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93 Mobile Data Computers (MDCs) can make the communi- provide. Companies report that the technology can not only cations between vehicle operators and dispatchers more effi- improve safety but is a very helpful tool for investigating com- cient and can reduce wait times for dispatch assistance. plaints and incidents. It is also reported that the cost of the MDCs can also minimize the handwriting that is associated technology can be significantly offset by savings in insurance with paper manifests or with add-ons to the schedule. As noted premiums. Any time there is a sudden vehicle movement, such above, though, if advanced technologies are employed, these as going over a curb or a deep bump in the road very quickly, systems need to function properly and vehicle operators need the camera is activated and captures video and audio for a short to be trained to proficiency in their use. Poorly performing period of time after the event. While the information is prima- equipment or a lack of understanding of these advanced tech- rily used for accident investigations, operators can also activate nologies have been reported to have negative impacts on vehi- the camera if there are other in-service incidents. cle operator performance and job satisfaction. One company reported that to emphasize the importance of safe operations, anyone who goes a month without a DriveCam incident gets to put his or her name in hat for a drawing. With Reinforcing Safety as a Value the reward program attached, the onboard camera is typically Throughout the research for this study, the importance of viewed in a positive light. operators understanding that safety is a core value in every- thing a vehicle operator does was emphasized. Safety is one of Recertification the cornerstones of "how we do business" in the industry. Even though formal training related to safety techniques and Veteran paratransit vehicle operators need to maintain actions is limited, paratransit providers have instituted prac- skill levels developed during the new operator training. Some tices to reinforce that safety has to be foremost in the think- providers include regularly scheduled continuing education ing and actions of vehicle operators. Provided below are and recertification in essential skills areas. examples of how providers create and reinforce "safety first" The following document is an example of continuing edu- teachable moments. cation and training for vehicle operators at Special Transit in Denver. Special Transit staff explained its use: · Example 1: Monthly safety meetings are a staple in ADA paratransit environments. In these meetings, safety mes- Our Road Supervisors use this form to evaluate operators after they have completed training. The Road Supervisors ride along sages are presented by managers and employees with with the operators and if they observe any problem areas, coach exemplary safety records are recognized. Related issues, the operators on ways to improve. Our goal is to evaluate opera- such as the safe and proper securement of various types of tors a minimum of once a year, but it can be more often depend- mobility aids are sometimes covered. ing on the outcome of the evaluation. · Example 2: Safety/attendance awards are often combined to emphasize the importance of safety and good attendance. Special Transit road supervisors also check operators Perks that come with these awards range from bonuses up quarterly to make sure they are following proper wheelchair to $150, to special parking spots for a month, to having the securement procedures. Exhibit 8-2 is an example of the form operator's picture and story posted on company bulletin used to document these evaluations. boards and in the company newsletter. Typically, all opera- tors with spotless (or near spotless) records within a desig- Providing a Supportive nated period have their names put in a bowl and the winner Work Environment of the award is drawn from this group of candidates. · Example 3: The CEO of one private company begins each A common theme during focus groups conducted with regularly scheduled conference call with local managers managers from paratransit systems that have stable work- with a message about safety. These managers in turn relay forces was that the overall work environment was viewed in a the same message to operators. positive light by employees. Vehicle operators from these sys- tems reported that the organization was like a "family" and that they enjoyed the people with whom they worked. They Use of DriveCam Technology indicated that the organization had a real concern for its to Support Safe Driving employees and looked out for their interests. The use of video cameras on transit vehicles to monitor driv- Small efforts, such as recognizing birthdays and periodically ing behavior and to document any unexpected incidents while hosting breakfasts or company gatherings, were cited as things in service is becoming more common. Some national para- that helped improve the camaraderie and the overall work transit providers make this a standard feature on services they environment. Other factors--support, recognition, and hear-
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94 Exhibit 8-2. Example of an operator assessment form. Access-a-Ride PERSONAL TRAINING DRIVER RIDE-A-LONG ASSESSMENT NAME: __________________________________ DATE: ____________ DIVISION___________EXAMINER __________________________ IN POSSESSION OF: LICENSE ______ DOT CARD ______ WATCH ______ UNIFORM ______ MAP BOOK ______ OTHER ________ TIME: _______________SERVICE AREA _______________________AM_______PM________ UNIT # _________________ E - EXCELLENT G - GOOD N.I. - NEEDS IMPROVEMENT U- UNACCEPTABLE PERFORMANCE // Y-yes N-no PRE TRIP-POST TRIP PASSENGER ASSISTANCE observed pre/post trip predictable stop- door timing reviewed form only checks that clients are seated GENERAL DRIVING rechecks passengers before moving smooth acceleration steady speed lift operation smooth stopping / complete stops wc. maneuvers done properly square right turns left turns Secure wc.with Qstraints, seatbelt offered right lane change left lane change Hazards/ park brake used signal use canes/walkers/packages out of the way mirror use MISCELLANEOUS intersection awareness drivers attitude defensive driving skills helpful answering questions steering control on time / schedule slows down over rough road telephone protocol right lane use paperwork, complete / legible railroad crossings- full stop distraction management- phone hazard lights look/listen paperwork conversation backing : in R horn 4ways coach comfort- temperature get out & look mirror checking music conversation monitors dashboard COMMENTS : stopping distance side clearance pulling to curb / parallel driver wears seatbelt traffic control signs traffic etiquette separating hazards following distance Maintains lane Yields right of way when appropriate ADDITIONAL COMMENTS / SUGGESTIONS ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Name: ___________________________________ has received personal training/job coaching while on duty, and will receive _____credits for the Special Transit continuing education program. PERSONAL TRAINER: ___________________________________________ DATE: _______________________________ I have received an assessment and/or coaching as noted above, that will help improve my ability to perform my job as a driver. DRIVER : ______________________________________________ DATE : ______________________________________________ cc: Operations Manager ___ Div. Supervisor ___ Safety ___
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95 Exhibit 8-2. (Continued). SPECIAL TRANSIT PARATRANSIT - Wheelchair Securement Certification Employee _______________________ Date ________ Field Trainer __________________ N/A = item was not applicable. N/A should be placed in Yes or No column Yes No Wheelchair using customers Did the driver check hand grips and brakes on w/c for safety? Was there a clear path of travel for the w/c to or from the vehicle? Did the driver follow proper procedure while maneuvering up or down a step? (one step at a time, forward up, backward down, etc) Did the driver push/pull the chair as opposed to lifting the chair while going up/down a step? Was proper procedure followed while going up or down a ramp? Proper lift procedures Were operator and bystanders clear of all moving parts? Was lift door properly secured before operating lift? Was w/c loaded facing out? Were w/c brakes set? Did the driver turn OFF the power on an electric chair while on the lift? Did the driver secure the lift safety belt prior to operating the lift? Did the driver have a hand on the w/c while it raised/lowered and the whole time the lift was off the ground? Was s/he standing in the proper position to restrain chair while raising or lowering the lift? Did the driver check the lip of the lift, to be sure it was locked into place after rising from the ground? Did the driver push the w/c ¾ of the way into the vehicle before entering the vehicle to finish loading? Or leave the w/c ¾ of the way in the vehicle before leaving the vehicle to unload? Did the driver stand in front of the ELECTRIC w/c while it reversed into the vehicle? (Or while it came out onto the lift?) Same procedure for manual chair when customer operates their own chair on to or off of bus. Tie Down procedures Was the chair positioned facing forwards, wheels straight, squarely between the floor tiedown spaces? Were chair brakes set? Was electric chair power turned off? Were front straps placed on first? Were front straps placed into floor brackets (directly in front of the frame of each side of the chair and checked for secure fit BEFORE being put on chair? Were front straps hooked to a solid part of the frame? Were front straps connected where they would not shift or slip off? Were the front straps at a vertical 45 angle and not twisted? Were front straps pulled tightly and extra strapping Velcroed up off the floor? Were rear straps placed into floor brackets directly behind the frame on each side of the chair, and checked for secure fit BEFORE being put on chair? Were rear straps secured to a solid part of the frame? Were rear straps connected where they would not shift or slip off? Were rear straps at a 45 vertical angle and not twisted? Were rear straps pulled tightly towards floor bracket, ratcheted and secured? Was entire chair checked for secure tiedown hold? Passenger restraints (Seatbelts and shoulder straps) Requirements for the Q-Straint System Were passenger restraints secured to rear tie down straps? Were the seatbelt straps passed between the wheel and frame and then through the armrest? Was the female side of the seatbelt on the isle side of the chair? Was the seatbelt fastened securely? Was the shoulder strap placed across the chest and connected properly to the female side of the seatbelt? Were wheelchair and passenger secure and ready for transportation? (continued on next page)