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MiniPlus Article
December 05 2018
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Claire’s Charter aims to make all
school-operated minibuses safe

A new charter aiming to make school minibus travel as safe as possible – has been launched.

It marks the 25th anniversary of the Hagley School minibus crash, in which a teacher and 12 pupils were killed. The teacher fell asleep, crashing into a maintenance lorry on the hard shoulder of the M40 near Warwick.

The Charter is named after victim Claire Fitzgerald

The parents of one of the victims, Claire Fitzgerald, have launched a code of conduct, called Claire’s Charter. They maintain that in many cases, children are no safer today in school minibuses than they were in 1993.

Says father Steve Fitzgerald: “The teacher was not governed by a tachograph. She worked for 16 hours on the day of the crash, in school, then driving to London with 14 pupils, supervising them all evening at the event. She stood for several hours as there were no theatre seats available and then she set off to drive the pupils back to school with an estimated arrival time of midnight.”

BUSK Director Pat Harris says:  “The Fitzgerald family has asked BUSK to campaign on their behalf and to kickstart this, we begin with Claire’s Charter.

“It sets out measures that Claire’s family believe should apply to all schools that run a minibus operation.”

Claire’s Charter aims to highlight the importance of understanding the law surrounding a minibus operation, the law for drivers of minibuses and to press government to introduce measures to ensure all minibus drivers meet the requirements of a commercial operation.

“BUSK believes it is the only way to ensure the safety of, not just the pupils but also the teachers.

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