A series of recommendations intended to make London’s buses safer have been outlined in a report by the London Assembly Transport Committee. Entitled “Driven to Distraction”, it said that in 2015 and 2016, 25 people were killed on, or by, buses. Over two thirds of those killed were pedestrians. Nearly 12,000 others were injured onboard or in incidents with buses during this period: 5,700 in 2015 and 6,100 in 2016. The report looked at reasons behind these incidents and found that high levels of stress are reported amongst bus drivers, caused by long shifts, inadequate breaks and irregular shift patterns. Fatigued bus drivers may have more incidents than properly rested ones, it discovered. Other reasons include rest and toilet facilities being poor or non-existent, as well as the job involving frequent distractions from the control centre and from passengers.
In addition to various driver safety issues, the Committee found that London has what it described as a relatively high number of collisions involving buses. The contracts TfL has with bus operators incentivise them to meet punctuality targets, but not safety targets. Key aspects of safety, like driving skills and incident investigations, are often left in the hands of the operators. Figures showing a decline in people killed or seriously injured by buses may be overstated, it claims.
The report recommends that TfL sets safety targets for bus operators as soon as possible, as well as revising its senior staff bonus scheme to introduce a direct link between bus safety and performance-related payments. It suggests TfL improves the data it uses for bus safety analysis and trend reporting, as well as reduce the number of distractions and difficulties facing drivers. Further suggestions include delivering driver safety training, in the same way it delivers customer service training, and reviewing bus maintenance practices in garages.
Visit https://goo.gl/nyFbTY to see the “Driven to Distraction” report.