Cornwall Transit celebrated another year of safe driving during its 16th Annual Safe Driver/ Safe Worker Award breakfast on December 14. Employees in both the Operations and Maintenance department were presented with certificates and pins for their dedication to safe driving.
"The implementation of this project has helped promote a sense of pride and professionalism within our ranks and it has had a very positive effect on the elimination of preventable accidents," explained Division Manager Lenn Tapp.
Operator Tim Paulin was recognized for 24 years of safe driving by both Tapp and Department of Infrastructure and Municipal Works General Manager Norm Levac. Paulin said there's a lot of work and training that goes into having an accident-free year behind the wheel.
"We perform circle checks before starting our day," said Pauling, adding the drivers are trained to check the bus inside and out, all the way down to the bolts and hubcaps. "It's all about knowing your vehicle."
Also celebrating another year of safe driving was Kim Blanchard, who was hired on the same day as Paulin 33 years ago. Blanchard is now up to 29 years of getting his passengers home safely and has been the operator for the Pitt and McConnell route about 10 years. He attributes his safe driving to continuous training and good passengers. "Each year we are trained and tested in basic defensive driving," said Blanchard, adding the yearly road test emphasizes aspects such as proper turning and smoothness of stopping.
Cornwall Transit passengers will make over 700,000 individual trips by year's end, including about 40,000 Handi-Transit trips. However, Paulin and Blanchard aren't the only ones who excel in safe driving. Of Cornwall's 29 operators, 10 of them have 20 or more years of safe driving under their belts.
"Over the past 16 years, we have experienced very few preventable accidents," said Tapp. "This is no small accomplishment when you consider operators drive over 50,000 hours and 1,000,000 kilometres annually in urban traffic, pulling in and out of traffic every two blocks."
Most Cornwall Transit Operators who were recognized for another year of safe driving were behind the wheel for nearly 1,900 hours and/or 37,000 kilometres.
Not only has Cornwall Transit provided countless hours of safe driving but the number of passengers has significantly increased the past few years said Tapp. "We could top 750,000 rides this year. That's about 200,000 more than in 2008."