Over 200 School Bus Drivers Trained in the Ford Safe Driving Academy

04 July 2017

The main goal of the special course by the Ford Safe Driving Academy is training drivers, who are engaged in the transportation of children, in defensive driving skills and techniques to prevent road accidents when driving a vehicle, including maneuvering in difficult traffic conditions. In order to achieve high results the Academy invited coaches having different titles in motorsports and awards of international competitions. The coaches were trained in the special training center of “Risk-Free Road Traffic” under the training program for drivers of this category. Many coaches are certified under RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) standards.

The importance of the program has been determined by statistics provided by the State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate of the Russian Federation: only in the period from January to May of 2017 they registered 2,782 road traffic accidents (RTA) involving children as passengers, in which 134 children were killed and 3,199 children were injured. 2,081 cases were accidents involving buses. Separately in the Republic of Tatarstan, there were 79 RTAs involving children, in which 4 children died, whereas 64 RTAs occurred through the fault of bus drivers*. The main reasons for road accident are still the same: violation of the traffic rules by drivers, as well as discrepancy of the actual speed with traffic conditions. The condition of roads and weather conditions aggravate the problem, which requires special attention and sufficient experience from school bus drivers in the regions.

The trainings were held on June 27 to 30 at the Kazan Autodrome “Vysokaya Gora”. In honor of the opening of the new school a press conference was held, which was attended by the heads of the region, representatives of public services and agencies, and media. The presidium included Aydar Kayumov, the Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Tatarstan; Liliya Obolonskaya, the Head of the Department for Relations with State Agencies of Ford Sollers Holding, LLC; and Aleksandr Revsky, the Director of the “Risk-Free Road Traffic” Expert Center. “Currently, our Republic uses over 190 Ford school buses, – Aydar Kayumov explained to the audience. – I would like to express my great gratitude to this project and all the team engaged in its organization. I wish each student to gain more knowledge and skills to successfully use them in their future work”. A. Kayumov also noted the relevance of the chosen direction of the new course and its uniqueness for vocational training in the field of “Social Transport”.

The driving lessons scheme was revolving: participants were divided into groups and passed locations one after another. This allowed, with a minimum of time, to make the most of the five locations provided by the program. The first module of the program was devoted to the means of passive protection when transporting children and the driver’s health, in particular, the fatigue factor: the participants undergoing  training were convinced that a necessary condition for safe transport was following the indications of the tachograph, which should be installed in all school buses after 2014. Each participant was also able to check the efficiency of the seat belts, which save children’s life in 90% of cases. The purpose of this part of the “Academy” was the demonstration of the fact that, if the driver himself uses the passive protection means, the life and health of his little passengers are still at a great risk.

Children who get into a vehicle trust the driver. That is why, in addition to the explanations of how to avoid errors on the road, the “Academy” coaches demonstrated how to act if a critical situation has already occurred. In particular, this was explained in the modules devoted to the “Emergency Braking” and “First Aid”.

Separately, urgent questions were raised related to “blind areas” and distraction, which has recently been exacerbated by the spread of a variety of gadgets and, especially, smartphones. Participants were invited to pass a quest with a mobile device in their hands. Only 10% of drivers could successfully complete it.

Marat Takhautdinov, a driver of Bugulma Motor Transport Company, who participated in the training, shared his experience: “I did not expect the braking to be so difficult. You must foresee everything, and know how to act. I've been driving for 28 years now, but I never thought that, for example, using a reserve of 20 kilometers, when the permitted speed is 40 km, I not only violate the traffic rules, but also increase my braking distance at many times, which one day can create a very difficult situation, if you have to brake urgently. I will definitely tell my colleagues about this, when I go to my work.”

The analysis of the reasons for RTA involving children as passengers (especially related to organized transportation of children) shows that any road accident is an emergency situation due to the lack of psychological and practical training of drivers. As part of this new direction – training of school bus drivers – the Ford Safe Driving Academy seeks to teach drivers to respond quickly to unexpected traffic situations and to minimize collision risk using new methods, techniques and driving skills, which is doubly important when children are behind your back.

The next cities where the Ford Safe Driving Academy will open its doors will be Volgograd and Saratov. There, trainings for school bus drivers will be held on July 5 and on July 11 to 14, respectively. See you on the grounds!

 * According to the State Motor Vehicle Inspectorate of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs

About the Ford Driving Skills for Life Global Project

The global social program entitled Ford Driving Skills for Life has been held in the US since 2003; since 2013, it has been implemented in Europe, and since 2014, also in Russia. Ford Driving Skills for Life is the first project in the history of the automobile industry aimed at conducting free practical integrated trainings of drivers who recently received their driver's license. For 13 years of the program about 1,000,000 drivers around the world attended the training, including 6,600 novice drivers from 16 Russian regions.



For the avoidance of doubt, under the above project its participants are provided with only consulting services of the theory and practice of safe driving, that is not an educational activity in line with the current laws of the Russian Federation.




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