Customer Safety Toolkit: Transportation

Below is a curated list of our top transportation safety resources—covering the measures we recommend our customers prioritize and work to implement first. These are, of course, only the beginning to transporting youth safely. For more tools, guidance and resources, please visit our transportation safety resource library.

12- and 15-Passenger Vans 

In 2003, a 15-passenger van transporting campers and counselors rolled over in a crash. Kaitlyn, a 13-year-old Counselor-In-Training, died in the crash. Again in 2004, a 15-passenger van transporting children for a youth-program rolled, killing Guadalupe, an 11-year-old girl enrolled in the program. Redwoods took a strong position on the use of 12- and 15-passenger vans in 2004—asking our customers to discontinue the use of these vans in favor of safer alternatives.

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Below are the primary reasons why Redwoods works with our customers to discontinue the use of vans:

  • 12- and 15-passenger vans were designed to carry cargo, not people
  • The vans’ uneven weight distribution (from passenger aisle, high roof and seating extending beyond the rear axel), gave the van a higher propensity for rolling over and tire blow out
  • The lack of side impact protection caused the vans’ walls to crumple in a rollover, causing more severe injury and death

Thanks to improvements made by the automotive industry, we are now accepting some specific models of 12- and 15-passenger vans to be used by our customers. In order to qualify, vans must be manufactured after 2011 and be equipped with the following safety features:

  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring
  • Side Curtain Airbags
  • Center Aisle

Acceptable vans, in order of preference, are as follows:

  1. Ford Transit Low Roof
  2. Nissan NV 3500
  3. Ford Transit Medium Roof

Despite improvements, it’s important to note that these vans are still rated relatively poorly for safety—and will cost more to insure as a result. School buses, minibuses and minivans continue to be our preferred vehicles for transporting children.

Catalytic Converter

Catalytic converter theft is one of the most frequent types of auto loss that we see at Redwoods. When stolen, finding a replacement can be challenging, expensive to fix and may interrupt your transportation and programming.

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Below are some recommendations on how you can protect your vehicles from catalytic converter theft:

Higher-Cost Solutions

  • Park vehicles and buses in secure lots
  • Monitor the area or perimeter of the lots with burglar alarms as well as security cameras
  • Select lots that are in highly visible locations
  • Select fencing that allows individuals to still see in the lot
  • Install bright lighting or motion sensor lights in the secure lot
  • Place substantial gates at the entrance of the lot in order to prevent vehicular access
  • Select an area that has high activity as it will increase the possibility of discovery
  • Purchase clamp kits to protect the catalytic converter

Lower-Lost Solutions

  • Park on the street under lights
  • Park in an area where police tend to patrol
  • Patriciate in an active neighborhood watch program
  • Make the converter identifiable to your organization by etching the name of your organization into the converter or by using a permanent marker
  • Spray the converter with high-temperature paint

Safe Drivers

The safety of your drivers and the people you transport is very important. Whether the drivers at your organization are transporting youth or picking up supplies for your programs, it is important that you have the right drivers in place.

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Below are tools that will help you select drivers for your organization.

  • Driver Skill Verification: This checklist will help you test each driver and evaluate whether or not they meet your safety criteria.
  • Driver Selection and Control: The resource and table will help you select and maintain safe drivers.

Sample Tools & Templates

We have compiled a list of sample tools and templates that will assist your organization in making sure all transportation is safe.

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