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School drivers facing prosecution

PUBLISHED: 22:58 14 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:02 03 March 2010

DRIVERS dropping off children with learning disabilities to school are today facing prosecution after their vehicles were found to be unsafe.

After spot checks carried out at Foxhall Stadium today, nine out of 15 vehicles checked were found to have mechanical faults.

DRIVERS dropping off children with learning disabilities to school are today facing prosecution after their vehicles were found to be unsafe.

After spot checks carried out at Foxhall Stadium today, nine out of 15 vehicles checked were found to have mechanical faults.

Three vehicles were actually served with prohibition notices so that they could not be driven away from Foxhall Stadium.

Two of the drivers who police stopped today claimed they had only had three hours sleep before starting their shift.

The shock news came only the day after Gary Hart was found guilty of death by dangerous driving at the Selby train disaster, after getting behind the wheel with no sleep for 36 hours.

The vehicles, which included mini buses and taxis were all taking children to Heathside Special School. The children had all been dropped off safely when the checks took place.

The police were joined by inspectors from the Department of Transport and Local Government who gave the vehicles a thorough inspection.

Sergeant Colin Teager, who was supervising the operation, said: "There will be prosecutions resulting from these checks and we will be dealing with the drivers in conjunction with transport officials.

"This is something we do all year round and it has paid off greatly. Years ago when this first started, the amount of faults we found was unbelievable and maintenance was well below what it should be. This has been improved."

As well as the three vehicles stopped from driving off, six others were served with delayed prohibitions which meant they must get mechanical faults fixed and be re-tested, but they were allowed to drive away.

Sgt Teager said that the spot checks were an important part of their work and could help save lives.

"The whole point of this is to make the journey safer for children. All vehicles are checked, including licensed taxis used for the school run. This is not voluntary, the vehicles must take part.

"As well as the serious faults found, there were also 20 offences of a minor nature and drivers were advised to get these immediately rectified.

"It is not unusual for us to find defective vehicles driving children around, so if we can stop the vehicle we may have stopped a potentially devastating accident," he said.

The checks are carried out in partnership with the education authority and they are something that go on all year round. This was the second spot check of the week.

If a vehicle is found to be defective the police have the power to stop it driving off and the driver and owner of the vehicle can be charged.


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