It is not uncommon for customers to order a taxi in Prague and have their ride driven by a foreigner with a fake driver’s license. While the passenger may be unaware, police have reported 136 cases of foreigners driving taxis with fake or altered documents in Prague alone since the beginning of this year.
This trend is not new, but the numbers are increasing. According to a spokesperson for the Prague police, “We are increasingly encountering cases where drivers from third countries providing personal transport are holders of counterfeit foreign driving licenses.” It is a problem that extends beyond Prague, with Brno also reportedly facing similar issues.
Police have confirmed that the easiest way to obtain fake documents is online. “Through contacts published on the Internet or through social networks,” said Richard Hrdina, a police spokesperson. The nationality of the drivers with fake documents is not commented on officially, but according to Právo, many of them are from post-Soviet states, including Ukraine. It is not uncommon for these drivers to repeatedly present fake documents.
Právo reported that police do not keep exact records of how many taxi drivers are suspected of committing crimes. Still, if a driver is found to have a fake document, they are detained and handed over to immigration police. “Criminal proceedings are then initiated for suspicion of committing a crime of counterfeiting and altering a public document,” said Hrdina.
While it is not a requirement for Ukrainian drivers to have a European driver’s license, they must carry one that corresponds to the driver’s license model established by the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (1968). However, even if the driver’s license is not by international agreements, a Ukrainian driver can obtain a Czech driver’s license after completing training and taking a professional competence test for driving motor vehicles.
The language barrier can be an issue for some drivers, but exams to obtain a driver’s license in the Czech Republic are conducted in the presence of an interpreter. While it may be easier for some to purchase fake documents, obtaining a legitimate Czech driver’s license is possible with the proper training and qualifications.
The issue of taxi drivers with fake documents is serious, and it puts passengers at risk. Authorities need to crack down on this problem, and for taxi companies to ensure that their drivers have proper documentation. Passengers should also be aware of the issue and exercise caution when using taxi services in Prague.