Coast RTA schedules defensive driving sessions for bus drivers -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Coast RTA schedules defensive driving sessions for bus drivers

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Coast RTA is working on a fall schedule for defensive driving sessions for their bus drivers following five motor vehicle incidents.

Coast RTA spokesperson, Michelle Cantey says there were two accidents in June. The accident that occurred on June 16 injured 21 people.

The accident occurred on Robert Grissom Parkway and Highway 501; a Lexus traveling north on US 501 failed to yield the right of way turning onto Robert Grissom Parkway and was struck by the Coast RTA bus.

Coast RTA released the bus cam video of the accident that showed what happened leading up to the crash. Video also shows frantic bus passengers, screaming for help as some were injured during the impact of the crash. 

Brian Piascik, General Manager of Coast RTA said, "A bunch of these incidents were not preventable, I think the driver did everything they 
could in those situations."

There were three more accidents this past July.

The most recent accident happened on July 31 and involved only the Coast RTA bus. No one was injured in that incident.

Coast RTA was involved in a total of five accidents in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, which included the two from this past June. But Piascik said they set a higher standard. "Zero incidents is what our goal is," he added. 

Piascik said they will now have drivers take defensive driving courses to help them keep their safety skills updated. "For instance going through intersections we tell our drivers, foot over brake; you don't accelerate through the intersection. It is always good to do refresher's course to remind you to pick those fundamentals back up," explained Piascik. 

The course will focus on teaching drivers how to eliminate distractions, using proper following distance, crash avoidance, and step to take should an incident occur. The classes will last six to hours and will be required for all 80 Coast RTA Drivers and staff.

Piascik said collectively buses have traveled 823,000 miles for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, and have only reported 5 incidents, he says he feel confident that the drivers are thinking safety first. "The national average of accident is 10 accident per one million miles, so we are below the average," said Piascik.

"I think its really important to me that people understand that our services are very safe.  We do not have a lot of accidents here (knock on wood), and that's attribute to our drivers and staff here," said Piascik. 

About 80 Coast RTA bus drivers will undergo the defensive driving starting in September. Piascik said the courses will also be offered in the first half of 2016.

Piascik said the classes will be available to other transit systems, and the cost will be covered by the insurance provider and the South Carolina Department of Transportation. 

Coast RTA bus, vehicle collide; 21 people hurt –

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