeblood of your business, but they can also be one of your greatest hazards. Whether you drive a taxi, black cab or any other public or private hire vehicle, you must reconcile your job transporting passengers with the accompanying liability.
Constantly servicing and interacting with passengers exposes you to liability every single day. Add the possibility of road traffic accidents to your public liability exposure, and your job’s risks compound exponentially. Cap your growing liability exposure by identifying your risks and using strategies to combat them.
The most obvious risk for public and private hire drivers is road traffic accidents—you are on the road every day for work, striving to deliver your passengers as quickly as possible while surrounded by unpredictable drivers. While many drivers are aware of their risks on the road, which are typically covered by their required motor policy, most are unaware of their public liability risks off the road.
Public liability risks can be as damaging to your business as road traffic risks—maybe even more so since drivers tend to dismiss public liability in favour of focusing on the more obvious liability from road traffic. Many drivers also wrongly assume that their motor policy covers all their liability.
Constantly servicing passengers exposes you to public liability every single day.
The following is a small selection of public liability risks:
- Damaging customers’ property when carrying it. When transporting passengers with luggage or property of any kind, you may be asked to help carry something inside their home or to your vehicle. A small slip or trip could cause you to accidentally drop and damage customers’ property, for which you could be held liable.
- Causing passengers to fall down. Anytime passengers need help getting into and out of your vehicle—particularly those who are elderly or infirm—you could be held liable for any injury or damage that befalls them. For instance, if you help a disabled person out of the vehicle, you may inadvertently cause him or her to fall and injure him- or herself.
- Damaging property in customers’ homes. Going inside customers’ home to collect your fare or assist with luggage exposes you to the possibility of damaging their property.
- Injuring visitors on your business’ premises. If your business has premises where customers wait for their car to arrive, the business may be liable for any injuries or damage the visitors sustain. Some car hire businesses may offer visitors a drink or snack while they wait, which introduces even more risk.