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.