Capital Metro was recognized during the opening session of the American Public Transportation Association annual conference in Seattle yesterday. We received a 2009 Bus Safety Awards Certificate of Merit for a bus operator safety program that has been successful in reducing collisions.
Since 2005, Capital Metro has implemented a safety outreach program each May and June to combat what we’ve called the June Jump. Data for several years prior to 2005 showed that collision accidents spiked every year during June. Other transit agencies in Texas all experienced the same phenomenon. Our safety team, led by Director of Safety & Security Mark Ostertag, researched the factors that may contribute to accidents in June, and developed a tailored bus operator training program to help curb the June Jump. Consequently, in the first two years after implementing the program, June accidents dropped 53 percent from the average of the three years prior.
You may be wondering, like I was, what makes June more hazardous than other months.
1. School is out. A greater number of higher-risk (teen) drivers are out on the road.
2. It starts getting really hot in June, and studies have shown that as temperatures rise, so does aggressive behavior.
3. June has the longest hours of daylight of the entire year, and glare is a significant concern during June.
4. June is the peak of vacation season, and out-of-town vacationers (who may be unfamiliar with our streets, or trying to read a map while they drive) driving around Austin increase by several thousand.
5. June is consistently one of the two highest months for DWI and DUI arrests.
6. Austin receives the second highest amount of rainfall in June, and wet roads make for slippery roads.