Taxi signs set for overhaul to cut fuel costs and pollution
Taxi plates could become smaller under plans by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to reduce air pollution and driving costs.
Current roof signs add as much as 50pc to fuel costs because of the drag exerted on the vehicle, and a smaller sign could help reduce emissions, it says.
And the authority has also launched a public consultation on whether internal security cameras should become mandatory in all vehicles to help prevent attacks.
The move follows an attack on an elderly taxi driver in his 70s in Athlone, Co Westmeath, last week, where he was stabbed a number of times during a late-night robbery.
The NTA has published two proposals, with submissions invited until September 25 next.
It says a new sign could be smaller, include more information and also be fitted with mobile communications to allow vehicles be tracked to improve driver and passenger safety. In other countries, including the UK and Sweden, smaller signs are common.
A study found that signs fitted across the roof added around 50pc to the power required to drive the car, which resulted in an increase in fuel usage while also having a "detrimental effect" on overall pollution.
Separately, the NTA is also seeking submissions on a range of safety measures which could be implemented, including in-vehicle security cameras, a vehicle location system and a partition separating the driver front seat from the remainder of the vehicle.
"What we want to do is get out there and find out if the drivers and public want to make these mandatory," a spokeswoman said, adding they were installed in the UK "as a matter of course". A decision is expected in 2016.