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Fitness of vehicle, Fitness of Driver

Parents put their children in the hands of transport companies believing they are safe. These stealth like operations are designed to make sure that this is the case, and whilst some companies do all that they can to comply with the regulations others have been found to be not so attentive. Any significant defects which are observed, result in penalties being imposed and where necessary direct action will also be taken by the school transport team.

Operation Coachman, is an initiative involving police forces from all over the country and Europe (TISPOL ) with the assistance of the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), it’s aim is to carry out safety checks on drivers and vehicles in order to keep our roads and pupils as safe as possible.

West Berkshire Council teams (Traffic & Road Safety, School Transport, Benefits and Taxi enforcement) supported Operation Coachman 2014 – The safety checks were carried out at Brookfields Special School, Tilehurst on Wednesday 5th March where twenty – eight vehicles, all drivers and passenger escorts were checked after children had alighted.

Below is a short summary of our findings (collated by PC Julian Weal – Berkshire Enforcement Officer TVP):

Reading Borough Council Taxi Licensing /Enforcement

9 Reading taxi vehicles checked and found 3 unlicensed school escorts.

VOSA Prohibitions

2 Immediate and 4 delayed

IMMEDIATE – 2 Bulges on front offside tyre / Endorsable fixed penalty notice issued by VOSA

IMMEDIATE – insufficient tread on both front tyres / vehicle cabled / Traffic offence report issued by Police.

DELAYED – Oil leak

DELAYED – Driveshaft boot was adrift

DELAYED – Steering joint too much play on ball joint

DELAYED – Defective tyre on rear axle


1 Non-endorsable fixed penalty notice issued by Police – No MOT

1 Endorsable fixed penalty notice issued by VOSA – Defective tyre

2 Traffic Offence Reports issued by Police – Defective tyres

Rob Langton – Operatios Manager, Roads Policing – (Thames Valley Police) reported – Over 100 vehicles were checked during the five operations in the Thames Valley area and although there were a few immediate prohibitions and a couple of vehicles found to be without a valid MOT, the majority were in order, which is a positive sign when we are dealing with school transport.