Whether city transit, a tour bus, a school bus, or something else, any company operating buses needs to know safety tips for bus drivers. As an insurance producer, if you work with bus companies or want to provide bus insurance, you can help your clients with these tips. Of course, investing in bus driver insurance is one of our top safety tips.
Read on to learn more about the risks bus drivers and bus companies face and to understand the value of bus insurance. You will be able to provide policyholders with the information they need to be safe and reduce risk. And you will understand why partnering with Prime Insurance Company for bus insurance is one of the best ways to support your clients and write more business.
Bus Accident and Lawsuit Facts
Before we dive into the 6 safety tips for bus drivers and bus companies, let’s take a look at some of the facts revolving around bus lawsuits.
There are, on average, 63,000 bus accidents each year! Accidents are often caused by driver fatigue, distracted driving, mechanical failures, dangerous weather conditions, and more. Unfortunately, bus accidents are a common cause of lawsuits, however, we have some of our tips to help combat these risks.
The average settlement of a bus accident lawsuit is hard to measure considering the unique circumstances of each case. Generally speaking, across the country, payouts for motor vehicle accidents can vary from a few hundred to millions of dollars, depending on the extent of the injuries or damages.
6 Safety Tips for Bus Drivers and Bus Companies
1. Understand Liability
Bus companies need to understand what is at stake to stay safe and mitigate risk. Bus drivers already know that there is a lot at risk and understand that this is a high-pressure job, of course. Most drivers are well aware of the hazards of traffic, distractions, and the potential for accidents and incidents.
Understanding the impact of those accidents and incidents can drive home how much liability a company takes on and how important insurance is. Buses are large vehicles in which many people are not secured as they are in a small passenger vehicle. There is potential for damage to the bus and property as well as the potential for injury or even death.
These incidents almost always turn into lawsuits, which can be very expensive for bus drivers and companies without bus insurance. In 2023, parents of 13 elementary school students sued a bus service and bus driver for false imprisonment of students, seeking over $1 million in monetary relief. Bus companies and drivers can expect lawsuits for medical expenses, missed work, and lost quality of life, as well as any property damage sustained in an incident.
2. Safety Comes Before Schedule
One of the reasons that driving a bus is a high-pressure job is a strict schedule that often comes with it. Especially for school buses and city transit, and even special event transportation, passengers expect the bus to be on time, but a busy schedule should not overtake bus safety.
Bus companies need to make safety the highest priority. And they need to communicate this to their drivers. Companies should empower drivers to make decisions in the name of safety, even if it means going off schedule. All of this should be clearly outlined in company policy and procedure.
3. Inspect Every Time
No matter how experienced or skilled a bus driver is, they should be inspecting the bus every time they’re on duty. This means carefully checking the vehicle before setting out, ensuring that it is in good condition to carry passengers. If any problems need repairs or equipment requires adjusting, bus drivers will catch it before it becomes a more significant problem.
4. Don’t Skimp on Maintenance
As important as inspection is in finding issues with a bus, maintenance is equally important. Often, proactive maintenance could prevent safety defects and equipment problems. Companies should have a routine schedule for bus maintenance. Any issues found in an inspection should be repaired right away.
Maintenance also involves keeping up with the fleet and knowing when a vehicle or part might be recalled. Bus drivers and companies must keep appropriate logs and records to ensure they comply with all safety and maintenance rules, whether internal or governmental.
5. Train Drivers (and Re-Train Regularly)
Bus drivers are critical to overall bus safety. If they are not trained and skilled in safe driving practices, everyone is at risk. It is well worth it for bus companies to invest in solid safety training and re-train drivers routinely to ensure their skills are as sharp as possible.
Drivers should start each day rested and prepared to work. If they are tired for any reason, companies need a mechanism to keep that driver off of the road. Drivers should also be educated in proactive, defensive driving, looking ahead, and preparing for any obstacles or problems. At the same time, they also need training in understanding what is going on inside the vehicle. This way they can handle potential safety problems that occur while driving.
Even small distractions can be deadly. Companies need to enforce a policy against distracted driving. In addition, seemingly small things like keeping a cushion of space around the bus can greatly affect handling other drivers, pedestrians, and passengers. Knowing routes well is also important, which includes using alternate route options if need be. These are just a few ways drivers can impact safety and it’s up to each bus company to create a training plan.
6. Be Sure to Invest in Quality Bus Insurance
The cost of bus insurance is far less than the cost of a lawsuit. And insurance can be the only thing standing between bus companies and financial ruin. Of course, securing the right kind of bus insurance is important — not every policy will work for your clients. At Prime Insurance Company, we’re experienced in creating custom insurance policies, even for those who have been turned down in the past.
We are an excess and surplus lines insurance company, rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best. Our work is backed by our in-house teams, who handle risk and claims management and provide expertise in dealing with lawsuits. When you partner with us, you as an insurance producer, and your clients, can expect regular communication and excellent coverage.
There are many benefits to working with Prime Insurance Company. And we’re happy to share them with you!
Head over to our Bus Insurance page for more information or to get a quote!
Rick J. Lindsey hails from Salt Lake City, Utah. He began working in the mailroom of his father’s Salt Lake City insurance firm, getting his introduction to the business that became his lifelong career. Lindsey quickly rose through the ranks while working in nearly every imaginable insurance industry job. As an entrepreneur, specialty lines underwriter, claims specialist, risk manager, and a licensed surplus lines broker, Rick J. Lindsey is highly skilled in all levels of leadership and execution. As he progressed on his career path, Rick discovered an urgent need for insurers willing to write policies for high-risk individuals and businesses. He was frequently frustrated that he could not provide the liability protection these entities desperately needed to safeguard their assets. He also formed the belief that insurance companies acted too quickly to settle frivolous claims. Lindsey decided to try a different approach. He started an insurance company and became the newly formed entity’s CEO. This opportunity has enabled Rick to fill a void in the market and provide a valuable service to businesses, individuals, and insurance agents who write high-risk business. Read more…