Training opportunity reduces future incidents
An additional benefit of the committee is that it serves as an effective training tool for drivers, says Steve Vales, supervisor of transportation at St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools in Reserve, Louisiana. Vales started a post-accident review committee at Tangipahoa Parish School System
in Amite, Louisiana, when he was transportation supervisor there.
The committee can provide all drivers, not just those involved in the accidents, with information on what preventive actions could have been taken in certain situations, such as being prepared for unusual weather, road conditions and traffic. This helps them understand how and why they will be held accountable in a preventable accident. As a result, most drivers respond by changing their behavior, Vales says.
“In reviewing the collisions [with them], you’re promoting preventability, especially if there is some type of reward and consequence,” he adds.
The committee started by Vales also recognized drivers who took preventive actions during group meetings by awarding them with certificates, to encourage the behavior.
“By eliminating unsafe or less safe behaviors, you’ll reduce your rate of accidents,” he says.
To provide meaningful remediation that keeps drivers from having another offense, Vales adds that drivers were rotated through the committee to give them a better understanding of their job expectations and the consequence of having an accident.
Like Vales, Edmund Treadaway, former transportation manager of Perth Amboy (N.J.) Public Schools, who worked on forming a post-accident committee, sees the value in using it to help drivers learn from their mistakes.
“We can train the driver [at fault] better and point out to the other drivers what not to do,” he explains.
Treadaway; Perth Amboy’s head of security, who’s a former state policeman; and the driver trainer ensured that the children were safe in the event of an accident and took care of the post-accident checklist tasks. To further their ability to effectively respond to accidents, the transportation team also recently conducted a full-scale accident drill
with fire and police department personnel, pupil transportation staff, the district’s security team, a camera crew, an EMS team and students. The drill was based on the scenario of a bus full of students being hit by a drunken driver.
“If we can prevent [accidents], and keep the kids safer, that’s a good thing,” he says.
Post-accident checklist tips:
Edd Hennerley, director of transportation at Queen Creek (Ariz.) Unified School District #95 (shown center), formed a post-accident response team that includes the fleet service manager, Chanie Passerby (shown left), transportation supervisor, Marcia Stones (shown right), an office staff member and two technicians.
1. A good resource for putting a response checklist together is the National Safety Council, which covers different types of accidents and what factors committees should review in determining preventability, says Steve Vales, supervisor of transportation at St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools in Reserve, Louisiana. http://www.nsc.org/news_resources/Resources/Pages/SafetyHealthFactSheets.aspx
2. Make sure your committee has these documents to review: a preliminary accident report from the driver, a copy of the police report, witness statements, an estimate for vehicle repairs and photos of the scene.
3. Edd Hennerley, director of transportation at Queen Creek (Ariz.) Unified School District #95, says that he keeps a digital camera always charged and at the ready for when he needs to go to the scene of an accident.