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Loss Control Insights for Schools

Using Volunteer Drivers? 12 Things to Do (Updated March 2023)

Volunteer driver transporting student to school-sponsored activity mobile view

From competitions to field trips, students often require safe transportation to and from school events. Sometimes, volunteer drivers are needed to help fulfill a much-needed gap in transportation services in our communities. If you have a volunteer driver behind the wheel, you can manage your risk on the road by managing volunteer driver exposures, such as vehicle maintenance and condition, driver training and insurance coverage.

Tips for 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:

  • Have the volunteer sign a consent form—Prepare a consent form that outlines the above recommendations and ensure its 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
  • Only consider adults over the age of 25—Do not allow students to drive their vehicles or any other vehicles
  • Get proof of a valid driver’s license—And keep a copy on file; if a valid license cannot be produced, do not allow the volunteer to provide transportation services
  • Verify proper licensing—Drivers should only be allowed to operate vehicles for which they have the proper licensing
  • Check the driver’s motor vehicle record (MVR)—Ensure compliance with the district’s safe driver requirements; volunteers not meeting district standards should not be allowed to provide transportation services
  • Obtain proof of insurance—And keep a copy of the certificate of insurance on file; the administration should review the policy limits to ensure the driver has adequate coverage and inform the volunteer driver that their personal auto policy may provide primary auto coverage if an accident occurs
  • Require all occupants of the vehicle wear a seat belt—Vehicles should transport no more people than the number of seat belts available
  • Provide driver safety rules and training—Ensure that volunteers understand the rules follow them
  • Define accident and incident reporting procedures— Ensure that volunteers understand the procedures follow them, and that all accident reports are thoroughly reviewed
  • Require volunteers to have a cell phone on hand—If a volunteer does not have a cell phone, one should be provided by the district for use in case of emergency
  • Place an emergency kit on board—Including items such as emergency contact names and phone numbers, accident reporting forms, first aid kit, emergency road reflectors, fire extinguisher and a flashlight
  • Check vehicles before each trip—Verify vehicles meet minimum safety requirements, including:
    • 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

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