If you would like to start a volunteer transportation program in Massachusetts, these resources may help you.
Volunteer driver programs. This set of joint MassDOT/MassMobility reports highlights current volunteer driver programs that are available in Massachusetts, summarizes key considerations for organizations that are developing or implementing their own volunteer driver programs, and offers sample forms.
National Center on Senior Transportation Report on Volunteer Transportation
This report brings together the latest research on liability and profiles of some interesting volunteer driver programs across the nation.
This page has a comprehensive list of resources for every aspect of starting and sustaining volunteer driver programs.
Community Transportation Association (CTAA) Volunteer Transportation page
This site has resources for all aspects of volunteer driver programs.
Driver liability is one of the biggest perceived concerns when creating a volunteer driver program. The presentations below offer some guidance, but each organization should check with its own insurance carrier to find out what coverage options are available. No matter what an organization purchases in terms of liability insurance, drivers who use their automobiles in the course of volunteer service are covered by their own personal auto insurance policy first, with an organization’s policy providing secondary coverage.
- Volunteer Driver Programs: What’s the Risk?
- Volunteer Driver Programs: Insurance 101
- Volunteer Driver Programs: Examples from the Field
- TRB presentation on insurance and liability
Massachusetts organizations usually run a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) search on any volunteer. Some organizations also verify that the volunteer has adequate personal auto insurance and check that the volunteer’s vehicle has passed a safety inspection. Organizations can also ask a driver to request their driving records from the Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles.
- Department of Criminal Justice Information Services This page has information on how your organization can access Massachusetts Criminal Offender records (CORI).
- Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles Driving Records This page shows how to obtain a driving record.
Volunteer drivers come from a variety of backgrounds. Many programs in Massachusetts recruit through placing notices in the local newspaper, which will sometimes run them for free, or through advertising for volunteers in the Council on Aging newsletter. To support their volunteers, programs often address some of the challenges faced by volunteer drivers (such as the rising cost of gas and wear on one’s vehicle) by offering mileage reimbursement or a small stipend to offset the cost to the volunteer.
These resources contain valuable ideas about how to plan your volunteer recruitment and retention strategy:
- Recruitment of Volunteers in Transportation Programs – This sheet takes you through a set of questions that are helpful in thinking about how to build a volunteer corps.
The following links take you to websites where your organization can connect with volunteers:
- Senior Corps' Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) offers volunteers pre-service orientation training. All RSVP volunteers are also covered by a supplemental liability insurance policy while on duty. You can search for local RSVP programs on the website.
- Volunteer Match and Idealist are free services that allow you to search for volunteer opportunities as well as post a need for a volunteer.
A strong continuing training component is an important element of a successful volunteer program. In addition to general volunteer training, consider driver skills refresher, passenger assistance, cultural competency, and other important topics.
- April 2013. This MassMobility resource lists training options that organizations can offer to volunteer drivers. For related resources, visit MassMobility reports.
- Southern New England AAA has a “Driver Improvement Program” for individuals 55+. It is an eight-part program which reviews safe driving skills. Call 401-868-2000 x 2120 for more information.
- On the HST website, our page with resources for transportation providers has a section on training.
This information is provided by EOHHS Human Service Transportation Office.