Annapolis taxicab drivers would become the first in the nation to take mandatory drug tests, if the City Council approves a bill proposedby Alderman Wayne C. Turner, R-Ward 6.

The council's rules committee will conduct a public hearing on the bill tonight.


The bill would set a national precedent, said Jim Peck, associatedirector for research for the Maryland Municipal League, and Alfred Lagasse, executive vice president of the International Taxicab Association in Kensington.

"I certainly know of no other community that requires drug tests of cab drivers," Lagasse said.


Turner and Transportation Director James Chase proposed the legislation last year, after several people applying for city taxicab licenses were found to have drug records.

Under the proposal, cab drivers would be required to take annual drug tests. Those who failed the test would lose their license for three months to one year. Anyone failing the test three times would be prohibited from holding a city cab driver's license.

The bill also would deny licenses to people with eight points ontheir driver's licenses, and to people convicted of two felonies or three misdemeanors.

After public hearings on a version of the billlast year, Turner proposed changes to the entire code governing taxicab operations in the city, from safety inspections to the rates drivers charge their passengers.

Under the proposal, the basic fare would increase from $1.50 to $1.65. The charge for each additional milewould increase from $1 to $1.05, but customers would get an extra seven-tenths of a mile before the higher mileage charge kicked in.

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, rules committee chairman, encouraged people to attend tonight's hearing.

"If people drink, sniff, snort or do any sort of drugs and operate a taxicab in the city of Annapolis, we want to know about it," Snowden said.

Tonight's meeting will begin at 6 in the City Council Chambers in City Hall on Duke of Gloucester Street.