Taxi driver wrote off cab driving drunk

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Maya Artho was an employee of Phoenix Cabs when she damaged a taxi beyond repair while driving in an intoxicated state. Photo / Thinkstock
Maya Artho was an employee of Phoenix Cabs when she damaged a taxi beyond repair while driving in an intoxicated state. Photo / Thinkstock

A taxi driver has been ordered to pay her employer over $11,000 after crashing a company cab while driving drunk.

Seeking to recover all costs and the replacement value of the taxi cab, Phoenix Cabs took its case to the Employment Relations Authority in Auckland.

Maya Artho was an employee of Phoenix when she damaged the vehicle beyond repair while driving in an intoxicated state.

In its decision this week, the ERA found Artho "did not exercise reasonable skill and care and breached her employment agreement by driving the employer's vehicle while intoxicated.

"As a result of that breach the vehicle was written off. The employer is entitled to damages for that breach."

Artho claimed she was using the car for business purposes and had taken the car to recharge the battery for the following day's work.

She said she had needed to jump start the cab the previous day.

"I note the police report says that Ms Artho gave no explanation for her actions after the accident," the ERA said.

Artho was ordered to pay the company $10,000 for the vehicle's replacement cost and $1,225.13 for towing and storage costs. She was also told to pay Phoenix the $71.56 filing fee.

Artho had declined to attend mediation and was "uncooperative during the hearing", the ERA said.

Although Phoenix provided a sample copy of an individual employment agreement, it did not supply a copy signed by Artho.

Artho said she had not signed an employment agreement and claimed that she had not been an employee of Phoenix.

"Although Ms Artho had not signed an employment agreement she was nonetheless an employee and bound to carry out her duties in a proper and responsible manner," the ERA said.

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