Motorcoach

How to Develop and Employ an Effective Motorcoach Risk Management Program

Posted on September 22, 2011 by Robert Crescenzo

Page 2 of 3

Role of management
Management must consider its role in abetting these disturbing trends and objectively assess its selection and hiring process; scheduling and assignment criteria; trip booking practices; driver training programs; fleet safety programs; and last, but certainly not least, its driver fatigue management program. If it's concluded that it's all about the driver, a re-examination of the motorcoach company's selection, hiring, training, retraining, driver's age and skill levels is definitely in order.

If management is truly objective, it must also consider that some drivers could have difficulty with certain types of geographic destinations, discomfort with driving certain types/models of equipment, an inability to absorb training and supervision, or trouble with different weather conditions. Additionally, sometimes employer/employee relations result in poor or no communication.

Another key component to a successful risk management program for any organization, including motorcoach companies, is loss prevention, or in the motorcoach company context, accident avoidance. It starts with driver training and retraining and is strongly bolstered by better trip booking and scheduling procedures ,better advance trip/route planning, accident/claims reviews with involved drivers, a proactive driver incentive program and comprehensive maintenance procedures.

Focusing on just one component of the analysis, such as who controls the driver and assignments, illustrates just how detailed the analysis should be. For example, are routes and assignments completely controlled by the dispatcher? Does the dispatcher consult with anyone else before making decisions? Does the customer have input? Do drivers have input? Does management encourage input?

A short list of issues that should be considered before booking a trip could include time of day, road conditions, length of trip and number of stops, number and age of passengers, time allotted to trip completion, weather conditions and driver experience. Other considerations could be driver familiarity with vehicle type, night driving requirements, presence of unusual backing or turning challenges, pressure from passengers for multiple or additional stops, pressure from the tour guide or group leader to change the itinerary, and driver downtime issues.

Follow the policy
A solid motorcoach company risk management program must consider these and other factors specific to its operation and develop and implement its own trip risk rating system. Most importantly, the system needs to be supported by company management and implemented in a consistent manner.

Direct action is absolutely essential once a risk management program is developed and implemented for a motorcoach company. Simply put, if a company has a policy and doesn't follow its own guidelines, its exposure in claims situations grows exponentially. Similarly, if management is supposed to know something and doesn't, or does know and doesn't remedy the problem, its liability increases yet again. Ultimately, it's management's responsibility to foster a true risk management culture and take the necessary steps to ensure that loss reducing culture is embraced by all employees.

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