Published: August 10, 2013
Unsafe and illegal coaches targeted by police in Burnham-On-Sea area

Illegal and unsafe coaches in the Burnham-On-Sea area have been targeted by police during a safety drive.

'Operation Tourist' is a national police operation designed to ensure coaches are legal and roadworthy for the safety of their passengers as well as other road users.

Four vehicles have been taken off the road during the stop-checks across Somerset, including at Sedgemoor Services on the M5 motorway near Burnham-On-Sea.

Nearly 70 coaches and minibuses were checked during July and the first week of August, with issues found on 30 vehicles.

The majority of the offences identified were minor but officers have taken four vehicles off the road and issued £980 worth of fixed penalty notices.

One coach had two tyres that were dangerously worn and these had to be replaced before the coach could resume its journey.

Fines have also been issued to drivers for infringements which included failure to keep accurate records of driving hours and driving for longer than the permitted 10 hour maximum in any one day.

Information and advice has been provided to drivers to help ensure they comply with regulations and safety standards in the future.

Commercial vehicle enforcement officer PC Chris Dooley, who coordinated the operation, told "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."

The checks have been carried out in partnership with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.

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