Home / SERU Glossary


Allergic (adj) – to describe someone who has a bad physical reaction to something e.g. I’m allergic to nuts and cat fur.

Anonymous (adj) – not giving name or any personal details e.g. an anonymous letter is a letter than does not have the sender’s name.

Approved child car seats (n) – these are chairs or seats especially designed for children depending on their age and height that, along with a seat belt, keeps them safe while travelling in a vehicle.

Assault (n) – a serious physical attack.

(n) – a test of knowledge, understanding, skills etc.

Assistance dog (n) – a dog that is specially trained to help a person with a disability e.g. a blind person may have an assistance dog.

Asthma (n) – a medical condition that causes difficulty breathing.

Authorised Officer
(n) – someone who works for TfL and makes sure that PHV drivers are acting within the law and to TfL regulations.

Badge (n) – something with information on it (name, address and photograph) that you wear to show who you are and what your job is.

Barred List (n) – a list of people who are not allowed to work with children or some adults. This list is kept so that children and vulnerable adults can be protected from people who are not suitable to work with them.

Braille (n) – a writing system used by people who are blind or vision-impaired. To read it you use your fingertips to feel the bumps (called raised dots).

Brothel (n) – a place where people go to buy sex.

Byelaw (n) – a regulation made by a local authority.

Caution (n) – a formal warning given by the police to persons aged 18 or over who admit to committing an offence.

Charge (v) – accuse of a crime e.g. The police charged him with dangerous driving.

Civil partnership (n) – a legal joining of two people with rights similar to a marriage.

Collision (n) – when a vehicle hits another vehicle, or object.

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages – a guide to describe the ability and achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe.

Comply (v) – to obey a request, rule or law.

Condition (n) – something that must happen or be agreed so that something else can happen. For example, you might need to have an extra medical check when TfL issue you your PHV driver’s licence.

Confidential (adj) – information that is meant to be kept secret or private.

Convict (v) – to decide that someone is guilty of a crime.

Conviction (n) – the decision of judge or court that someone is guilty of a crime e.g. He had a conviction for speeding.

Corrosion (n) – the natural process where metal changes as it reacts with oxygen and water in the environment. The main type of corrosion for cars is rust.

Council (n) – local government body.

(n) – something that you can use to hold a mobile phone or GPS device in place in your vehicle so that you can use it hands free.

Crime reference number (n) – a number given to you by the police when you report a crime.

Designated (adj) – to officially be given a particular role or job.

Disclosure and Barring Service
(DBS) – this is a public body that does checks on people’s backgrounds. They look for past criminal convictions etc.

Discriminate (v) / discrimination (n) – to treat someone unfairly because of their sex, race, religion, disability, etc.

Disqualified (adj) – to be prevented from doing something e.g. He got more than 12 points on his licence and was disqualified from driving.

Drop off (v) – to take something or someone somewhere e.g. The PHV driver reached the destination and dropped off the customer.

DVLA (n) – the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, an agency that is sponsored by the government’s Department for Transport. It holds records on drivers and vehicles, issues driving licences and taxes vehicles.

European Economic Area (EEA) (n) – this includes all countries in the European Union as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Emissions standards (n) – standards for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in the European Union and EEA member states.

Enforcement (n) – the process of making sure that rules are followed. Enforcement Officers work for local councils.

Enhanced (adj) – at an increased or higher level e.g. a higher level of DBS check that shows full details of criminal records, including cautions and warnings.

Excessive (adj) – too much, so that it becomes a problem e.g. excessive speed.

Exemption (n) / exemption notice –to get special permission to not have to do something e.g. He got an exemption so he didn’t have to wear his PHV driver’s badge.

Expiry date (v) – when something runs out and is not valid any more e.g. date when the PHV licence ends and has to be renewed.

Exploit (v) / exploitation (adj) – to use someone or something unfairly.

Fit and proper (phrase) – there is no fixed definition in law but it generally means to not have a criminal record, and to be honest in your dealings with authority.

Fluid (n) – a liquid such as oil or water.

Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) (n) – a punishment for a driving offence which usually involves a fine and penalty points. It is given by the police on the spot or by post.

Gender reassignment (n) – the process of changing sex, from male to female or female to male, often by using medical procedures such as surgery.

Give way (v) – to stop and allow other vehicles or pedestrians to go before you do.

Hate Crime (n) – when someone commits a crime against someone based on disability, sex, sexual identity, sexual orientation, race, or religion.

Highway Code (n) – a set of rules, regulations, advice and guidelines for all road users in the United Kingdom:

Inflammable (adj) – something that is easily set on fire and is therefore dangerous.

Information Commissioner’s CCTV Code of Practice – this describes the legal requirements for using surveillance cameras (CCTV) in order to protect the user and the people being watched.

Inspect (v) / inspection (n) – to test or check that something is working properly or that rules are being followed.

Insurance policy (n) – an arrangement with an insurance company where you pay a fixed amount of money (an insurance premium) and the company agree to pay you back if something gets lost or damaged e.g. in a collision.

Issue (v) – to give or say something in an official way e.g. a PHV driver’s licence is issued by TfL.

Junction (n) – a place where two or more roads meet.

Kerb (n) – a stone edging to a pavement or raised path.

Licence (n) – an official document that gives you permission to own, do, or use something, usually after you have paid money and/or taken a test.

Licensed (adj) – approved to do something by an official organisation. For example, approved by TfL to drive a PHV.

Licensee (n) – the person who receives the licence; the licence holder.

Licensing (n) – the process of giving licences.

Licensing authority
(n) – a local government body responsible for licensing.

Loading (n) – the act of putting things into a vehicle.

Lone worker device (n) – a device that allows for communication with employers, or in more serious situations, emergency services.

Manoeuvre (n) – a movement or action that needs skill and / or care to do. A three-point turn or reverse parking are examples of driving manoeuvres.

Mental Health Order (n) – the arrangements for treatment of a person with serious mental health problems.

MOT certificate (n) – a certificate that shows that a vehicle meets the minimum environmental and road safety standards.

Obstruction (n) – a thing that stops traffic or slows it down e.g. A bus has broken down and is causing an obstruction on the High Street.

Operator (n) – a company that does a particular type of business. For example, a company that gives driving work to a PHV driver.

Parking bay (n) – a space in a car park or on the side of the road big enough for one car.

Pedestrian clearway (n) – a section of road where you are not allowed to drive or must not block as pedestrians use the area.

Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) (n) – is a penalty, similar to a fine, for contravening road rules such as parking, loading, bus lanes and yellow box junctions.

Penalty points (n) – these are added to your driving licence for offences like speeding.

Phobia (n) – a very strong fear of something.

PHV Authorised Vehicle Area – this is the special place at airports where PHV drivers can wait to receive bookings from their operator.

Prosecute (v) – to start legal action against someone for a crime or other offence e.g. She was prosecuted for dangerous driving and had to go to court.

Pulling away (v) – to drive off and increase speed from zero miles per hour, for example from a parking bay or traffic lights.

Rank (n) – a special area where taxis (black cabs) wait for customers. At airports these are known as authorised standings.

Reassure (v) – to say and do things to try to stop someone worrying.
Registered keeper (n) – the person on the DVLA’s records as the owner of a vehicle.

Replacement licence (n) – a new licence, when information on the licence needs to change or the old licence has been lost.

Reprimand (n) – a formal telling off (v) – to show someone that you do not approve of something, often in an official way.

Restriction (n) – a law or rule that controls or limits what you can do e.g. parking restrictions that stop you parking in certain places.

Revoke (v) – to cancel something or take it away e.g. He was convicted of dangerous driving and his PHV licence was revoked.

Running (v) – when a piece of equipment or an engine is on and working e.g. The engine is still running – turn it off!

Rusting (n) – when metal changes colour and form because of the action of oxygen and water. Holes can begin to appear in the metal.

Safety, equality and regulatory understanding assessment (n) – a test of your knowledge of the information in this handbook. This test is required by TfL.

Secular (adj) – something that is not connected to religion e.g. secular law.

Self-employed (adj) – to work for yourself and be responsible for your own tax payments etc.

Sexual Offences Order (n) – the arrangements by which a person who has committed a sexual offence must live so that they are not a risk to the public or particular individuals.

Sexual orientation (n) – a person’s sexual identity in relation to who they are attracted to emotionally or sexually. They may feel they are heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

Signage (n) – collection of signs, notices and stickers given by TfL to PHV drivers to display in their vehicles.

Standard (n) – a level of quality that is acceptable e.g. PHV drivers must have a certain standard of medical health and fitness to get a licence.

Suspend (v) – to stop for a short time e.g. There were so many complaints against him that his PHV driver’s licence was suspended for three months. He could not work during this time.

Taxi (n) – a London black cab

Topographical skills assessment (n) – a test of your ability to use a map to plot a route. This test is required by TfL.

Trafficking (n) – dealing or trading in something illegal, for example, human trafficking is the use of force to make someone a slave or do things against their will.

Tread (n) – this is the part of the tyre that makes contact with the ground and helps the vehicle ‘stick’ to the road. The tread contains deep grooves and as these are worn down the tyres become less effective and may become dangerous.

Tyre wear bar indicators (n) – these are small pieces of rubber in the grooves of the tyre that help you to see if the type has worn down too far. The minimum legal tread depth on a tyre is 1.6mm across the tread.

Unconscious (adj) – to be in a condition as if you are sleeping, often the result of an injury to the head, or alcohol or drugs.

Vision-impaired (adj) – this is the decreased ability to see.

(adj) – at greater risk of physical or emotional harm e.g. children are vulnerable to harm from criminal gangs.

Wheelchair accessible vehicle (n) – a vehicle which can carry wheelchairs.

Witness (n) – a person who sees an event, often a crime, as it happens and can give information to the police.

Zig-zag lines (n) – a pattern of painted markings on the road surface either side of a pedestrian crossing that show that no parking, waiting or overtaking is allowed.

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