Road Safety News
 

BUSK campaigns on behalf of coach drivers

Thursday 16th April 2015

BUSK, which campaigns for safer school transport, has launched a campaign to draw attention to the issue of fatigue among coach drivers taking children on school trips abroad.

BUSK has launched its Nightcap campaign on the back of a European Commission report which linked driver fatigue in up to 30% of coach crashes, most of which happen on motorways and during overnight driving.

BUSK says that in “many cases” tour companies are forcing drivers to share rooms with other drivers – sometimes with someone they have never met before. BUSK says it is it not acceptable to “force coach drivers to share a room when it could be argued that they are the most important person on the coach”, and asks: “How can they meet their responsibility if they have not slept adequately?”

BUSK says drivers must be given “appropriate single room accommodation in a quiet area of the hotel so they can be properly rested each time they drive children and teachers during the week away”.

BUSK also says that on the last day of a school trip abroad, many drivers say they are checked out of the hotel in the morning and “left to hang around waiting for the party to return, with no facility to rest or sleep during the day ahead of a long haul 21-hour drive shared by two drivers”.

BUSK says it is inviting tour companies to work alongside its Nightcap campaign, and is encouraging parents to ask their child's school if drivers will be provided with a single room in a quiet area of the hotel.

BUSK has written to the UK government, and says it has received confirmation from ministers that tour companies used by schools have a legal duty of care to ensure passenger and driver safety and are duty bound to make sure that the accommodation they book for coach drivers will allow them to rest and sleep properly.

 

 

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I find this and some of the posts make for shocking reading, though the content does not surprise me. This is the 21st century where the safety of our children is supposed to be our number one consideration.

The coach driver is a vital and integral component in ensuring the safety and well being of everyone on a journey. We have regulations concerning their driving hours and they are actively encouraged to undertake continuing professional development activities. We have now arrived at a point in time where the transport industry and successive governments are calling for the professional standards of drivers to be raised; drivers are being asked to do more to demonstrate their professionalism but hey, at the end of a long and arduous day, let's ask them to kip in a shed or a tent!

This really beggars belief. I'm not going to use emotive language like 'the powers that be should bow their collective heads in shame', however, here's a bit of pragmatic thought - I'm sure that some of said powers that be have an inkling of what's going on, but in pursuance of their perception of the dogged doctrine of cost effectiveness some may choose to turn a blind eye. Some may point to unintended consequences, but I guess, naivety and 'lets just sweep it under the mat and hope no one notices' are never easily cured.

A quality guru once said to me: 'Quality is never cheap but it's always cost effective in the long run'.
Mark - Wiltshire

Agree (15) | Disagree (0)
+15

As a coach driver & a mother I have been following the Nightcap campaign & wholeheartedly support what they aim to achieve. I have experienced the long overnight drives to arrive in resort to find you are sleeping in a tent or what can best be described as a garden shed. Usually in the middle of the children's or staff accommodation where you are unable to get sufficient rest or sleep. This makes the journey home intolerable, as a driver you are insufficiently rested & overtired, quite possibly not as quick to react should a situation occur. As a mother of school age children yours will most likely want to go on some of these trips, I have to admit I would have serious reservations about allowing them to go. I really believe that it is time the local authorities implement a risk assessment to be carried out by teachers regarding the suitability of driver accommodation. We all have a duty of care to the children we take on holiday & if teachers were better informed our precious children would hopefully never be involved in a tragedy on coach travel.
Trish, Dorset

Agree (15) | Disagree (0)
+15

As a coach driver I fully support what BUSK are trying to achieve. I have been given substandard rooms, tiny box rooms in a damp basement, a converted space on a stair landing and also a dirty tent to try and get rest in. All the time having constant noise till the early hours of the morning so not allowing me to get the sleep I need to drive safely. I do not drive these type of trips any more because of the safety implications. All drivers deserve a decent quality room to allow them proper rest! It has been going on too long, we are not 'just the driver'.
S.Gaiger Southampton

Agree (14) | Disagree (0)
+14

I've just finished my last ski trip of the season but it was assumed I'd share with a driver I'd only met a day before the tour. On arrival I asked for another room which they were only to happy to provide. Made so much difference for the drive home.
Nmcmnw

Agree (14) | Disagree (0)
+14

As a former driver, I've had numerous arguments with the managements of various companies on this very issue. It is totally unprofessional but then again, profits always seem to come before health and safety, no matter what the industry.
Just A Driver Midlands

Agree (13) | Disagree (0)
+13

As a coach driver I wholeheartedly agree with what Busk are trying to do. I have for many years toured summer and winter across Europe and have on numerous occasions had severely disturbed sleep due to sharing a room or being next to children who are making a lot of noise whilst me and my co driver are trying to sleep (why shouldn't they, they are on a holiday). I have since left this industry due to the total disregard for drivers. I have complained but we as drivers get told "stop complaining you're on a free holiday and you're just a driver". Please help support Busk in this campaign, remember we carry the world's most precious cargo, your children.
Mr driver Lake District

Agree (20) | Disagree (0)
+20

Please can I ask all RSOs to pass the details of the Nightcap campaign to the relevant person at your own authority. This is normally the Educational Schools Co-Ordinating Officer? Thank you.
Pat Harris BUSK UK

Agree (20) | Disagree (0)
+20