HopSkipDrive: Setting the bar above and beyond for safe youth transportation solutions
Written by Aylin Cook
Safety is so much more than checking a box for compliance.
Safety means going above and beyond the current ‘norms’ to set a much, much higher bar for ourselves and the industry as a whole.
We are proactive, innovative and relentless about safety. Our CareDriver certification process, innovative technology, proprietary Safe Ride Support system and COVID-Safe Ride Standards are just a few examples of how we consistently exceed regulatory requirements and TNC standards.
We are proactive and relentless about continuously improving safety features and processes. We’re completely transparent. We publish our safety metrics to hold ourselves and the market accountable.
We’re bringing safety into 2022, not just complying with regulations that were written years before. HopSkipDrive is the leading solution for safe youth transportation — for children today and tomorrow.
Safety is everything at HopSkipDrive.
HopSkipDrive is Proactive
We know that the best defense is a good offense. That’s why we’re proactive, looking ahead to the future of safety rather than doing the bare minimum for compliance. From the qualifications for CareDrivers to access the platform to the way we exceed Transportation Network Company (TNC) requirements to our advocacy for CANs checks, HopSkipDrive sets the highest bar for safe youth transportation solutions.
The 15-point CareDriver Certification Process
Better safety checks and balances begin with our CareDriver certification process. Our requirements for CareDrivers to access the platform far exceed others in the industry.
Our 15-point CareDriver certification process was developed to ensure trusted individuals with caregiving experience could access the platform. The result is that CareDrivers are more than drivers, they’re caregivers on wheels.
This certification process includes TNC requirements; but here are some ways we exceed the requirements:
- Five plus years of caregiving experience, at least three of it child-specific. Some industry peers ask for ‘childcare experience’ without specifying a period of time, while some don’t require caregiving experience at all.
- Pass a Child Abuse and Neglect Scan: Receive state-level clearance from the Department of Human Services database.* Many industry peers don’t ask for this.
- Minimum of three years driving experience.
- Good DMV records AND a continued good driving record. As per regulations, CareDrivers’ DMV records must show no recent hits of DUI, reckless driving, driving without a license, or multiple moving violations. However, CareDrivers also enroll in ongoing monitoring so that HopSkipDrive is quickly alerted of any new criminal or motor vehicle history.
- Must be age 23 or older. Most TNCs ask for drivers to be 18-21 year of age.
- Complete a live Orientation with a member of the HopSkipDrive Team.
*Implemented for prospective drivers in 2021. In some markets, this may be completed after activation on the platform for new and existing CareDrivers.
Criteria for staying on the platform
Once joining the platform, CareDrivers enroll in ongoing monitoring so that HopSkipDrive is alerted of any new criminal or motor vehicle history.
In addition, HopSkipDrive works with an industry-leading third-party app that detects unsafe driving patterns such as hard braking, hard acceleration and device use.
At the end of each week, CareDrivers receive information about their own driving patterns from the week before, along with resources on safe driving. No CareDriver who poses a safety risk to a Rider is permitted to use the Platform. (More on this later.)
HopSkipDrive regularly surpasses state regulations
While the Transportation Network Company regulating body varies from state to state, the following criteria applies across all states; this criteria often overlaps with state Department of Education requirements.
We far exceed:
- Minimum commercial insurance requirements in every state in which we operate.
- Background checks, using fingerprinting and child abuse and neglect checks. We also receive alerts which notify us if anything changes in a driver’s record.
- Motor vehicle search: We receive monthly notifications of any new driver infractions in most markets.
- Criminal and driving history regulations: CareDrivers must meet state Department of Education standards for individuals who work with children.
- Minimum age for driving on a TNC: CareDrivers must be at least 23 years of age and have five years of caregiving experience.
- Transparency requirements: HopSkipDrive requires multi-factor authentication at pickup. In addition, Ride Organizers and all users on a child’s account can track the ride in real-time.
Child Abuse and Neglect Checks
In California, CareDrivers must be cleared through TrustLine before they can join the platform.
All caregivers listed with TrustLine have been cleared through a fingerprint check of records at the California Department of Justice and FBI, in addition to a search of California Department of Social Services records. This means they have no disqualifying criminal convictions or substantiated child abuse reports in California.
To be proactive for the industry as a whole, we worked with the California Public Utilities Commission to adopt using Trustline as the standard for any rideshare company working with youth. We will continue to advocate for child abuse and neglect checks to be the standard for any transportation solutions for youth.
CANs checks will become standard HopSkipDrive procedure in every market in 2021.
HopSkipDrive is Innovative
HopSkipDrive created a new solution for safe youth transportation through an innovative TNC model. We also innovate by creating technology and processes that surpass others in the industry.
Telematics: Technology designed to maximize safe driving
Our technology is designed for maximum safety through the use of telematics. An industry leading third-party app records events of the six riskiest driving behaviors, including device use while driving, hard braking, rapid acceleration, tight turning, etc.
We can actually see the data on driving behavior and enable complete transparency for drivers: At the end of each week, CareDrivers receive information about their own driving patterns from the week before, along with resources on safe driving.
This technology is critical to our safety mission: we know that what matters must be measured.
Using insights gleaned from our tech, we published a Safety Report measuring driving behavior against industry benchmarks. We discovered that.
- CareDrivers’ device use while driving was 8X less than the general population! Distracted driving is currently the #1 cause of traffic accidents.
- An overwhelming majority of HopSkipDrive rides — 99.584% — were completed without any type of safety-related issue.
- 0.000% of rides experienced a critical safety incident of any kind.
- 0.029% of rides experienced a traffic accident, with 0.006% of those being a major accident in which one of the vehicles was towed away from the scene or medical attention was needed, including just to get checked out by a professional.
- The overall collision rate on the HopSkipDrive platform per mile driven was 140 times lower than the national average!
- CareDrivers were found to be 75.9% safer than all global drivers.
- HopSkipDrive was found to be 71.9% safer when compared against all Global TNCs.
Learn more by reading the HopSkipDrive Safety Report here.
Transparency and visibility
Our application also enables transparency and visibility for CareDrivers, Ride Organizers and families/caregivers. All users on a child’s account can track the ride happening in real-time, allowing rapid response for any issues that may come up.
CareDrivers, HopSkipDrive, Ride Organizers and parents/caregivers on a child’s account have a direct line to one another. Unlike third-party brokers, which contract with various transportation companies, each user of the platform can reach one another in one call or chat. Ride Organizers and CareDrivers can also contact HopSkipDrive directly. (User phone numbers are masked within the application for data privacy.)
HopSkipDrive is a service which arranges transportation for children ages six plus and protecting the privacy of children is very important to us. HopSkipDrive has implemented administrative, technical, and physical security controls designed to safeguard Personal Information.
The application, site and services are not directed to children and children are not eligible to use our site and services. Only parents, guardians and Ride Organizers (transportation staff) are authorized to use the services.
What CareDrivers see:
- When claiming rides, CareDrivers see only the pick-up and drop-off locations.
- Only after the ride has been matched to a CareDriver will the CareDriver see any ride notes provided by the Ride Organizer.
- Only upon pick-up will the CareDriver see the Rider’s information.
- Upon completion of the ride, Rider information is again masked in the CareDriver’s ride history following the ride.
- Once the ride is complete, we will eventually share the Rider or Ride Organizer’s rating and any feedback with the CareDriver, removing the Rider or Ride Organizer’s identity when doing so.
- Rider and Ride Organizer phone numbers are masked via in-app communication. In the case of a lost or found item, we will seek to connect you with the relevant CareDriver or Ride Organizer. No actual contact information will be shared without your consent.
As part of our COVID-Safe Ride Standards (more on this in the next section), HopSkipDrive facilitates anonymous COVID-19 exposure reporting to the extent that such notification does not jeopardize privacy interests. No personal information is shared in the process.
COVID-Safe Ride Standards: Setting the bar for the industry
When the pandemic hit, we went into action to create COVID-Safe Ride Standards. Taking guidance from the CDC, local regulations and public health experts, we created in-app features which:
- Enables CareDrivers to affirm they were asymptomatic and had not been exposed to COVID-19 prior to each day they planned on offering rides through the platform.
- Enables CareDrivers to affirm that they have cleaned and sanitized their vehicle prior to each ride.
- Reminds Ride Organizers to not schedule rides for riders with COVID-19 symptoms and/or if they had been exposed to COVID-19.
- Reminds CareDrivers and Ride Organizers that all Users of the platform should be equipped with personal protective equipment.
- Enables real-time feedback, critical to compliance by all Users.
We also introduced new features to the market, such as plastic dividers between front and back seats; we are currently the only solution for youth transportation to require these. (Plastic dividers are no longer required.)
HopSkipDrive not only created these ride standards, we published them openly to set the bar for others in the industry. We made the decision to openly share our standards — and exactly what they entail — because we’re committed to keeping everyone safe and healthy by sharing what we know.
HopSkipDrive is Relentless
HopSkipDrive is proactive, innovative and relentless about being the safest solution for youth transportation needs. Relentless is our third pillar because we don’t rely on what we’ve already done. We never stop; we never think checking the box is enough.
We are relentless about being — and staying — the safest platform to enable transportation access for Riders, CareDrivers and Ride Organizers. We are relentless about every aspect of safety: data privacy of all users, data-driven improvements, constant iteration on processes and technologies, examining our own safety features, building a Safety Advisory Board and more.
Every year we publish an in-depth Safety Report, detailing critical safety data. We not only use it internally, we share it with the world to hold ourselves and the market accountable. We put our real, hard data out into the world, while using it internally to be proactive and innovate further.
No other youth transportation solution publishes its results, but we do because we are relentless about keeping everyone (including ourselves) accountable.
Access our Safety Report here.
Safety Advisory Board
We launched a Safety Advisory Board in 2019. The board includes a hand-picked group of industry leaders at the very top of their respective fields—from the Founder and former CEO of one of the largest school bus companies in the U.S. to leaders of some of the most well-respected organizations on youth transportation safety to a public health expert to advise us on COVID-Safe features and processes.
Information on our current Safety Advisory Board can be found here.
We’re a thought leader in the safety world, publishing content in industry publications and on our own site. We’re transparent with our innovations because we are concerned about the safety of our community. We fought to include CANs checks for all California youth transportation solutions so that all children could be safe, not just the ones that ride with HopSkipDrive.
Read additional safety content here: Safety FAQs, Why a TNC is the smart solution for your alternative school transportation needs, Transparency: Why it matters and questions to ask your alternative transportation solution, HopSkipDrive: Misconception vs. reality.
HopSkipDrive is never afraid to set a new standard, and we constantly challenge ourselves to innovate in the field of safety — from launching a HopSkipDrive Safety Advisory Board to our industry-leading Safe Ride Support system. We did the same by being transparent about our COVID-Safe Ride Standards — which include first-in-market features such as plastic dividers between front and back seats.
HopSkipDrive goes above and beyond when it comes to safety, in fact we’re setting the standard for what safety in youth transportation should be. We must do this so that CareDrivers, children and the community at large remain safe. Safety is everything!