BUSK will meet with Minister of State for Education on 19 April to discuss safety improvements for passengers and drivers on school trips.
Currently, many tour companies force coach drivers to share rooms and/or provide some of the worst accommodation in a hotel for drivers as they are not seen as paying guests. BUSK argues that drivers should not only have a room to the same standard as the party they are driving but should have single rooms in a quiet area of the hotel so they are not disturbed. Drivers report that sharing a room with a co-driver that snores is literally a nightmare and that not all drivers want lights out at the same time. They say they need their own space to relax and sleep so they are completely refreshed each time they get behind the wheel.
BUSK can also reveal that some drivers are expected to sleep in tents and sheds on activity holiday sites. Whilst this may be very acceptable to the pupils and teachers who are on an adventure holiday it must be remembered that drivers are not on holiday. They are working and noise from others cannot be blocked out when sleeping in a tent. Drivers are also deeply concerned at how they are compromised by being expected to share shower blocks with children. This of course throws up safeguarding issues that teachers should question but in reality, does not seem to be happening. When asked why drivers are required to share shower blocks, BUSK was told, "This is France, what do you expect?"
For parents everywhere that are blissfully unaware of the situation away from home, it is time now to ask some searching questions of the tour company or your child's school prior to allowing your child to travel to one of these camping sites. It is bad enough that children are sharing washing facilities with drivers but even more worrying to learn that the drivers are plain dog-tired due to the poor sleeping facilities they are given. Tour companies and activity holiday site owners have a legal duty to provide proper accommodation that allows drivers to sleep undisturbed. In short, it just is not happening and parents need to act now.
For more information contact BUSK directly on 01633 274944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.