Transportation network company HopSkipDrive said its drivers who provided over 400,000 rides last year to mostly K-12 students are safer than the average safe motorist on the road.
Some of that is attributed to the 15-point certification process, including fingerprinting against the FBI database as well as county and state records, that HopSkipDrive requires of applicants before they can become “CareDrivers” (they also must have at least five years of caregiving experience, and have a vehicle that is under 10 years old and passes an inspection by a certified mechanic).
According to data released by the company on Tuesday, zero critical safety concerns arose during the over 7 million miles traveled last year, more than twice the distance that CareDrivers covered in 2020.
The 2021 Safety Report was the third of its kind published by the company since it was founded in 2014. It reports data that was tracked from over 400,000 rides logged, with the majority of passengers being students under the age of 18 who rode in CareDriver vehicles on their way to and from school or related events.
The report found that despite one in every five crashes being directly attributed to a phone-related distraction, citing to a 2020 survey conducted by Zendrive, no such behaviors were detected with CareDrivers who were involved in a collision prior to impact.
The data also concluded that CareDrivers are safer on the road than average drivers. Citing figures in the 2018 Safe Driving Report published by EverQuote, the report said that the average safe driving score of CareDrivers was 87.3 out of 100, a 1 percent increase from 2020 when there were fewer CareDrivers on the road, compared to the average safe driving score of 79.
“HopSkipDrive goes above and beyond for safety; we are proactive, innovative and relentless to set the bar for ourselves and the industry,” said company CEO and co-founder Joanna McFarland in a statement. “Publishing this Safety Report is just one tool we use to be transparent and consistently hold ourselves accountable. I encourage others in the school transportation industry to be just as accountable by publishing their own safety data.”
HopSkipDrive primarily serves students who are protected under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and that attend 350 school districts in 20 markets across 10 states and the District of Columbia. The company also works with county agencies, independent and charter schools, and non-profit organizations.
Additionally, HopSkipDrive provides limited transportation to older adults who need additional assistance during trips, such as to medical appointments.
Using real-time ride tracking and safe driving monitoring, part of its Safe Ride Support system, HopSkipDrive said 99.699 percent of the 400,000 rides logged across the 18 markets in eight states and the District of Columbia, that the company operated in last year, didn’t result in any kind of documented safety-related concern. The company has since added two more markets in two states to its service area.
A company spokeswoman explained that Safe Ride Support works through a combination of live GPS tracking and a team of specialized support staff based nationwide that monitor all rides in real-time, “ensuring they can proactively solve any potential issues.”
“Caregivers on a child’s account and ride organizers can also track the ride in real-time and call CareDrivers on a masked number,” she continued. “Caregivers, ride organizers and CareDrivers can also reach HopSkipDrive’s Safe Ride Support team in one call or chat. In addition, telematics software in the CareDriver app detects events of risky driving behavior, ensuring we promote iterative driving improvement for optimal safety.”
The support includes real-time collision detection alerts sent immediately to the team, she added, which then calls the CareDriver to verify what happened and begin contacting appropriate contacts for the rider.
According to the company’s data, about 8,000, or 0.02 percent of the rides last year experienced a traffic collision while on route, and the other driver was responsible for causing the collision in 68.9 percent of all incidents. Fault could not be determined in another 1.6 percent of collisions.
The 0.02 percent figure was virtually the same as what was published in the company’s 2019 Safety Report. The same statistic was 0.029 percent in 2019, but that report covered the company’s first five years in operation.
Only 1,600 rides last year, or 0.004 percent of the total, experienced a major collision—classified as a fatality occurring, medical attention being needed, a passenger being “checked out” by a professional, or one of the involved vehicles being towed from the scene. The number is up slightly from 2020, but that year logged a quarter of the 2021 rides.
The HopSkipDrive spokeswoman added no students or CareDrivers were killed in a collision last year, and the company has not experienced any fatalities in its eight-year history. Over that period, HopSkipDrive has logged over 20 million safe miles driven with over 1 million students aboard.
The report added that no critical safety incident of any kind, as defined by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, was recorded during any trip. Examples include actual or attempted non-consensual sexual penetration and kissing or touching of either a sexual or non-sexual body part.
HopSkipDrive also detailed its COVID-19 practices, as CareDrivers and riders were required to wear masks during all rides. An app feature requires CareDrivers to affirm they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms and have not recently tested positive before offering rides through the company platform.
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