Driver Screening Improves Transportation Safety

Your ministry's drivers will be asked to drive long distances, enforce unpopular rules (like seatbelt use), and make sure everyone gets home safely. Are they up to the challenge?

Know your drivers

Screen prospective drivers to make sure they are properly licensed, trained, and experienced in transporting people safely. Keep a list of approved drivers, so you can avoid putting untrained people in the driver’s seat. Our free driver screening resource can help get you started.

What to look for:

  • Proper licensing. Most states require a commercial driver's license (CDL) for driving buses and large vans; check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles. Generally, a commercial license is needed if either of the following applies:
    • The vehicle weighs more than 26,000 pounds.
    • The vehicle is designed to transport more than 16 people, including the driver
  • Age. Carefully consider the age of potential drivers. Those under 21 or over 65 pose a considerably greater risk for auto accidents, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Young drivers, regardless of maturity, lack behind-the-wheel experience. Older drivers may have slow reaction times and physical or visual impairments.
  • Experience and training. Select drivers with as much experience as possible. Training on vans or buses, which have different handling characteristics than cars, is especially important.
  • Safety record. Obtain candidates’ driving records. Choose people without reckless driving citations or multiple moving violations. Your ministry may be judged negligent for allowing someone with a poor driving record to operate a vehicle.

Know your vehicles

When transporting individuals as part of your ministry, make sure to investigate associated liability risks. If a staff or volunteer worker operates a vehicle that’s deemed unsafe, a court may hold your ministry responsible for accident-related injuries.

  • Check your auto insurance coverage. Auto insurance coverage is one issue that is often overlooked when a staff member or volunteer uses their own vehicle to transport passengers on behalf of a church or ministry. Too frequently, staff members and volunteers incorrectly assume that their personal auto liability insurance policy will cover them. If staff members or volunteers plan to use their personal vehicles to transport ministry passengers, require them to contact their personal insurance agent to determine whether their personal policy will provide coverage.
  • Use the right vehicle to get the job done. Any time your ministry is involved in the transportation of people, it’s important to use the correct vehicle. Consider the physical limitations of passengers and make sure the vehicle is easily accessible and will safely accommodate them. Also, perform frequent inspections to help spot safety and mechanical issues early.