We make no apologies for repeating every year that safety remains the highest priority for our business. It is the first agenda item for weekly executive team calls, all executive boards and the PLC Board.
Overall responsibility for safety sits with Dean Finch, Group Chief Executive, and our Divisional Managing Directors who set our annual plans and priorities for improved performance. We have also retained Arthur D Little as our independent external safety advisers.
We have 12 Global Safety Standards which set out the clear behaviours and minimum standards which we expect all our staff to demonstrate at all times. During 2017, we also enhanced these standards with five new Global Safety Policies:
- Speed management
- Driving evaluation
- Competency of driving evaluators
- Driver monitoring
- Driver performance management
Each of these new policies targets critical areas for further improvement in our safety performance. Each division has until 2020 to devise comprehensive plans to deliver against them in full. Many are already making good progress on a number of them. Performance and implementation is reviewed in a quarterly meeting of Managing Directors chaired by Dean Finch.
We are pleased that we have delivered significant improvements on our industry-leading safety measure: Fatalities and Weighted Injuries (FWI) index. As Figure 2 demonstrates, since the introduction of Driving Out Harm in 2010, we have seen a 74% reduction in our FWI score per million miles operated. The annual figures are reported in our KPI section on page 13. During 2017, senior managers conducted 697 safety tours across the Group (2016: 774). The lower number of tours last year compared to 2016 is as a result of the sale of the c2c rail franchise in February 2017.
We have also invested in industry-leading safety technology to help us achieve our objective of removing all responsible harm from our business. Lytx DriveCam smart safety cameras are an example of this. The cameras are now fully installed across our UK fleet. We have accelerated installation programmes in place in North America and
ALSA: North America has 6,351 vehicles with the cameras and targets around another 10,000 by the end of the year; ALSA has 150 vehicles installed, with a target of over 1,000 (around 45% of the Spanish fleet) by the end of the year.
Technology is, however, only part of the resource required to improve safety standards. We have comprehensive management systems in place to use the data generated by these smart cameras to tailor training and improve overall standards. We are already seeing encouraging early reductions in ‘event severity’, where the smart safety cameras have been in place the longest. So with the significant further roll out programme in 2018, we expect to reap further driving standards, safety and cost benefits over the next couple of years.
Our safety performance and leadership are also receiving significant external recognition. Both UK bus and coach received five-star British Safety Council scores, and their highest honour, the Sword of Honour. Indeed, our UK bus operations’ score of 97.4% was the highest in the transport industry. Our UK coach business also received a ROSPA Gold Award. ALSA received two awards from MAPFE: the ‘International Road Safety’ and ‘Best Initiative in the Prevention of Accidents’ awards. Our North American school bus business has again received the highest possible safety rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Administration.
In the aftermath of the tragedy in Chattanooga in November 2016, we have sought to learn any appropriate lessons and also take considerate actions in the local community. We have, of course, continued to support the families of those involved as well as co-operate with all the relevant authorities, including the ongoing National Transportation Safety Board investigation. In the local community we have donated to local groups and funded a new home being built through Habitat for Humanity.