THE KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance is in talks with government to enforce the rules allowing only experienced and legal taxi drivers to take to the road.

The plan is part of ongoing efforts to create a "safer taxi industry" in the region.

It is aimed at curbing the high road deaths and daily accidents on provincial roads.

KwaZulu-Natal Transport Alliance chairperson Gerald Ferror said the regulations are similar to that enforced by the bus industry.

"We want operators to only employ drivers who are over 25 years old and who have had their Public Driving Permits for two years.

"We are in discussions with the provincial government on the matter."

He said the alliance wanted to also moot for further talks to be held with national transport minister Sbu Ndebele and the SA National Taxi Council.

"One of the ideas is to create a credible data base of all registered taxi drivers so that their experience and legality can be verified," Ferror said.

He said the meeting must also make sure that the industry was "legalised and that illegal taxi operators were weeded out".

He said as the province and country prepares for 2010, a safe and reliable public transport industry, especially the taxi industry was crucial.

"We know that everyday accidents on the province's roads involve minibus taxis and on a regular basis the accidents are fatal and we want to make sure that our industry's name is not tarnished, more especially as we head into 2010.

"Our international visitors will not be as forgiving about the road accidents as the locals are," he added.

Ferror said talks were also under way with a major motor manufacturer to create a safety academy for taxi drivers.

The academy would teach taxi drivers defensive driving skills.

"The idea is to put drivers through a rigorous driver safety course.

"This means that when there is a tyre burst and the vehicle is running on three wheels and with a full load of passengers, the driver will know not to hit on the brakes but to bring the vehicle safely to a stop," Ferror said.