Over 400 accidents a year. Coaches are worth checking
Tire squeal, heavy braking... This is how the road of over 400 coaches ended. As many accidents in 2016 were caused by the driver. For 14 years the Chief Road Transport Inspector has been running the "Safe Coach" campaign. During the action during the winter holidays, the inspectors imposed 104 fines and seized 35 registration cards out of 795 inspected vehicles.
- As for the occasional trips, which include colonial trips, we do not see a large number of serious violations. Infringements that take place most often result from poor technical condition of the vehicle or from exceeding working time - says newsrm.tv Łukasz Włoch, an expert from the National Centre for Driver's Settlement.
According to the experts, the problem is also the situation in which the tour operator does not take into account the driver's working time when planning the hours of the tour, the route and attractions to be visited. A professional driver shall be subject to strict rules restricting his driving activities.
The departure schedule should be discussed with the carrier a few days before the planned trip. However, in reality, the details of the departure and the list of places to visit are not known to the driver until the children get on the bus. As a result, the driver is often unable to get his daily rest on time, putting himself and other road users at risk. The driver, in order to fulfil the order to the greatest extent, agrees to extend driving hours, shorten rest periods or even manipulate the tachograph.
- Of course, each holiday trip can be planned to see all the planned attractions and travel with the standards contained in Regulation No. 561/2006. However, this requires knowledge of regulations directly related to the work of drivers, which are often a big barrier for people planning trips with children and young people - says Jakub Ordon, Expert of the National Centre for Driver's Settlement in ITD and PIP. - Noticing this problem, OCRK has prepared a Code of Good Practice in a short form, which contains the most important elements of planning a single driver's coach trip," adds the OCRK expert.
Code of Good Practices
Before you go on holiday:
- Prepare the tour properly in terms of the program and organization, discuss with all tour caretakers the following issues: the purpose of the tour, the route, the facilities visited, accommodation, food, schedule and rules of behavior of participants during the tour.
- Inform the carrier that on the day of departure the coach and the driver will be checked by the Police or WITD for the efficiency of the vehicle, analysis of working time and driver's sobriety.
- Consult the carrier with a detailed departure schedule including information on the planned date and time of departure and return, number of kilometers, town, program, address of accommodation and eating places. It's worth doing it a week before the realization.
- Make a written contract of travel with your travel agency or carrier indicating any requirements and expectations you want to be fulfilled.
Planning a trip is worth considering:
Schedule it to set up a WITD or Police check immediately before departure (standard bus check can take between 15-60 minutes).
When determining the route, use the maps to know the approximate time of travel between points (remember that the average speed of the coach should be 60-70 km/h). The journey time of the coach must provide for a maximum of 4 hours and 30 minutes of continuous driving.
To the above mentioned driving time, a minimum of 45 minutes must absolutely be added to the driver's compulsory rest, which will also be useful to the participants of the trip. A break of 45 minutes (or two in the dimensions of 15 and 30 minutes) must take place in a place that is safe for the participants of the trip, i.e. only in marked car parks. Remember, the vehicle will not be moved during rest.
When planning the daily driving time, remember that the driver cannot drive more than 9 hours in total. A driver in special situations may decide to extend his driving time by 1 hour for 2 days, but it is up to him to take this into account in his total working time.
When planning an overnight trip, remember that during the day (24 hours from the start of the driver's work) the driver cannot drive for 11 hours, as this is the time of daily rest. During this time, the driver may not participate in any transport operations. A driver in special situations may decide to reduce the rest to 9 hours for 3 days, but it is up to him to decide, as he must take this into account in his total working time.
When planning a trip of several days, remember that one driver cannot drive for more than 6 days (e.g. from 8:00 on Monday to 7:59 on Sunday), after which you must take into account a one to two-day stopover period. This stop is linked to the need to take a weekly rest for the driver (it is up to the driver to decide how long this rest will last, as he has to take this into account in his total working time).
In any case, the driver may reduce the duration of the journey or extend the period of stops or rests if this is due to road safety.
If the above mentioned driving time frames as well as breaks and rests are not sufficient to meet the requirements of the trip, consult the carrier to plan a trip with several drivers.
And remember that:
- Before departure (preferably several days in advance), report the coach and driver to the BTID control or the Police, which will take place on the day of actual departure.
- The bus carrying minors must be marked with the sign "carriage of children".
- Space in the means of transport should be provided so that the carers sit at the door.
- Passages in the coach must be free, there must be no additional seating.
- After each break, check the number of children.
- As a carer, you have to take care of the children while driving (participants are not allowed to walk on the bus, sit back, on the backrest, throw things or throw them out the window, etc.).
When organizing a trip, it is worthwhile to apply the above rules, and thus make the holiday trip pleasant and safe for the guests.Source: newsrm.tv