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Motorcoach risk management and loss prevention


Table of Contents About Protective Insurance

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By Todd Carrier

Turn and tail swing accident prevention techniques

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By Todd Carrier

Preventing slip and fall injuries

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By Todd Carrier

Occupant protection systems: It’s time to save with safety

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By Charlie Vits

The benefits of telematics and driver coaching

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By Dick Mahany

Don’t slam on the brakes!

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By Todd Carrier

Crisis management and emergency planning

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By Todd Carrier

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About Protective Insurance Company Protective Insurance Company is licensed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and all Canadian provinces and provides coverage for trucking fleets of all sizes. We offer a public transportation insurance program that provides comprehensive coverage for charter and tour bus companies, school bus contractors and limousine services. We provide complete coverage for public transportation fleets, including charter bus, school bus and limousine operations. Through an exclusive network of partner agents, we offer the following coverages, available in all 50 states: • Auto liability • General liability • Garage liability • Workers’ compensation • Physical damage Deductibles are available upon request and we have the ability to package all lines of coverage. We target fleets that have been in business for five or more years and have 10 units or more, a good loss ratio and strong financials. Why partner with Protective? For some insurance companies, the work ends once a policy is written. At Protective, that’s when we’re just getting started. Rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best, we are a financially strong company who is equally invested in the safety of your drivers. We provide superior claims service and comprehensive loss prevention and risk management resources. We also have flexible payment plans tailored to match the seasonality of the public transportation business. Visit www.protectiveinsurance.com to find an agent near you.

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LESSONS LEARNED

Turn and tail swing accident prevention techniques By Todd Carrier Have you ever come close to making contact with an object or vehicle while turning? Are you aware of how wide the rear of the bus will go as it makes the turn? Turns can be dangerous and costly if you don’t take the necessary precautions before and during these maneuvers. They are among the most common type of accident in the school bus and motorcoach industry. Most of these accidents are minor and usually involve something small such as a mailbox, mirror or stop sign. However, these accidents can also involve pedestrians and bicyclists, resulting in extensive bodily harm. For example, a right turn in a school bus on a tight residential street may only result in the right rear tire going over someone’s sidewalk or lawn. But a left turn in a motorcoach in a parking lot drop-off situation could knock a pedestrian into a parked car, causing severe bodily injury. Poorly adjusted mirrors, not knowing the dimensions of the bus, speed and proximity of fixed/moving objects can all contribute to this type of accident. So how can companies avoid turning accidents? First, always know the length and width of the vehicle. Many school buses have a standard width of 8.5 feet and length of 40-45 feet, while motorcoaches have a standard width of 9 feet and length of 45 feet. Follow company policy on pre-inspections and be sure to take note of the vehicle’s dimensions, especially if you are assigned to a different vehicle than normal. The rear axle of the bus acts as a pivot point for the rear of the vehicle. However, the distance between the rear axle and the rear of the bus is much greater than that of a passenger car. This part of the bus between the rear axle and rear of the bus is commonly referred to as the “tail swing” because it appears to swing around during a turning maneuver. The tail swing can be 10 feet or more on a standard school bus and almost as much on a motorcoach. Make sure that mirrors are properly adjusted so you can be sure that the rear of the bus will adequately clear vehicles, pedestrians and objects when it begins the turn. Begin with the driver side mirror. If you can see the windows on the side of the bus, the mirror needs to be pushed out. Remember to check the right side of the bus when turning left and to check the left side of the bus when turning right. And always be certain your vehicle has the right of way before beginning the turn. During the turn, it’s necessary to ensure that the rear axle is up far enough to keep the bus from pinching objects on the right once the bus begins to pivot to the right. Check the right flat and convex mirrors for space as the bus continues through the turn. Re-check the left mirrors for clearance in the event that a vehicle or person has entered the area where the tail swing has occurred. Once the vehicle has completed the turn, check the mirrors and straighten out the front wheels before accelerating. 4

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Ensure that your rear axle is up far enough to keep your bus from pinching objects on your right once the bus begins to pivot to the right.

The part of the bus between the rear axle and rear of the bus is commonly referred to as the tail swing. The tail swing can be 10 feet or more on a standard school bus and almost as much on a motorcoach.

When turning from a single lane into a double lane, always turn into the far lane and make the transition to the desired lane well after the turn. When entering a double turn, always stay in the outside lane to avoid a pinch by an outside vehicle. Finally, it’s important to ensure the vehicle’s pre-trip inspection includes cleaning off the windshields, mirrors and side windows, adjusting the mirrors properly, and knowing the dimensions of the vehicle and tail swing. Todd Carrier serves as director of risk management for Protective Insurance Company, Carmel, IN. Watch Protective Insurance Company’s “Safety Solutions: Turns and Tail Swings” video online at www.youtube.com/protectiveinsurance. For more information, please email lossprevention@protectiveinsurance.com

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LESSONS LEARNED

Preventing slip and fall injuries By Todd Carrier Does your organization understand the risks associated with slips and falls? Can you properly identify hazards and implement a plan to prevent these injuries? They may seem like minor incidents, but slips and falls can escalate into very serious injuries that keep drivers off the road, workers off the job and cost companies a significant amount of money. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in the U.S., almost 9 million people are injured each year from “unintentional falls.” The actual claim trends are difficult to quantify as many of these incidents are either not reported or are improperly categorized. Aside from motor vehicle-related injuries, slips and falls are one of the most common injuries in the transportation industry. According to Protective Insurance Company’s data, the average three-year value of a slip and fall workers’ compensation claim is over $18,000 per incident. The majority of slip and fall incidents occur in parking lots, on sidewalks, at building entrances and in lobby areas. Injuries sustained are typically sprains, strains, contusions, and fractures to the wrist, elbow and shoulders. More severe injuries can also occur to the back, neck and head. It’s important to understand the exposures and contributing factors, which can be categorized into the following four groups: The walking surface The most significant issue that contributes to slips and falls is the surface itself. Most natural rough surfaces like dirt, stone, asphalt and concrete have a high coefficient of friction. Hard smooth surfaces such as tile, laminate or marble usually have a lower coefficient of friction. Another issue is a change from one type of surface to another, such as from carpet to vinyl, asphalt to tile, or from wet to dry. This is difficult to control, particularly when drivers are out on the road transporting passengers. At company locations however, operators and agencies have more control and should implement a robust weather maintenance program with regular documented inspections. Changes in level and elevation A change in level usually includes steps, ramps, uneven walking surfaces or condition that even insignificantly changes surface height. This would include sidewalk edges, curbs, potholes and loose carpeting or tile. Stairs, elevators, and escalators can be extremely dangerous and are more likely to cause serious injury. Handrails should be used at all times. Some older buildings have improperly designed tread width and riser height with awkward levels. It’s also important to ensure that any change in level is properly distinguished with signage or yellow paint and with adequate lighting for visibility. Substances and obstructions Foreign substances such as ice, liquids, grease, powders, granules or even painted surfaces can create unsafe situations. It’s also possible that a surface can be treated with cleaners or waxes that completely change the slip-resistant factor. Sometimes obstructions such as

leaves, a garden hose, extension cord or debris are in the walking path. Visibility can also be considered a type of obstruction. For example, poor or dim lighting can cause shadows or changes in color which affects our ability to process what we see. Finally, be sure that those responsible for interior housekeeping immediately clean up any spill or obstruction and report any feature that is in need of repair. Footwear Besides the surface itself, footwear has the single largest impact on slip-resistance on any walking surface. Slip-resistant shoes have special soles that provide more traction and grip on slippery surfaces. Many people are under the impression that tennis shoes are slip-resistant because of their design and rubber soles. This is a myth and there is a significant difference. If you’ve been wearing the same pair of shoes for a while, check the condition of the soles and replace them if they are visibly worn. Wearing any type of shoe, even slip-resistant shoes, with soles that are worn or inappropriate for the job is an accident waiting to happen. In summary, slip and fall incidents can escalate into very serious injuries that keep drivers off the road and cost companies money. While more common in adverse weather conditions, they can happen any time of the year, indoors or outdoors. It’s important to understand the contributing factors and make all reasonable efforts to prevent these injuries. Todd Carrier serves as director of risk management for Protective Insurance Company, Carmel, IN. Watch Protective’s “Safety Solutions: Preventing slips and falls” video online at www.youtube.com/protectiveinsurance . For more information or to request a copy of their “Slip and Fall Assessment Guide,” please email: lossprevention@protectiveinsurance.com

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LESSONS LEARNED

Occupant protection systems: It’s time to save with safety By Charlie Vits

The U.S. school bus is the most regulated vehicle with over 37 federal standards and a myriad of other state and local requirements. With the exception of California however, there are no legislated requirements for the protection of traveling students with lap shoulder belts. Currently, the majority of children are protected in school buses by compartmentalization. In the event of a low-speed, forward crash, children impact the padded seat back structure in front of them to absorb the energy of the collision. “A bus driver’s biggest fear is a motor vehicle accident that results in bodily injury to passengers, particularly involving children,” says Todd Carrier of Protective Insurance Company. “The debate on whether compartmentalization is enough is heating up.” Lap shoulder belt seats on school buses were first introduced in 2002, and California was first to require them in 2005. In 2008, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration concluded research that began in 1998, confirming its recognition of the use of lap shoulder belts in school buses by publishing a ruling on design and performance standards effective beginning 2011. Technology has continued to improve the systems, and today’s seats offer a wide variety of features to accommodate various student needs. The basic seating package has the flexibility to accommodate either three small elementary students, or two larger upper grade students. In most cases, capacity remains the same with or without belts.

So, why has the school transportation industry been slow to adapt to lap shoulder belt safety? “The main objection keeps coming down to the expense associated with their installation and use,” Carrier says. “Fleets’ number one priority is passenger safety, yet operating costs, maintenance, training, and proper usage are all important factors to consider.” Real world costs typically add $7,000 - $10,000 per bus to a new bus that already costs $70,000 to $150,000. Although the technology adds cost to the bottom line price of a bus, school districts should view the addition of lap shoulder belts as a cost savings. Savings can be recognized from something as simple as decreasing minor injuries when a bus must make a panic stop. Furthermore, recent crash tests performed by IMMI, a leader in advanced safety systems, have revealed the increased potential for serious injury when students are not seated properly within their seating compartments. 6

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Simulation of belted vs. unbelted students in a school bus roll situation.

Lap shoulder belts also offer significant improvements in student management. Reports of 90 percent reduction in write-ups of student behavior incidents on school buses have been documented when lap shoulder belts are used in conjunction with an enforceable usage policy. “Costs for medical attention, vehicle and property repairs and potential lawsuits can far outweigh costs for lap shoulder belts,” Carrier says. “Considering the life of an average school bus is 12 to 15 years, the likelihood of one incident occurring during the life of the bus, even a minor incident, can pay for the lap shoulder belt many times over. Regardless of any impending federal mandate, it’s time for the industry to begin planning for the future.” In February of 2015, NHTSA announced their intent to reinvestigate the installation of lap shoulder belts in school buses, which could result in some type of additional mandate for their installation on school buses. However, across this nation, school districts small and large have already reviewed the merits of lap shoulder belts and decided to proceed to equip their buses with them rather than wait for a mandate. Those districts that have carefully implemented lap shoulder belts with enforceable usage policies have found the results to be so beneficial they will not go back to a school bus with out-ofdate safety technology. Charlie Vits is the market development manager at IMMI, a research partner with Protective Insurance Company on transportation occupant protection. An industry leader in the design, testing, and manufacturing of advanced safety systems, IMMI is headquartered in Westfield, IN. To learn more, please visit www.imminet.com and www.safeguardseat.com

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LESSONS LEARNED

The benefits of telematics and driver coaching By Dick Mahany

Gone are the days of fleets being out of communication with drivers until they return from a trip. As technology has advanced and become more affordable, fleet managers have discovered more ways than ever to improve the performance of their drivers and track the movement of their motorcoaches or school buses. One type of technology that is becoming increasingly popular among public transportation fleets is telematics. Telematics integrates vehicle monitoring systems, three-axis accelerometers, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and cellular technology in a device that is smaller than a deck of cards. The device serves as an operator’s eyes and ears on the road, providing valuable data to help improve customer service, driver safety and operations management. Some systems even include video capture with both interior and exterior views. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently concluded that event-based on-board video systems, along with a driver feedback program, can provide significant safety benefits. Vehicle tracking determines if drivers are on schedule and making stops as planned, and helps fleets predict arrival times. With this data, companies can alert customers if a vehicle is going to be late. ON AVERAGE, THE RISKIEST SPEED Additionally, vehicle 10% OF DRIVERS SPEED diagnostics, tracked 5 TIMES MORE IN A WEEK MORE by the telematics PER WEEK THAN THE REST COMBINED. device, can provide a picture of how comfortable the travel experience was for customers. For example, if a vehicle breaks down during Remainder of drivers Riskiest 10 percent a trip and requires maintenance, the instance can be logged by the device. Companies can then follow up with customers after the trip to apologize for the delay and explain that it was due to maintenance issues. Data on driver behavior is especially useful for making safety training effective and reducing accidents and injuries. Telematics monitoring tracks drivers’ actions during training and in real-time on the job to verify that they are putting into practice safe behaviors and techniques. Telematics data reports highlight trends in unsafe behaviors or improper procedures, helping to focus remedial training in the most needed areas. If a specific driver is not performing safely, operators can provide one-on-one feedback and monitor the driver closely to make sure the behavior is changed.

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Some telematics systems include video capture with both interior and exterior views. (Courtesy: Drivecam / Lytx, Inc.)

Industry research shows that 5 – 10 percent of drivers in a fleet consistently drive faster than posted speed limits, drive fastest on highways, and have more “hard stops” and “hard turns” than the other 90 – 95 percent of the workforce. The research also shows that drivers who have these speeding events aren’t necessarily driving longer distances than other drivers. These “high event count” drivers typically don’t speed to do their work; they speed because they don’t really understand the risks they are taking. “The cost of implementing and managing a robust safety program that includes telematics and formal driver coaching is much less than the cost of the losses themselves,” says Todd Carrier of Protective Insurance Company. “Our internal studies have shown that a driver behavior modification process based on relevant and timely telematics data can result in a 20 – 30 percent reduction in losses.” From a fleet management standpoint, telematics can increase operational efficiency. Vehicle diagnostics provided by the device show if vehicles are performing correctly or if maintenance is needed. The device can report developing problems detected by engine and drive-train sensors so timely maintenance can be planned that minimizes service interruptions and repairs. By regularly monitoring diagnostics reports, you can anticipate maintenance issues and fix them before any problems arise, thus reducing breakdowns and maintenance costs. Operators can also use the data to measure fuel use and incentivize drivers to reduce fuel costs by limiting idling, speeding and aggressive driving. Telematics improves customer service, promotes driver safety and helps protect the bottom line. As the amount of telematics data available continues to grow, risk management practices within both the insurance and public transportation industries will continue to grow in sophistication and effectiveness. Dick Mahany serves as director of insurance technology for Protective Insurance Company, Carmel, IN. To learn more about telematics best practices and loss prevention safety services, please visit www.protectiveinsurance.com/loss-prevention or email us at lossprevention@protectiveinsurance.com.

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LESSONS LEARNED

Don’t slam on the brakes!

Properly maintaining speed and following distance are crucial to safely operating a commercial motor vehicle, but even the most experienced drivers commonly follow too closely or do not properly control their speed. These behaviors could lead to a serious collision or passenger injury from braking too hard or taking a turn too fast and should be avoided.

All drivers should always obey posted speed limits but keep in mind they only apply when conditions are favorable. Visibility; road condition; vehicle length, condition and weight; work zones; and traffic all factor into determining a safe speed. Also, some states have raised speed limits to 75 mph or higher, which may be excessive for motorcoaches. Ultimately, a safe speed is one that is below the posted limit, allows the driver to easily control and stop the vehicle under current conditions and does not exceed the limits of the equipment.

A vehicle traveling at double the speed will require four times the braking distance because it has four times the energy. The same vehicle traveling at three times the speed will require nine times the braking distance.

Speed should always be reduced and following distance should be increased whenever the stopping distance of the vehicle is increased. Drivers should plan ahead for conditions that may require increased stopping distances including wet, icy or snow-covered roads and areas that have a higher potential for road hazards such as work zones and mountain roads. When faced with poor visibility at night or during adverse weather, drivers should reduce their speed to a point that will allow them to make a safe stop in the distance that they are able to see ahead.

How to maintain safe speed and following distance

Maintaining a proper following distance is just as important as properly controlling speed and will ensure the driver has enough time to slow down or stop their vehicle as necessary. Stopping distance is one of the most important To maintain a safe following distance, drivers factors in determining a safe speed and following need a way to easily measure this distance. The best distance. Stopping distance is calculated by adding way to do this is by using time. Drivers should look the distance traveled while perceiving a hazard, for an easily seen, stationary object that is in front of applying the brakes and braking. For example, the vehicle they are following. Reflective road signs an average, alert driver under ideal conditions can and lit overpasses are good objects to use for this By Todd Carrier perceive a hazard in 1.75 seconds and apply the brakes procedure, because they are easily seen during the day in 0.75 to 1 second. At 55 mph, the vehicle would travel and at night. Once the vehicle the driver is following 142 feet while the driver perceives the hazard and an passes the selected object, the driver should begin additional 61 feet while the driver moves to apply the brakes. counting in “Mississippi seconds” until their vehicle passes the Once the brakes are applied, it will take about 216 feet to stop same object. With this amount of time in mind, the driver should the vehicle if the brakes are in good condition and the vehicle is then calculate the proper following distance by adding one second traveling on dry pavement. The total for every 10 feet of vehicle length while stopping distance at 55 mph, under ideal rounding up to the next 10 feet and one conditions, adds up to be a minimum of additional second each for traveling over 419 feet. This distance can be drastically 40 mph, nighttime, poor visibility and increased by conditions that affect the poor road conditions. performance of the driver and/or the vehicle, such as distractions, adverse Training your drivers to properly weather or road conditions, worn brakes maintain their speed and create safe or tires and other factors. following distances, along with reducing speed and increasing following distance Speed has a large impact on stopping when in doubt, will go a long way distance because the time it takes for to prevent collisions and passenger an alert driver to perceive a hazard under good conditions and injury and will lessen the severity of any collisions or injuries that move to apply the brakes will be a constant. This means that the do occur. distance traveled before the brakes can be applied will be the same unless the speed of the vehicle is reduced. Increased speed not Todd Carrier serves as director of risk management for Protective Insurance only increases the distance traveled before the brakes are applied, Company, Carmel, IN. Watch Protective Insurance Company’s “Safety Solutions: Turns and Tail Swings” video online at www.youtube.com/protectiveinsurance. but increases the amount of energy required to stop the vehicle. For more information, please email lossprevention@protectiveinsurance.com.

Stopping distance is one of the most important factors in determining a safe speed and following distance.

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The second step in crisis planning is to analyze hazards and capabilities. Begin by collecting all relevant policies, procedures and documents that exist, from the executive level all the way to operations, drivers and support staff. Gather as much detail as possible about incident reporting and emergency procedures, such as a call tree, first responders and investigation steps. Once you’ve collected this information, perform a vulnerability analysis or risk assessment. A vulnerability analysis can be as simple as a spreadsheet that lists scenarios with their estimated probability of occurrence and severity of impact. Start with the most basic issues that require emergency response such as fires, floods, tornadoes, winter storms, earthquakes and hurricanes. Then list everything By Todd Carrier you can think of that could negatively affect company operations, such as environmental “Expect the unexpected.” spills, worker injury, motor COMPONENTS OF A CRISIS MANAGEMENT PLAN It’s an often overused vehicle crashes, workplace cliché, but planning and violence, terrorism, health practicing for unthinkable epidemics, and even utility Executive events is more critical than Contact and technology failures. summary & information ever in today’s world. How introduction for key personnel, Next, identify your explaining the vendors, utilities will your company react if purpose of the plan critical processes, services, & authorities involved in a catastrophic operations, and people. event with news cameras Is there something or rolling? What will the driver someone that if removed, say? What will the public even just temporarily, think? With technology and would have an immediate social media linking the and detrimental impact Press kit world in seconds, there is no Official policies, with company on the business? Quantify procedures & information and longer a margin for error. pre-written statements both the vulnerabilities and documentation for various scenarios An emergency or crisis criticalities in relation to is a situation that has time, dollar impact, brand reached a critical phase in and reputation. Finally, to which immediate decisions truly understand the hazards introduce the possibility of and your capabilities, meet with outside subject matter experts a highly undesirable outcome. There are four basic steps in crisis including state and local emergency authorities, regulatory agencies, management and emergency planning: 1) establish a planning team, insurance specialists and safety consultants. 2) analyze hazards and capabilities, 3) develop the plan, and 4) The next step is to actually develop the plan. Start by drafting an implement, practice, refine. executive summary and table of contents. Organize the documents Start by establishing a planning team composed of individuals you’ve collected into sections such as procedures, contacts, diagrams in key roles throughout your organization, such as operations, and vendor/utility lists. Include specific steps and instructions, maintenance, safety, dispatch, sales and IT. You want accurate perhaps in a flow diagram or decision tree format. Try to answer representation from all aspects of the company, but keep the questions like “If this happens, then who is notified? How are they committee size manageable at no more than 10 people. Next, define notified? What action is taken and who is responsible?” roles and responsibilities for each person on the committee. Document Finally, once the initial plan has been drafted, it’s time to the areas they represent and the time commitment expected both in implement, practice and refine. Announce the existence of the the planning process and execution during a crisis. Don’t forget to plan, distribute copies and train key people and affected individuals. appoint a team chairperson or “crisis coordinator.” This person will Be sure that everyone in your organization understands their role and be the primary decision-maker and public relations speaker. has clear instructions on what to do and what not to do. To reinforce According to Jim Parham, COO of Hirons & Company, an this information, consider developing a wallet-sized “crisis card” for Indianapolis-based public relations firm, a crisis management plan drivers that contains emergency contact info, first step instructions, “really comes down to one word: Communication. This is much how to secure the site with law enforcement, and a strict policy more than an emergency telephone call tree. It’s a detailed plan on against discussing details with emergency responders or the media who should be contacted and why, how to interact with various until designated company officials arrive on the scene. public entities, legal representation and ultimately the general Test your plan regularly with outside organizations such as local philosophy of executive management.” Jim issues a reminder that law enforcement and fire departments. Consider conducting drills or in an emergency, “Your company should display consistency, exercises that simulate actual emergencies to work out the details and credibility, accuracy and speed.” timing. Your crisis management plan can be continuously improved To deliver an optimal response, develop a repository of pre-written and modified as necessary. statements for various scenarios. Remember, during an emergency, every second counts. Decisions must be pre-determined and Todd Carrier serves as director of risk management for Protective Insurance information flow should be clear and concise. Also consider developing Company, Carmel, IN. For more information, please email a press kit containing company background information, photos and lossprevention@protectiveinsurance.com. descriptions of facilities, the company’s annual report, community relations information, and executive biographies and photos.

LESSONS LEARNED

Crisis management and emergency planning

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Motorcoach risk management and loss prevention  

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