Approximately 60% of rear-end collisions can be avoided if drivers had an extra half-second of response time, said Marion Blakey, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, during her speech on the opening day of the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) Expo held in January in Indianapolis.
Blakey concentrated on two areas of safety recommendations: collision avoidance systems and driver qualifications, citing the fatal 1999 New Orleans bus crash as a reminder that significant changes must be made in drug testing and medical certification. “We need to work together. We should not lose our focus on safety,” she said.
Joseph M. Clapp, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, was the keynote speaker at the 3rd Annual Vision Awards, where he stressed the importance of having complete confidence in hired drivers. “It’s about having a trustworthy person that can make life-or-death decisions,” he said.
Clapp was also on hand to deliver industry awards to Trailblazer Charter and Tours in Cerritos, Calif.; Coach USA Milwaukee/Wisconsin Lines of Waukesha, Wis.; and Life Line Transportation of Brooklyn, N.Y. The UMA Safety Award was given to Christopher Crean of Peter Pan Bus Lines in Massachusetts.
METRO Magazine’s Operator of the Year award was given to Brian Scott of Escot Bus Lines in Largo, Fla. METRO’s Association Achievement award was presented to Maureen A. Milan of New Jersey Transit.
A notable Expo event was DaimlerChrysler’s announcement of the reorganization of its North American bus business to include Setra, Orion and Thomas-Dennis into one division. The DaimlerChrysler Commercial Buses North America division will be headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., and consist of Setra highway coaches and Orion transit buses (which will include rebranded Thomas-Dennis commercial buses).
Andreas Strecker was appointed president of the division. Other members of the new management team are Patrick Scully, CEO of Setra North America; Rick Solon, CEO of Orion Bus Industries; and Tony Domabyl, CEO of Thomas-Dennis Co.
Prevost unveiled its 2003 H-Series, featuring a full-height, two-piece windshield for enhanced panoramic viewing. The H-Series also features new high-efficiency headlights and energy-absorbing bumpers.
Motor Coach Industries announced a cooperative agreement with Scania that will focus on using the Swedish company’s components for coaches, as well as cooperation in marketing and aftersales activities.
More than 100 exhibitors showcased the latest vehicles and motorcoach innovations, including John Holdsworth & Co. Ltd., which debuted its fabric line of six new colorways, Complete Coach Works, REI, Windsor Seating and Trident Industries, which debuted its new cutaway shuttle bus.