Tragic accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee
The tragic accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee on 21 November 2016, when six children lost their lives and others were seriously injured in a crash on one of our school buses, has left six families grieving and a community in shock. It has had a profound impact on us all at National Express and we are deeply sorry that such a horrific accident should happen to children aboard one of our vehicles.
The North American management team, working closely with the local school board and community groups, swiftly offered appropriate support to the families affected. We have also offered our full co-operation to the investigations being led by the regulatory authorities that always follow an accident such as this. Without prejudicing the outcomes of these investigations we have accelerated programmes that were previously being piloted in our North American division as part of our longstanding determination to deliver industry-leading safety performance: an industry first, Lytx DriveCam, will be installed on our North American vehicles by the end of 2019; and a cloud-based portal recording communication between us and school administrators will be available for every location before the end of 2017.
None of us at National Express will ever forget the terrible accident and tragic impact on the friends and families of those children who lost their lives or were injured. But it only reinforces – if any reinforcement was ever needed – why safety will remain my priority as Chief Executive, as I have consistently made clear in previous statements and at our Annual General Meetings. While we have of course pledged to learn any necessary lessons from the investigations, I have also commissioned our independent safety consultant, Arthur D Little, to identify best practice in driver recruitment, training and assessment and review our procedures in all divisions to identify what further progress we can make to be consistently industry-leading. It will report back by the middle of the year.