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Braced for impact: traffic collisions and how to prevent them

The Trapeze Team | November 25, 2015

Tags: Commercial operator | Driver training |

Photo of Leslie Watson
Leslie Watson

At the recent Trapeze UK Conference, First Group South Yorkshire’s Incident Investigator Leslie Watson gave a fascinating presentation on prevention of road collisions – and why supporting drivers is a critical part of the solution.

While the importance of maintaining driver standards as a means of reducing collisions is widely understood, Leslie highlighted the fact that as well as having significant financial implications for transport providers, accidents and collisions can also have a very real personal impact on the drivers involved.   

While acknowledging the duty of care operators have towards drivers, Leslie also argued that a culture shift is required regarding the industry’s approach to incident investigation. Crucially, this involved removing temptation to pre-judge causes of collisions: “Pre-conceived ideas lead to wrong conclusions about the cause of any accident: You need to be independent and deal with facts, not assumptions.”

In order to support investigations, Leslie held up modern CCTV technology as a critical tool – especially so given increasing trends toward compensation claims in the event of incidents. “For me, CCTV should be maintained as well as the brakes or wheels, because in the long-term it can save us a lot of money,” he argued.

However, it was hard to argue with Leslie’s advice that using CCTV to provide hard evidence to protect bus drivers against illegitimate litigation claims from passengers should be one part of a wider bus drive to support drivers:

“Drivers represent our companies and make our money. If they drive safely, people will get on the bus,” Leslie said. “We want to support our drivers, and this means we sometimes need to ask questions of ourselves. Are we giving drivers a schedule they can’t stick to, which is making them rush or feel under unnecessary pressure?”

In seeking to support bus drivers, Leslie also noted the importance of driver training. Again, however, Leslie pointed out that the industry’s approach to training perhaps needed re-evaluating: “We have to stop drivers looking at training and seeing it as a form of punishment,” Leslie said.

“Training should be part of a professional driver’s career development; even if the driver has driven for twenty years without an accident, training for experienced drivers can be positive and constructive, helping to improve the way they drive their vehicles.”

We couldn’t agree more – which is why we developed NOVUS Driver Training to enable drivers to improve their performance by driving virtual routes from the comfort of their own homes.

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The Trapeze Team are here to bring you news and information from Trapeze Group (UK) and the public transportation industry.

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