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Taxi’s banned from using colorful, large roof lights

As of today, vehicles for hire will be restricted to one white or yellow roof light, when in service in Oxford.

On Tuesday, the Oxford Board of Aldermen decided to waive the usually-required 30 days for an ordinance change to go into effect for safety reasons, claiming some local cab companies are using dangerous roof lights.

According to the ordinance amendment, any vehicle for hire may have only one roof light mounted to its roof. The light may be turned on and off to indicate whether the vehicle is in service; however, it may not display a changeable message, flash or scroll. The signs will be restricted to being yellow or white with yellow, white or black lettering.

The lights cannot be more than 6 inches tall, 20 inches wide and six inches deep.

No other signs are permitted on the roof, hood or trunk.

When an ordinance is changed, or a new one is adopted, generally the new law goes into effect 30 days after the aldermen vote to approve it. However, in some cases, such as public safety, the board can waive the 30 days and allow the law to go into effect immediately.

Alderman Janice Antonow said Tuesday that the gaudy roof signs have become a public safety issue.

“We’re been seeing taxis with red and blue flashing lights, or very large signs with moving messages,” Antonow said. “These lights are 100 times more distracting than texting and driving.”

It was the second reading and public hearing on the matter Tuesday; however, no one spoke for or against the proposed ordinance change. The aldermen also decided to forgo a third reading and vote after the second hearing. Waiting to vote after the third reading on new or changed ordinances is a city policy and not a city requirement; however, there must be at least two readings and a public hearing.