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March 02, 2010  |   Comments (2)   |   Post a comment

Safety and the economy

by Mike Murray

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In addition to training, technological advancements have helped us protect drivers and passengers and improve vehicle operation. Our First Student buses are equipped with an electronic and satellite-based tracking system that provides the location and speed of our fleet vehicles at any given time. In the event of an emergency, we can pinpoint the exact location of our school bus and immediately notify schools and parents. Electronic monitoring on pre-trip inspections alerts us to any maintenance issues or repairs, and allows drivers to inspect buses more efficiently by eliminating some of the paperwork.

Continuous improvement is crucial
Our goal is zero injuries and zero collisions. We track safety progress daily, weekly and monthly. It is important for each of us to know where we stand as a company and what needs to be done to improve.

Continuous improvement is crucial for our business. We use every situation as a learning tool to improve our processes and training procedures, as well as an opportunity for injury prevention. We foster an environment of active caring that provides opportunities for employees at all levels to share safety challenges and best practices in an open-door environment. By engaging all of our employees, we are able to see things from different perspectives and increase our ability to prevent injury.

I firmly believe that organizations that actively engage with their employees to create a world-class safety culture deliver a competitive edge to their customers.

Safety is the core of our business and something we take very seriously. Each student that steps foot on our bus is precious cargo, and we will do everything in our power to ensure his or her safety.

This isn't something on which a leader can put a value. It doesn't require a business case to put into practice. Safety is essential and the very foundation of our business, no matter what the state of the economy. 

Mike Murray has more than 22 years of experience in the transportation business, including nine with First-Group America. In his current role, Murray oversees the $4.8-billion transportation company and its nearly 100,000 employees across North America.

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Yes, and in many ways it's the wrong things that are cut. Here, in South Carolina, the Education Department has just purchased 85 used buses from KY. This is the second time in five years they are making such a purchase. The average age of these buses is seventeen years and the mileage is way up there. Now how many safety features have been added to buses in seventeen years. How many fuel improvements have been made? What can be the savings? I am so exasperated over the purchase deal! How can they do such a thing. Ten years old and a bus should come off the road under normal operations. Can't someone give this state some guide lines. There is a need for a whole lot of education in the transportation field here. Oh yes.

Vi Johnston    |    May 25, 2010 08:31 PM

I totally agree with Mr. Murray, unfortunately Transportation is one of the first things hit with cuts. The fact that there is no enforcement nor watchdog to oversee that the districts do stay in compliance is the biggest problem of all. When you have a school board who relies on the Superintendent only and do not bother to check out the facts he is giving them, there will be safety issues. The Transportation of the school district deserves to be ran with as much safety as the FMCA runs the commercial buslines. Our kids deserve better than they are being protected. There needs to be better regulations on physical requirements and safety procedures in the school districts and stiffer penalties on those who do not comply.

Lynette Russell    |    Mar 04, 2010 09:47 AM

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