5Star Speciality Products 2010 Safe Driver Hall of Fame

The call is out to nominate drivers for the BUSRide 2010 Safe Driver Hall of Fame.  Presenting sponsor 5Star Specialty Products, Melbourne, FL, says safe driving over the course of a career that may span three million miles requires the highest standards in every facet of the job, from driver behavior and passenger awareness to exacting vehicle maintenance.

The BUSRide Safe Driver Hall of Fame honors active bus drivers who have consistently demonstrated outstanding service and care for their passengers over long distances and a sustained period of time without a reportable accident.

The National Safety Council says fewer than 200 drivers achieve three million miles of accident-free driving. Three million miles roughly adds up to 36 years behind the wheel —six runs to the moon and back.

“The bus and coach drivers nominated and chosen for the BUSRide Safe Driving Hall of Fame raise the bar for other drivers and demonstrate that it is possible to maintain this exemplary feat,” says 5Star Specialty Programs senior vice president, Bob Alkire. “They also provide value and security to their employers and passengers.”

Alkire says drivers for any transportation company, especially those carrying passengers, are the most valuable asset.

“Driver safety must not become just a catch phrase,” he says. “The importance of attracting, hiring, training and retraining drivers to stay safe behind the wheel substantially impacts a company’s bottom line.”

He adds a driver’s behavior and actions directly affect the tangible and intangible costs of accidents. 5Star Specialty Products says reducing accidents is an obvious way to lower costs and insurance premiums, and drivers with a sense of professionalism make a difference.

Their high performance standards, driving skills, personal appearance and conduct, personal hygiene and physical health, as well as care for the physical appearance of the vehicle contribute directly to the reputation and performance of their companies.

Insurance factors and loss control
Insurers give operators rate breaks for many factors, such as drivers’ clean driving records and acceptable bills of health.

“Constructing the loss control program can be compared to building a house,” says Charlie Johnson, vice president, 5Star Risk Management Services. Melbourne, FL. “Without a solid foundation, the program will eventually weaken and collapse.”

He says a firm foundation includes a commitment between management and the individual driver.

“Drivers are the key,” says Johnson. “Companies must set appropriate selection standards to ensure they hire and place only the most qualified individuals.”

He says while most bus companies have some type of formalized driver training programs for new drivers, far fewer have refresher courses for all drivers and post-accident retraining programs for experienced drivers who have been involved in a reportable claim. Driver’s actions can be cause for claims that lead to higher premiums, which obviously makes training and retraining a high priority in managing insurance costs.

Bus and motorcoach companies are doing more to improve working conditions and retain their top drivers. They are choosing equipment with more comfortable ergonomically designed seats and controls that are easier to reach and operate, and incorporating more onboard technology to help dispatchers manage their bus fleets and help drivers navigate.

Everything to make the drivers life easier and safer is worth the effort and cost.

Nominations are now open
BUSRide and 5Star Specialty Products invite all bus and coach companies to nominate their safest candidates for inclusion in the Safe Drive Hall of Fame in November 2010.

In a brief summary, highlight the nominee’s driving career to date, including years of service and previous awards and recognition. This information must be verifiable through accountable mileage and driving safety records.

Send nominations with contact information to BUSRide editor David Hubbard at david@busride.com.