UMA’s Parra: Show them your safety record

United Motorcoach Association President and CEO Victor Parra has advice for operators who may be fending off questions of bus safety, as news headlines report on recent bus accidents and legislation is pending in Congress:  Show them your safety records.

“If customers have reservations, operators should be more than happy to show them what they do in terms of training their drivers and educating them on safety regulations,” said Parra in a BUSRide interview conducted on Thursday. “Also, tell of the entire safety culture that exists within the company.”

Parra says safety is not a just a job function in the industry and not regulated to one person in a company.

“It has to be part of the culture that begins with the company leader at the top,” Parra adds. “If the public loses confidence in our ability to transport them safely, we lose our business. It’s just that simple.”

Parra and UMA support the BUSES bill recently introduced by Representative Bill Shuster (R-PA) and two other lawmakers that would increase safety and strengthen USDOT’s ability to set standards, call for minimum training requirements for drivers and for continuation of comprehensive testing on key issues instead of mandated change.

“We have always been supportive of anything that’s safety driven, providing there’s science to support it,” Parra said. “The Shuster bill is very much along the same lines that we have advocated: we want science to drive policy and not the reverse. It’s kind of a tough love bill, but I think it really does make sure that every safety enhancement has science behind it. And, for practical reasons, we can go to our customers and say these changes were made and there is research to support that you are now safer in this equipment than you were before.”