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Sierre Coach Crash

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Help us to improve your child's safety whilst travelling by coach

On the 13th March 2012 near Sierre, Switzerland, a Belgium coach carrying school teachers and pupils crashed into a wall in the Sierre Tunnel.

Of the 52 people on board, 28 were killed in the crash, including both drivers, all four teachers, and 22 of the 46 children. The other 24 pupils, all aged between 10 and 12, were injured, including three who were hospitalised with severe brain and chest injuries.

The coach transporting mostly school teachers and students from a skiing holiday in Val d'Anniviers crashed at around 9.15 pm while travelling on the A9 motorway near Sierre, in the southern canton of Valais.

It was Switzerland's second-worst road accident in history and the country's worst in a motorway tunnel. Initial reports suggest the driver was not driving under the influence and was not breaking the speed limit.

Although the exact cause of the crash was not determined, experts have narrowed the cause of the crash to either driver fatigue or some sort of undetected medical issue.

Coach travel is statistically the safest form of road passenger transport, safely carrying millions of school children every day. However, even just one fatality is too many and there's still a lot more we can do to make coach travel even more safer.

5 years after the Sierre coach crash and driver fatigue still remains a common problem. A European Commission Report has linked driver fatigue in up to 30% of coach crashes, with most of these crashes happening on motorways and during overnight driving.

 

School funding and coach safety cuts

The world of economics and funding cuts not only effects schools but also has found its way through to coach safety. Many schools, when hiring a coach, are faced with the only choice but to opt for the cheapest quote, which doesn't always guarantee the safest coach.

There are certain coach and tour operators who either take advantage or are forced to cut coach safety related costs in order to offer the lowest possible price. These measures have now sadly become common-place in order to guarantee the sale or to prevent going out of business.

Some of these cost cutting measures include: inadequate sleeping provision for coach drivers before embarking on the long overnight journey - a high risk combination which gambles with children's lives.

 

What's the solution

There's no getting away from the fact that providing quiet sleeping accommodation for coach drivers right up until the start of an overnight journey will cost more and this is a cost that some schools just cannot afford alone. However, many coach companies, tour operators and local businesses realise this and are now willing to help out schools and youth groups with these increased costs - here's how

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Communities, including parents, can now collect Free Days Out for Schools Vouchers when they shop local with small independent retailers and businesses. Vouchers can then be donated to schools & youth groups and redeemed, with participating coach and tour operators, to help to reduce the cost of coach travel as part of activities and education outside the classroom.

Each voucher will save money and supports the nightcap campaign to improve child safety when traveling by coach. If enough vouchers are collected it could be possible to also cover the whole cost of the coach hire for the school!

Please lets not all wait around for the next related fatality to happen before we're compelled to act and then only try do something when it's too late!

 

How to get involved...

 

 

 

  • Shop Local
  • Transport in the Community
  • BUSK