Here are three ways to help protect your members while out on the road.
Whether it’s community outreach initiatives, youth group field trips or day-to-day transportation, your worship center is on the move. Coordinating these outings may seem as simple as grabbing the keys and hitting the road, but shortcuts on safety can mean detouring your mission indefinitely.
Keeping the mission on track and on the road requires choosing the right vehicles, the right drivers and the right training.
- The Right Vehicle
The 15-passenger van provides the seating and space necessary for small missionary groups. However, older models of these vehicles have significant safety risks.
Before legislation was enacted in 2005 addressing the issue, these vans were three times more likely to rollover in a single vehicle crash. If your fleet relies on 15-passenger vans made before 2005, distributing weight within the vehicle correctly before each trip is paramount to arriving to your destination safely.
- The Right Driver
New models of 15-passenger vans now have undergone stricter safety testing and are equipped with driver-assistance technology, but without the right drivers behind the wheel, even these will fail to prevent an accident. These vehicles may resemble minivans, but they do not behave the same.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends drivers of 15-passenger vans have a commercial driver’s license.
When selecting drivers, review their driving history and develop a list of criteria candidates must pass. Criteria may include:
* No more than three moving violations
* No more than one at-fault accident in the past 36 months
* No major convictions (DUIs) within the past seven years
* No license suspensions or revocations within the past seven years
- The Right Training
Drivers who have been on the road for decades can still find themselves in fender benders and three-car pile-ups. Training new drivers and providing refresher courses for established ones can help keep safety top-of-mind and prevent accidents.
Here are some topics to incorporate into your training program:
* Distracted driving – According to the NHTSA, 3,142 people died from motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver in 2019.
* Buckle up – The NHTSA reports that 69% of 15-passenger van occupants killed in crashers were not wearing a seat belt. Make it policy that both passengers and drivers always wear their seat belts.
* Weight distribution – While rollovers are not as much of a concern with newer vehicles, the potential is still there. Never load cargo on top of the vehicle and always seat passengers front to back.
* Routine maintenance – Ensure vehicles are in good condition before each trip to help avoid accidents.
Expanding your mission often means taking it on the road. Follow these tips to help protect both it and your members.
This information is courtesy of Glatfelter Religious Practice (GRP), which specializes in insurance and risk management programs for churches and other religious institutions and is a division of Glatfelter Insurance Group (an AIG company), one of the largest program managers in the U.S., www.glatfelterreligiouspractice.com.