At Northwest Navigator we understand that, although the price of your trip is critical, your number one concern is you and your fellow passengers’ safety. We take this responsibility very seriously each and every time we have a passenger on our coach. We begin our work long before you ever make your booking by ensuring that we are a company with a culture of safety.
Northwest Navigator has invested in state of the art, modern coaches and we are very proud of our ever growing fleet. In addition to the latest technologies including ESC (electronic stability control), ATC (automatic traction control), and many other features, we have a rigorous maintenance and inspection program. This program protects our clients and exceeds all local and national standards.
Every coach in our fleet is equipped with a FleetMatic GPS tracking system that allows us to track, in real time, our drivers, coaches, and their activity. This helps us train our drivers and ensures that we consistently provide the safest experience for our passengers. It reports on events including speed, g-force events, and other items that we can use as training opportunities to ensure that our drivers become safer every time they drive.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a Notice of Public Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to require the installation of Electronic Stability Control Systems for Heavy Vehicles; which of course will include motorcoaches. The rule would apply to newly manufactured motorcoaches two years after the rule is final.
NHTSA estimates that a standard requiring the safety systems on large trucks and large buses would prevent up to 2,329 crashes, eliminate an estimated 649 to 858 injuries, and prevent between 49 and 60 fatalities a year. NHTSA
states that in the 10-year period between 1999 and 2008 there were 254 fatalities on buses with a GVWR greater than 26,000 lbs. Among buses with a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., over 70 percent of the fatalities were cross-country intercity bus occupants.
NW Navigator motorcoaches have always been equipped with Electronic Stability Control Systems for ultimate passenger safety.
We are proud of our driving staff. They are professionals in every sense of the word, from their uniforms to their outgoing and friendly demeanor. Each of our drivers is trained in our best practices and takes their responsibility in our safety program very seriously. Each is trained in the rigorous practice of pre-trip inspections, where they identify possible safety concerns each time they start the coach. Our pool of knowledgeable professional drivers has a broad range of experiences and expertise including snow driving, long haul driving, and a long track record of safe operations.
There are major differences between DOT minimum standards and the best practices employed by Northwest Navigator. These can be the difference between safety and not. Our customers often ask us about some of our practices and internal policies that we will not compromise on, and why when they impact the cost of the move we are not willing to make the same concessions that others will. Our answer is simple; we will never compromise the safety of a passenger to try to accommodate a budget.
There are many examples of shortcuts that are taken in the transportation industry that can result in tragedy. We study our industry and look for ways to mitigate these issues long before the DOT or other governing bodies have time to react. Some of these policies do indeed impact the overall cost of the trip. However, we never allow practices that we or our loved ones would not be comfortable with if we were on the coach.
Example: DOT standards require a driver to have 8 hours of rest before they are able to be “in service” for a 10-hour shift. It has become an industry accepted practice when traveling long distances for bus companies to put a “backup” driver on the coach in a seat, waiting to take over, when the driver has reached their 10-hour limit. Some coach companies boast that they can do this with 2 or 3 drivers to increase the range and decrease the cost.
This rule was put in place was to ensure that, when a driver sits down in that seat with the lives of each and every passenger in their hands, they are fresh, rested, and ready for the rigors of the road and safely operating the motorcoach. Clearly if you have been sitting in a coach for 20 hours trying to catch naps here and there, you will not be rested like the DOT was intending to mandate.
Our policy of flying drivers ahead of the move, putting them in a hotel, and replacing them at the prescribed time does indeed add to the overall cost of a move. In our opinion this type of cost is critical to the safety of the passengers and something that we simply do not compromise on. There are countless examples in the transportation industry where driver fatigue proves to be the cause of a tragedy. We are committed to making sure that never happens on a Northwest Navigator coach.
This example is one of many practices that Northwest Navigator has put in place to provide a safe experience to our customers. We are not committed to being the least expensive provider. We are, however, committed to being the safest choice when you are booking motorcoach transportation.
There are numerous risk factors that you, as the consumer of motorcoach transportation, can directly control. Here are a few things you can do and what they allow your transportation provider to do for you.
• Book Early: Booking your move at least 7 days in advance ensures that we have time to research your destination, look for potential problems in advance, and provide our driver with the most up to date and accurate information to ensure that you are in good hands. It also allows us to look at the weather conditions and dispatch the appropriate driver, equipment, and route to further ensure your safety.
• Provide as much information as you can: By providing additional information, you empower us to take care of little details that will help keep everyone safe. These details may include any special needs of the people on the coach, the type of passengers, previous experiences on trips of this nature, and other things that will give us the ability to match the perfect drivers and equipment to your move.
• Work with a charter coordinator before making a final itinerary. Our charter coordinators are skilled in understanding the rules and regulations within the transportation industry but they are also wonderful resources for our customers who want to make decisions that will impact the overall safety of their move. They can provide wonderful insights on long and short trips alike by talking about the nature of overnight and long haul trips, driver swaps, best practices vs. DOT standards, venues with limited or no motorcoach access, and what can be done to mitigate these risk factors.
• Look for ways to move during daylight hours. Night driving is simply more dangerous than daylight driving. Finding ways to limit driving between the hours of 12:00AM and 5:00AM can significantly reduce the overall risk of the trip.