Seth Haniel 12:44 08 Oct 2008

A Darlington taxi driver says he is prepared to go to jail rather than accept a 160-year-old law banning him from leaving his cab to spend a penny.

David Finnegan was threatened with disciplinary action by council staff after he used a public toilet while parked up at a town centre rank.

He was told he breached an 1847 law introduced for horse-drawn carriages.

Darlington Council said it had since reviewed the situation and decided to handle the matter informally.

Mr Finnegan, 62, who has been a cabbie for more than 20 years, said he was confronted by a council enforcement officer after he left his cab to walk 9ft to a public toilet in Darlington town centre.

He said: "This is ridiculous. It all has to do with horses and carts.

"According to this law I can never, ever leave my vehicle.

"I was even told I could be made to sit in my cab if it was left unattended outside my house at any time of day or night."

click here

  Quickbeam 12:47 08 Oct 2008

"Darlington Council said it had since reviewed the situation and decided to handle the matter informally."
That would be the application of common sense then...

  birdface 14:45 08 Oct 2008

It may be an old fashioned law but I would imagine that while he was away at the toilet other taxis would not be able to move up the queue and indeed maybe stop other taxi's from getting in the queue.Now if we need to go to the toilet we have to park up at the nearest car park.Why should he be any different.I have driven taxis for about 20 years and certainly would not stop in a taxi rank to use the loo.I must admit where I come from there used to be lots of toilets all over the town but as years have gone bye they have all disappeared.Sorry but I have no sympathy for him.

  john bunyan 14:47 08 Oct 2008

I may be wrong but was told by a friend who is a consultant surgeon that they and taxi drivers were allowed to relieve themselves against the back wheel of a taxi, in London, under old carriage laws. This may have been a wind up, as the guy is a " Dr in the House" sort of surgeon of the old school.

  peter99co 14:58 08 Oct 2008

You where allowed to urinate on the wheels of horse drawn cabs. I was told to wet the brake.

If out in the wilds we would do this near the rear wheels of the truck and quote this as a reason for doing so. To cool the brakes!

  spuds 15:41 08 Oct 2008

Pity he doesn't live in my home town. If any driver is reprimanded, all the hackney carriage drivers have a go slow, and block the town centre :O((

  Seth Haniel 16:08 08 Oct 2008

I thought that was normal taxi driving ;)

  Chegs ®™ 16:22 08 Oct 2008

There are several taxi bye-laws that cause amusement.

1)urinate against the offside rear wheel.Never fancied pulling my willy out in a crowded town centre though.

2)bale of hay for the horse must be carried at all times.I submitted one of my cars for a 6 monthly test,and was told it had failed for "unclean boot" so the car was taken away,the boot hoovered and resubmitted.The tester was having a bad day I presume as he still insisted the boot was dirty,when talking to other drivers & was told of this bye-law I acquired a bale of hay,put it in the boot and took it back for another retest.The tester did see the funny side and gave me my certificate.

  Condom 17:22 08 Oct 2008

When I was studying law 20 years ago, I believe that it was still on the statute books that all Hanson cabs (which includes current black cabs) are required to carry a bale of hay on the rear of their cabs. It was to prevent cabbies from starving their horses during the day. No doubt it is still there so our councils can have a "field" day collecting fines when the credit crunch really bites.

  Pineman100 17:47 08 Oct 2008

"Never fancied pulling my willy out in a crowded town centre "

You're that ashamed of it, eh? ;o)

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