School buses in safety shock

CHRIS BISHOP Police found an unlicensed driver and a bus which was so dangerous it was ordered off the road immediately, when they swooped on school transport.

CHRIS BISHOP

Police found an unlicensed driver and a bus which was so dangerous it was ordered off the road immediately, when they swooped on school transport yesterday.

Twenty school buses, which had taken children to secondary schools in King's Lynn, were pulled over for spot checks.

Insp Julian Moulton, from Norfolk's western area road policing, said 12 were found to be committing offences - including an unlicensed driver - and one of the buses was ordered off the road because of a severe problem with the rear emergency door, while another was found with faulty brakes.

Several verbal warnings were also issued for minor offences such as faulty lights.

Both the unlicensed driver and his firm - which have not been named - face prosecution. The man was licensed to drive a car but did not have the PSV licence needed to drive a bus.

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Insp Moulton said: “One of the reasons we carried this out was because we had received information to say that some bus companies were not coming up to standard.

“We wanted to examine this and be proactive given this is a very sensitive area and if something was to happen involving a school bus, the impact on the community would be immense. So we needed to get a grip of this.

“I am absolutely amazed these offences have occurred with some quite reputable companies and you can expect that I will be taking further action.”

Traffic officers, the Automatic Number Plate Recognition unit, traffic wardens and inspectors from safety watchdog RoSPA were all involved in yesterday's operation.

Buses were pulled over after dropping children off at school and their drivers were asked to drive to the College of West Anglia, where safety experts were waiting to carry out checks.

“As a result of our findings I would like to appeal to bus companies to be proactive on their checks regarding licensing of drivers, the training of drivers and vehicle standards,” said Insp Moulton.

“I have been shocked by the number of problems we have discovered with school buses and as a result further checks will be undertaken. I'm asking the general public for their

co-operation and support in this as it may cause delays to services.

“However, I would underline the fact that a delay to service is only an inconvenience, whereas the impact on the community would be massive if there was an accident.”

Insp Moulton said anyone with information regarding a bus they thought was not up to standard could report it to him on 0845 456 4567.