NSW bus drivers should avoid these costly mistakes
Commuters have always depended on and trusted buses as their safest land transportation since they were first used in the early 1800s. Riding buses is and still is to this day one of the safest and efficient ways to travel.
However, road accidents involving buses are still inevitable due to various causes. This is why road safety and heavy vehicle driving training have been the priority to solve this recurring problem.
In New South Wales, 65 fatal heavy vehicle crashes were recorded in 2020 and 2021. These incidents resulted in 72 fatalities, according to the report posted by the Transport for New South Wales.
Due to the above numbers, improvements have been made toward the goal of improving road safety on Australian roads. Some of these include:
- Mandatory seat belts on coaches.
- Adaptation of higher levels of state-based industry accreditation schemes.
- Improvement in driver safety training.
- Participation in the development and implementation of bus safety awareness programs.
- Fully supporting public education programs like “Be Bus Aware”.
With these successful implementations, bus road accidents have been gradually decreasing per the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development. Nonetheless, if you are a bus driver in NSW or you want to work as one, you should be aware of the common mistakes bus drivers commit – and avoid them at all costs.
7 Mistakes That NSW Bus Drivers Must Avoid
Given their significance in ensuring the liveability of a community, there is a high demand for bus operators. This makes it one of the most profitable blue-collar occupations in New South Wales.
Although the wage is higher than most jobs, driving a bus is extremely difficult. All bus drivers should be eligible and should pass all the qualifications in NSW. They are also responsible for the safety of their passengers. Choosing a reputable driver training company such as All of these and many more are taught to large vehicle driving trainees at Chris Shilling Transport Training is a great way to learn how to avoid these potentially fatal mistakes.
A small error in driving could lead to a huge vehicle crash. Bus accidents are costly, and a driver should always be knowledgeable on the dos and don’ts when driving. Here is a list of common mistakes that NSW bus drivers should never commit:
1. Not carrying out a pre-journey inspection
Before taking on the road, make sure that all the necessary inspections are completed. Making a pre-driving checklist benefits the bus driver from unexpected errors on the road.
- Walk around the vehicle before getting in and inspect for any exterior damages, especially on the lights and mirrors of the bus.
- Check if there is enough air pressure for the tyres or any debris caught into its threads.
- Look for leaks under the vehicle and ensure there is a proper amount of engine oil. Too little or old engine oil will kill the engine, so the driver must be up to date with the vehicle’s last oil change.
- When starting the bus, check the vehicle’s computer systems are working properly.
- Check the dashboard for warning lights.
- Lastly, see to it that the vehicle has a healthy battery. Battery life typically lasts up to four years, so replace it if it is near the end of its service life.
2. Not following road signs
When on the road, it is critical to be mindful, especially for bus drivers who have bigger equipment to manoeuvre. Drivers should be wary of all road signs since these are sometimes modified, with new ones added every year. Attending heavy vehicle training could help veteran drivers refresh their knowledge on road signs, traffic signs, and speed limits.
3. Driving too fast
Every driver should maintain a safe speed at all times. One of the fundamental rules of driving is obeying the speed limit. There is no excuse for driving over the speed limit in Australia, so it is crucial to obey the implemented speed limits.
Weather conditions also play a significant role in driving under poor conditions. Rain makes the roads wet, making it slippery for tyres. Strong winds can affect the aerodynamic movement of vehicles on the road. A responsible NSW bus driver is always careful and wary of how fast they are driving.
4. Driving while under the influence of alcohol
Bus drivers are responsible for multiple lives, so they should never have any drugs or alcohol in their system while operating a bus. According to the NSW Centre for Road Safety, more than 6% of road users that are gravely injured in vehicle crashes were due to driving under the influence of alcohol.
As for prescription medications, these must be communicated to supervisors before drivers take on the road to avoid unwanted incidents.
5. Making sudden turns or lane changes
Bus driving in NSW requires extreme caution, especially on tight turns and lane changes. This is because these usually involve blind spots or areas that are not within the driver’s range of vision. Keep in mind that heavy vehicles, such as buses, take longer to slow down, and this may cause bumper crashes when changing lanes.
6. Not having enough rest
Awareness of one’s own condition before going on the road is vital. A driver should be mentally and physically capable of operating his daily tasks. Bus operators are human too, and it is normal to feel fatigued if working long hours.
As much as possible, bus drivers should avoid driving when they are unwell and not in the best condition to work. The management should be informed beforehand since not having enough rest and falling asleep while driving is a common cause of vehicular accidents.
7. Not having any heavy vehicle driving training
A key factor in hiring bus drivers is the amount of experience needed before being employed. That is why there are certain mandatory tests to see if a prospect is skilled enough to take on the job.
Prospective drivers need to undergo enough training regarding bus driving. With proper education, training and practice, there would be lower chances of encountering accidents on the road.
Do you wish to become a bus driver in New South Wales? If you are, check out Chris Shilling Transport Training. We are based in Newcastle, and we offer various courses, including Bus Driver Authority, Chain of Responsibility, Truck Licensing, and much more.
With over 30 years of experience in this field, we can assure you that after enrolling in our courses, you will go home with sufficient knowledge that could help preserve lives whilst servicing passengers.
Call us on 0434 366 758 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in learning more about road safety and heavy vehicle training in Newcastle, Mid North Coast, Central Coast and Hunter. You can also fill out this contact form by clicking here, and one of our consultants will gladly get back to you.