Coaches with worn tyres stopped during police swoop in Westcountry
A coach with two dangerously worn tyres was stopped by police on the A303 in the Westcountry and not allowed to continue until the vehicle was made safe.
The swoop was part of a month long stop and check of coaches travelling in Somerset as part of an extension of the national safety scheme Operation Tourist which makes sure coaches are roadworthy.
In Avon and Somerset, four main stop-checks were carried out on the M5 at Sedgemoor, the A303 near Yeovil and the M4 near Bath in partnership with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.
A number of random stop-checks were also carried out during the period at various locations, including additional locations on the A303 and M5.
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Officers and partner agencies checked nearly 70 coaches and minibuses and identified issues with 30 of these vehicles.
The majority of any offences identified were minor but officers also took four vehicles off the road and issued £980 worth of fixed penalty notices.
One coach, which was stopped at Cartgate services near Yeovil, had two tyres that were dangerously worn and these had to be replaced before the coach could resume its journey.
At one of the M4 stop-checks near Bath, a driver was found to be using a colleague's driver's card in order to extend his own driving hours.
He was issued with three £200 fines for failure to take weekly rests, failure to produce records and misuse of a tachograph.
He was also prohibited from driving for the next 45 hours and the matter has been reported to the Traffic Commissioner.
Fines were also issued to drivers for infringements which included failure to keep an accurate record of driving hours and driving for longer than the permitted 10 hour maximum in any one day.
Other issues identified included vehicles with tyres that were close to the legal limit or with minor mechanical defects. Information and advice was provided to drivers to help ensure they complied with regulations and safety standards in the future.
Commercial vehicle enforcement officer PC Chris Dooley, who coordinated the operation, said: “We regularly stop coaches as part of wider traffic stop-checks but this is the first time we have run a dedicated coach stop-check operation on such a large scale for several years.
“!It has been a successful operation and we may run it again next year. I am glad to say that most of the issues identified were minor but we also took a number of vehicles off the road that did not meet required standards or where drivers were in breach of the regulations around maximum driving hours.
“Coach companies are responsible not only for the safety of their drivers but also the safety of their passengers so the regulations are understandably strict and these operations are part of the work that we and our partners carry out to help ensure these standards are met and to help keep our roads safe for all road users.”