A Coach Operator
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
TWO years ago, the accident record of the 50 drir'iers of Don Everall, Ltd., Wolverhampton, corresponded to the average for the district. This did not satisfy Mr. Don Everall, who was a member of the local accidentprevention propaganda committee and viewed the rising accident rate in the country with alarm. He therefore decided to _take practical steps to improve the record of his own employees.
The concern operates about 70 coaches and buses on, excursions and tours and contract work, and with many vehicles continually operating a long way from their base, the imposition of stricter driving rules by direct supervision was impossible.
Driver Responsibility Encouraging the drivers to take a pride in their vehicles had long been a principle of the management. Each driver is, put in charge of a vehicle and he remains solely responsible for its appearance and interior cleanliness. It was considered that any measure which helped to avoid accidents would be acceptable to thek men, given that the purpose of the enforcement was fully . explained. An accident-. deterrent -scheme has now been in force for some time and the results have been highly satisfactory, including a 50-per-cent. reduction in repairs, such as the removal of dents and minor bruises.
Although the penalties for a blameworthy accident are severe, the drivers know that the scheme redounds to their benefit as a body of skilled men, as much as it does to the reputation of their employer and the safety of road users.
When a driver applies for a post, he completes a personal-reference form and a questionnaire, on which he must give details of convictions and accidents during the past five years, in addition to the names of former employers and relevant personal information.
The forms are completed in duplicate and copies are sent to the offices of Proctor Partners, Ltd., a concern of incorporated insurance brokers, where a record of any accident is entered in a drivers' record book. Confirmation of the driver's statements is obtained from previous employers and, if the applicant is considered to be of the required calibre, he is interviewed by one of the directors, who describes the high standard of driving and conduct required of him.
Drivers carry with them a " Preliminary Accident Report" card, pre-addressed to the brokers, which must be filled in on the spot as fully as possible and posted immediately. The information required, includes the identity of independent witnesses and of the third party or parties involved in the accident, the registration numbers of the vehicles, details of injuries, the name or number of any member of the police force who took details, and all the particulars of the accident, such as the time and place, width of road, speed of vehicle and so on.
Later the driver is given a Lloyd's claim form to_ complete, which requires a full description of the way the accident happened and a sketch.
An account of the circumstances arid details of the accident is given at -an interview with Mr. R. Bowdler, transport manager, and the driver is immediately sent to the brokers for a separate inquiry. A full confidential report is prepared by the brokers and, in the case•of a serious accident, an independent investigator is briefed to make a third report. A ioint review of all the circumstances follows and the blame, if any, is assessed. A good-driving bonus is paid to drivers annually and this may be reduced or cancelled if the driver is coqsidered to be at fault. The directors interview a driver who is held to be blameworthy and he is questioned regarding domestic worries or private troubles.
It may be decided that such troubles are likely to be the cause of recurring accidents, particularly if the driver's previous record shows that he is normally careful and considerate. A period of rest is then recommended a n d alternative employment in the works is offered.
Possession of the preliminary accident report card by the driver acts as a constant reminder of the possible serious consequences of an accident, but it also gives him confidence and initiative in the event of an accident for which he feels he was in no way responsible..
National Record Book
Mr. Bowdler is enthusiastic about the scheme and believes that it should be generally adopted. With the co-operation of the insurance companies and brokers, it could lead eventually to the preparation of a national record" book" in which the accident records of all drivers would be entered.
Mr. Bowdler is convinced that the amount of work involved would be small in comparison with the far-reaching and beneficial results of the plan. Given that the only useful result was the voluntary registration of a limited number of drivers with' good records, the attempt would be worthwhile.
The suggestion is not put forward in disparagement of the average driver. The status of reliable drivers would be so far enhanced that an association of such men. would, without, question, represent the best drivers on the road.