Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Two school coaches taken off road

Police checking a coach
More surprise checks will be made over the next fortnight

The first day of Operation Coachman, a campaign to ensure the safety of coaches taking pupils to schools, ended with two being ordered off the roads.

Immediate prohibition orders were issued on two of the 16 coaches checked at Richmond School.

One had a faulty windscreen wiper and no rear door alarm and the other had no indicators working.

The coaches cannot now be used to transport passengers until repairs have been carried out by the operators.

'Worthwhile exercise'

A delayed prohibition order was issued on another coach giving the operator 10 days to make bodywork repairs and another six drivers were warned their vehicles did not carry the appropriate signs indicating they were carrying schoolchildren.

The joint campaign by officers from North Yorkshire Police and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency will see unannounced spot checks carried out on coaches arriving at schools across North Yorkshire over the next fortnight.

Mechanical checks carried out included brakes, lights, steering, seatbelts and bodywork whilst driver documents were also checked.

Traffic Constable Martin Usher said: "This has been a very worthwhile exercise and we will be carrying out several more at schools across the county over the next two weeks.

"We do liaise with schools and checks are carried out after the children have been dropped off to ensure there is no disruption to classes but we do not give prior warning to the coach companies."

As well as ordering repairs, prohibition orders are taken into account when traffic commissioners consider whether an operator's licence is renewed.

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