Vehicle Management is Safety Management

Ministry-owned and -operated vehicles may be one of the greatest liability threats ministry leaders must manage. The aftermath of an accident involving ministry participants, especially children, is something no church or ministry wants to experience.

Guidelines for Vehicles

Many accidents can be prevented by adhering to a few sensible guidelines that can help ministry leaders manage their organization’s vehicle usage.

  • Don’t purchase or keep vehicles unless you can afford to maintain them in top mechanical condition.
  • Assign a reliable individual or team to oversee vehicle maintenance and vehicle operation policies.
  • Develop a written maintenance program for each vehicle; document all maintenance work completed.
  • Develop and enforce a written vehicle operation policy addressing issues such as driver eligibility, vehicle usage rules, and vehicle storage and security.
  • Equip your vehicles with every warning and safety device permitted by state codes.
  • Make sure each passenger has a working seat belt.

Guidelines for Drivers

Not only should your vehicles be in tip-top condition, but drivers also should be selected with the upmost care. They should be well-qualified and have the necessary licenses and experience to ensure passenger safety.  

  • Ensure that drivers comply with state laws, obtaining a commercial driver’s license (CDL) when required.
  • Obtain driving records on all drivers before permitting them to operate a vehicle.
  • Never allow young, inexperienced drivers to operate your vehicles.
  • Train drivers to operate large vehicles, perform pre-trip inspections, and use emergency safety equipment.
  • For long trips, have sufficient drivers to ensure that no one drives for more than a two-hour stretch.
  • If you’re pulling a trailer, make sure the driver is qualified and experienced for the task.

Guidelines for Supervision

  • Provide one of more adult supervisors when transporting children.
  • Develop and enforce a code of conduct for passengers. Don’t allow them to move about while a vehicle is in motion.  
  • Teach drivers how to manage “critical moments” when children are entering or leaving a vehicle. Young children should always be escorted across traffic when entering or leaving a vehicle.