Coach crash firm could lose licence

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The Independent Online
The owners of the coach that crashed on the M2, killing nine American tourists, could lose their operator's licence if found guilty of three charges to be heard by magistrates on 1 June, writes Steve Boggan.

Kent police officers served three summonses on representatives of the Travellers Coach Company on Wednesday, minutes after an inquest jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing on those who died.

Two of the summonses, covering alleged offences under the 1988 Road Traffic Act, relate to the disconnection of a compulsory speed limiter, designed to cut fuel to the engine at 70mph. The third relates to defects on the anti-lock brake system (ABS) of the crashed coach.

If found guilty, the company could be fined up to pounds 4,000 for each alleged speed limiter offence, and pounds 5,000 for the alleged ABS defects.

The company would also have to appear before the Traffic Commissioner for the South-east of England. He has the power to withdraw an operator's licence.

The inquest at Dover heard the coach was travelling at 78mph when it hit a Transit van last November. Witnesses said its brakes appeared to lock, making it skid and plunge down an embankment.