Using Volunteer Drivers? Here’s What to Know
From sporting events to competitions and field trips, students require safe transportation to school events. When professional drivers and fleet vehicles are not used, uncontrolled risks are introduced. Vehicle maintenance and condition, driver training, and insurance coverage are all factors that may be insufficient when left to volunteer drivers.
Allowing students to be transported to school-sponsored events by parents or persons other than qualified contract drivers or district employees is not recommended, but if your school decides to allow this practice, we recommend the following:
- Students should not be allowed to drive their vehicles or any other vehicles. Only adults over the age of 25 should be considered.
- Proof of a valid driver’s license should be provided and a copy kept on file. If a valid license cannot be produced, the volunteer should not be allowed to provide transportation services.
- Drivers should only be allowed to operate vehicles for which they have the proper licensing.
- The driver’s motor vehicle record (MVR) should be checked for compliance with the district’s safe driver requirements. Volunteers not meeting district standards should not be allowed to provide transportation services.
- Proof of insurance should be required and a copy of the certificate of insurance kept on file. The administration should review the policy limits to ensure the driver has adequate coverage. Inform the volunteer driver that their personal auto policy may provide primary auto coverage should an accident occur.
- Vehicles should transport no more people than the number of seat belts available. Each occupant of the vehicle is required to wear a seat belt.
- The districts’ driver safety rules should be provided, and training made available to all volunteers to ensure that rules are understood and followed.
- Accident/incident reporting procedures should be provided and reviewed.
- If a volunteer does not have a cell phone, one should be provided by the district for use in case of emergency.
- An emergency kit including items such as emergency contact names and phone numbers, accident reporting forms, first aid kit, emergency road reflectors, fire extinguisher and flashlight should be provided to the volunteer.
- Vehicles should be checked before each trip to verify they meet minimum safety requirements, such as:
- A properly inflated spare tire and functional jack
- Tires are in safe condition and properly inflated
- All lights and signals are functional
- Mirrors are present and usable
- A consent form that outlines the above recommendations should be completed and signed by all drivers and kept on file by the district. Any form developed by the district should be reviewed by their legal counsel.