A proud family business, Martin’s Coaches has been serving the people of Ireland for over 40 years. Based in Annacotty, Co Limerick, brothers William and Paddy Martin run the operation, with William and his wife Noelle managing the business operations and tours, and Paddy running the garage and maintenance team which maintains not only Martin’s Coaches own fleet but offers services to other coach firms.
We spoke to William after CameraMatics engineers installed 360˚ camera systems (comprising forward, right, left, rear & passenger cameras) to the company’s coaches.
William highlights three main reasons for choosing to install video safety systems across his coach fleet. To protect drivers, to help with insurance costs and last but definitely not least to ensure the coaches are as safe as possible for passengers and all road users.
William takes the safety and wellbeing of his drivers extremely seriously. “Drivers can be under a lot of pressure, with a coach full of passengers, multiple trips in one day, heavy traffic – the list goes on,” he explained. “Equipping our coaches with video safety technology is one of a number of measures we’re taking to protect our drivers.”
William feels the cameras benefit drivers in a few ways. “I see the cameras as ‘a friend in the cab,’” he tells us. “They help us with driver training and CPD – and they also provide a record of every journey which can be invaluable in the event of an incident or accident”.
But how do the drivers feel?
There was a little nervousness at first which is natural with any new technology, William explains, but the any apprehension drivers had well and truly evaporated after a couple of days. “Our drivers know we’re on their side”, says William, “we value them, and this is another way of showing that we’re looking after them.”
William, who is also Vice-Chair of the Coach Tourism & Transport Council (CTTC), believes that video safety technology is now essential for coach operators. Not least because it is so valuable in defending against false claims.
“Unfortunately, in the event of an incident or accident, the default position tends to be to point the finger of blame at the largest vehicle- or the commercial vehicle,” says William. He goes on to explain that the situation with underwriters in Ireland can mean it is often cheaper and easier to settle a claim – even when knowing a driver was not at fault – than to fight to prove innocence.
“The cameras change all that,” William explains, “they even up the situation because there’s now a ‘neutral observer’ in the cab and the video footage doesn’t lie.”
Even if footage proves the coach driver was at fault, it can be put to good use as a training tool to avoid a repeat incident. The driver can put their hands up, rectify any driving issues for the future, and the claim can be settled quickly.
All cargo is precious, but carrying people brings with it an extra layer of responsibility. “We feel it’s our job to make our coaches as safe as they possible for passengers,” says William, “we have a duty to do our very best by our customers and equipping the coaches with video safety technology is an important step,” he explains.
For parents with children travelling to school by coach, knowing there is video footage can be reassuring. Although the driver is aware of behaviour on the coach, they cannot hear every conversation or see every interaction – and they’re concentrating on driving safely. So, when one school reached out to us because of reports of nastiness towards a child on the coach, we were able to securely access and view the video footage and help the school resolve the issue.
William chose CameraMatics because of the quality of the product offering, and recommendations from other bus and coach operators including Airbus in Dublin. “I liked the website, the sales team were knowledgeable and helpful and it makes sense to choose a local provider. We were very pleased with the nice, neat installations too.”
“I’m not the most technical person so the training was incredible, a real eye-opener for me,” says William, “it equipped me well for using the CameraMatics system on a daily basis and the technology has made a real difference to the business.”
“I would recommend CameraMatics to others without a doubt. As well as all the additional benefits of safety, security and driver protection, it’s a no brainer from a financial point of view. You either pay for the system or you pay on your insurance – time and time again. It’s an essential investment.”
“We’re delighted that a well-respected operator like Martin’s Coaches chose CameraMatics,” said Simon Murray, CameraMatics co-founder and CCO. “We look forward to working together for many years to come to keep drivers, passengers and road users safe – and to keep those insurance costs down.”