National Express Corporation, the second-largest provider of school bus transportation in North America, said its operations reduced total vehicle accidents per million miles by 23 percent through the first six months of the year.
The data reflects the months of January through June over data from the same six-month period in 2011. Recently, NEC's Durham School Services and Petermann in the United States and Stock Transportation in Canada began the new school year. The three divisions account for more than 20,000 school buses
An NEC spokesman said the reduction in crashes further demonstrates there is no safer way to travel than on one of its school buses.
"We are so committed to safety that it plays a role in everything we do. Every employee is trained to think safety first," said Michele McDermott, senior vice president of safety. "This safety improvement is a significant achievement in our industry," McDermott said. "I'm proud of the commitment our bus drivers have made to increasing student safety."
Meanwhile, NEC said its policy on child checks also yielded strong results for the first half of 2012. Durham, Petermann and Stock drivers found more than 200 children on their school buses when performing child checks at the end of their routes, keeping those children from being left unattended. Drivers walk slowly through the bus and check in and under every seat.
"Our drivers embrace our zero tolerance policy when it comes to performing child checks, and they do them thoroughly and consistently," said CEO David A. Duke. "We know children fall asleep on buses, so child checks are a necessary component of providing safe student transportation. We couldn't take it more seriously."
NEC also provides comprehensive driver training program and year-round safety competitions between its operating divisions to keep safety top of mind.
"Our driver training and area safety initiatives are effective because our drivers care," McDermott said. "Everyone gets into it, gets motivated and has fun with it. It's our way of making sure kids get to school safe, on time and ready to learn."