In the still of the night

Posted on May 4, 2012 by Louie Maiello - Also by this author

Greetings! I would like to answer the following question sent to me and thank the transit professional for doing so:

"Just this week, we have had three bus accidents. One type of ‘repeater accident’ has been occurring in the garage involving the driver’s left rear side of our 45-foot [bus]. When turning right, the left rear driver’s side swings out and catches the roof support pole. The last two accidents took out the rear side glass. I need some preventive ideas.”

This is the classic overhang problem. These types of incidents have decreased dramatically over the years as a result of the well-lit, state-of-the-art depots being built and the additional training given to the shifters/drillers — individuals who, at the end of the day, take returning buses and place them in their overnight slots.

During the days of poorly lit, outdated, smaller depots, or ‘barns’ as they were once called, this type of contact within the obstruction-filled space occurred during the “Still of the Night.” Often, the damage was not noticed until a responsible operator on pull-out conducted a thorough pre-trip inspection the following morning. Some of you may remember the days prior to pre-trip inspections, when a ‘no knowledge’ response was usually the term that was used when being questioned about bus damage, in general.

Regarding the question, knowing your bus model dynamics (e.g., pivot points and mirror positioning) is just part of the solution. Some of the causes of these contacts occurring within the depots are: 

1) Failure to check for insufficient clearance around the bus.

2) Failing to re-adjust mirrors upon relieving the departing operator.

3) Failing to stay alert and forward-plan around the trouble spot.

4) Oversteering to the right.

5) Speed, although I would hate to think that speed (especially in the depot) would be a contributor.

Consider the following: 

1) Ensure that the pole is clearly visible, even if it means painting it a different color that would make it even more visible to alert the operator of this particular trouble spot.

2) Create a handout to be posted in the depots and around the garage pull-out area alerting all to this problem.

3) Bring all student operators around this turn and provide them with the opportunity to watch you negotiate around this area. Then, have them do it while alerting them to the importance of knowing your surroundings and the limitations of your bus.

4) Go to your outdoor training area and place a cone near the pivot point of each different size bus and show them the consequences of what happens when oversteering and not thoroughly understanding the different pivot points (not getting permission), by moving the cone from the pivot areas to a point that will create contact with the bus. You can also go to the simulator and create a scenario where, unlike in the depot, the low-risk environment of a simulator can effectively deal with a high-risk situation of contact with fixed objects.

An operator handout reminder for the garage/depot area can consist of the following points: 

  • How much clearance do I have?
  • What model bus am I operating?
  • Are my mirrors providing the info I need?
  • What must I do differently?
  • When in doubt, secure bus and GET OUT AND LOOK!

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "OCTA CEO: Congress, stop kicking transportation bill down the road" here.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (9 Comments)

More Safety Corner Blog Posts

August 9, 2016

Zen and the Art of Bus Driving

If we encourage our operators to treat operating a bus as a shift-long Zen moment, we may be able to reduce preventable crashes by a significant amount. The “Zen Operator,” who drives precisely at all times, is also less stressed. The Zen Operator flows through difficult, tight situations easily and their body language and vibe give passengers a sense of confidence. The operator whose passengers have a white-knuckle death grip on the back of the seat in front of them is not practicing “Zen Bus Operation.”

July 27, 2016

5 Tips for Keeping Bus Operators Safe

Ah, summer. Pool parties, barbecues, the smell of honeysuckle and the sight of lightning bugs. Or — a rise in crime, agitated riders seeking air conditioning, heat stroke, a new fiscal year, and the necessary, but unpopular, fare increases. However you view the summer months, with a direct correlation between high temperatures and increased crime, it's vital for transit leaders to be asking themselves, "Have we done everything possible to keep our people safe?"

July 19, 2016

Key Takeaways on Mass Transit Safety, Risk Management

The RMS occurred last month in Albany, N.Y. and it was a truly remarkable learning experience for those in attendance. The RMS serves as a one-of-a-kind event that brings together transit risk management professionals from all across the country to focus on key topics related to safety, risk management, planning and prevention.

July 12, 2016

Many Voices, One Goal for Bus and Pedestrian Safety

I recently attended, and had the opportunity to be part of a panel of speakers, at the NYC MTA Bus Safety Symposium. A variety of topics were discussed regarding bus and pedestrian safety issues. What was obvious is we all have a common goal to provide the safest transit systems possible, in spite of the possibility of increasing bus/pedestrian and bus/cyclist collisions.

June 1, 2016

Still Blaming Bus-Pedestrian Contact On the A-Pillar/Mirror Design?

I have had it with the never-ending meeting of the minds on the predominant causes of left-turn bus-pedestrian collisions. This whole issue is getting obscured with presentations that slice and dice every possible cause of these incidents into a collection of symbols, numbers and formulas. Please stop.

See More

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (9)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close