Safety Series #5: In-app and on-the-ground safety processes
Written by Karen Sampson
The comprehensiveness of our safety processes means we are committed to being — and staying — the safest youth transportation solution on the market. Everything we do starts with a safety-first approach, and that includes every aspect of the HopSkipDrive platform: from in-app real-time ride tracking and communication, to on-the-ground safety processes, data privacy and telematics.
We continually examine and challenge our own safety features. And we are transparent about our safety data and technological innovations because we care about the safety of the industry as a whole — not just for those who utilize the HopSkipDrive platform.
As our company grows and expands, we’ll continue to look for new ways to build on our existing safety processes and philosophy — and evolve our technology — in order to create a safer youth transportation marketplace for all.
Below, we highlight some of our in-app and on-the-ground safety processes that support the safety and well-being of everyone who uses the HopSkipDrive platform, including Riders, CareDrivers, parents/caregivers and school staff or anyone else who handles ride scheduling (who we refer to as Ride Organizers).
Safety before the ride
Our rigorous 15-point CareDriver certification process incorporates regulatory requirements and industry best practices related to safety. As part of this safety process, every CareDriver receives a fingerprint-based background check against FBI records. We also run extensive checks with various agencies, including county, state, and national records; the global watchlist; Child Abuse and Neglect Screening (CANS); and sex offender databases.
All CareDrivers must also have at least five years of caregiving experience, and CareDriver vehicles must be 10 years old or less and must pass an annual inspection by a certified mechanic.
Pickup and drop-off instructions
When a ride is scheduled on the HopSkipDrive platform, parents/caregivers, Ride Organizers and others listed on a Rider’s account are able to provide specific pickup and drop-off instructions. These instructions will be visible as part of the ride details in the app, and will be followed by the HopSkipDrive CareDriver who claims the ride.
This safety process enables parents/caregivers and Ride Organizers to communicate clarifying information such as whether or not a child needs to be signed out or whether or not a hand-off to a designated adult is required. Sharing relevant details about the pick-up or drop-off location avoids confusion and helps to ensure the entire process goes smoothly.
As far as safety processes go, the CareDriver profile is one of many that help parents/caregivers and/or Ride Organizers feel comfortable using the HopSkipDrive platform. Before a ride begins, parents/caregivers or Ride Organizers (or anyone else who is listed on a child’s account) can review the CareDriver’s profile in the HopSkipDrive app.
The CareDriver profile will include a photo of the CareDriver, so parent/caregivers or Ride Organizers — as well as the Rider — can familiarize themselves with who the CareDriver is, what the CareDriver looks like and what kind of car the CareDriver drives.
Details about a Rider’s preferences, such as what kind of music they like to listen to — or if they are sensitive to noise and prefer a quiet ride — can also be added to the Rider’s profile by a parent/caregiver or a Ride Organizer. This type of information can be especially useful if a Rider is non-verbal, has special needs and/or has special life circumstances they are dealing with such as a student experiencing homelessness or in foster care.
This information will be visible to the CareDriver who claims the ride in the HopSkipDrive app, who will reference this information to try to help the Rider feel comfortable and safe during the ride.
Multi-factor rider verification
On the ground and in person, we make sure it’s easy for Riders, parents/caregivers and Ride Organizers to identify HopSkipDrive CareDrivers. CareDrivers wear a bright orange t-shirt featuring the HopSkipDrive logo on the front and the word “CareDriver” on the back. CareDrivers also have an orange HopSkipDrive decal on the front window of their car.
Before a Rider gets into a CareDriver’s vehicle, the CareDriver will confirm a Rider’s code word and birth date at each pickup as an additional layer of safety.
Safety during the ride
Notifications and communication
Parents/caregivers and/or Ride Organizers receive text alerts when the CareDriver is on the way, arrives, meets with the Rider, departs, and when the Rider is dropped off. One advantage of the HopSkipDrive platform is that it does not require Riders to have a cell phone or other mobile device during the ride.
Parents/caregivers and Ride Organizers can also communicate directly with CareDrivers in the app, if needed. Help is always just a phone call away, too, with our support team standing by to address any urgent ride issues.
Real-time ride tracking
The HopSkipDrive platform enables Ride Organizers, parents/caregivers and other users associated with a Rider’s account to monitor rides in real-time, creating unparalleled transparency and visibility during the ride.
Safe driving monitoring
HopSkipDrive works with an industry-leading third-party software provider that detects unsafe driving behaviors, including telephone or text use while driving, braking force and speed. CareDrivers receive a weekly “Success Card” that includes driving stats as well as a Safety Score from the previous week, which encourages awareness of driving behavior and iterative improvement.
Comparative analyses have shown that HopSkipDrive CareDrivers display significantly less risky behaviors while behind the wheel year over year, and use their phones while driving almost 8x less frequently than the average U.S. driver.
Safe Ride Support System
Our Safe Ride Support System uses innovative technology to monitor rides in real-time for safety-related anomalies. The system flags such anomalies and generates alerts that are prioritized and addressed through set processes. In addition, our dedicated Safe Ride Support Team tracks every ride in real-time, proactively addressing any issues.
Innovative technology and in-app features bring COVID-Safe Ride Standards to CareDrivers, and enable real-time feedback from CareDrivers, Riders and Ride Organizers.
In-app notifications help remind all users of the HopSkipDrive platform of COVID-Safe Ride Standards and best practices. In-app features enable CareDrivers to affirm they are asymptomatic and have not been exposed to COVID-19 each day they plan to offer rides through the HopSkipDrive platform.
As the pandemic and CDC guidance related to COVID-19 continue to evolve, we will continue to use established safety processes and technology to promote the safety and health of everyone who uses the HopSkipDrive platform.
Protecting the privacy of everyone who uses the HopSkipDrive platform is extremely important. With the majority of HopSkipDrive Riders being children under the age of 18, we have made data privacy a top priority by implementing a number of administrative, technical and physical security controls designed to safeguard personal information.
All users of the HopSkipDrive platform have limited access to one another’s information, and only receive certain details after a ride has been claimed. Ride Organizers are provided access to identifying information for the CareDriver, including their name, photo and vehicle information. CareDrivers can view pickup and drop-off locations when claiming rides, and receive Rider information only upon pickup. This information is then masked after the ride is complete. Phone numbers are masked via in-app communication.
Surpassing regulatory requirements
From commercial insurance to multi-factor authentication, HopSkipDrive consistently surpasses state Transportation Network Company (TNC) requirements.
Here are a few of the many ways we go above and beyond: We exceed the minimum insurance requirements in every state in which we operate. Our background checks are more in-depth than TNC requirements. We receive monthly notifications of any new driver infractions in most markets. And our minimum age requirement for CareDrivers surpasses TNC requirements.
HopSkipDrive’s zero-tolerance policies protect everyone who uses the HopSkipDrive platform from:
- Physical contact between a CareDriver and youth Rider
- Limited physical assistance in the case of adult riders
- Illegal phone use and impaired driving
- The use, possession or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Anyone found to be in violation of any of these policies may be suspended and/or removed from the HopSkipDrive platform.
Safety Advisory Board
HopSkipDrive’s Safety Advisory Board is a select group of student transportation industry leaders who advise us on our safety practices and technology. Our Safety Advisory Board’s expertise guides our relentless pursuit of safety and positions us as a leader in the safe youth transportation space.
As a data-driven company, the data we collect helps fuel our ongoing safety programs — and we’re proud to have some of the best safety data in the industry. We believe holding ourselves accountable will help to raise the bar even higher for other companies across all industries. As part of our commitment to greater transparency, we have so far released three Safety Reports — the latest one includes safety data from 2021 — to highlight the advancements we’ve made and openly share our safety metrics.