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MoDOT Releases List of Recommended Policies for Volunteer Driver Programs

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) recently released a list of suggested policies for organizations that operate a volunteer driver program. Funding agencies often require policies that cover all staff members who are delivering services to customers, whether the staff are paid or unpaid. Management should review all contracts and service agreements to ensure the necessary policies are in place. Questions can be directed to Christy Evers, Administrator of Transit, at 573-751-2523.


MoDOT Recommended Policies:


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

  1. Operation of a volunteer transportation program may trigger responsibilities for compliance of Title III of the ADA. Those responsibilities depend on the legal status of the sponsor and/or the types and modes of other transportation services that are operated. Persons with certain disabilities cannot be transported in private cars. However, those persons may need to be referred to appropriate alternate service providers. If the service provided in a personally owned vehicle requires only a donation, any costs related to the alternative services may need to be absorbed by the sponsoring organization.
  2. All volunteer drivers should be trained to proficiency in the requirements of ADA.
  3. If they are using a personal vehicle, they will still require training on service animals, securing mobility devices and sensitivity to people with disabilities that they will be serving.


  1. Sponsoring organizations should include volunteers in their Code of Ethics. A Code of Ethics includes the Board, officers, employees and volunteers engaged in the administration of contracts supported by Missouri State or Federal Assistance.
  2. A Code of Ethics typically covers topics including gifts, personal conflicts of interest, organizational conflicts of interest, bonuses or commissions, restrictions on lobbying, political activity and false or fraudulent statements or claims.  This statement should be signed by volunteers when engaged, and when any updates occur to the policy.

Code of Conduct

  1. Driver conduct is one of the most important elements contributing to how the sponsoring organization is ensuring the safety of riders. Violations of these policies often lead to removal from paid and volunteer driver positions.
  • Not following traffic laws
  • Use of controlled or illegal substances
  • Theft, violence, and gross negligence
  • Violation of confidentiality, conflict of interest, code of conduct and ethics

Drug-Free Workplace

  1. Sponsoring organizations that receive federal funding are required to comply with the Drug-Free Workplace Act. Sponsoring organizations must have a policy that prohibits employees and volunteers from the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of a controlled substance at any of the sponsoring organization’s facilities and/or during any of the programs offered by the sponsoring organization.


  1. Sponsoring organizations should have a policy that it will not tolerate verbal or physical conduct by any employee or volunteer which harasses, disrupts or interferes with another’s work performance or which creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment.


  1. Confidentiality should be reviewed regularly. It is best practice to have volunteers read and sign your confidentiality policy annually.
  2. Transportation volunteers often know or become familiar with riders. While it is desirable to establish a positive relationship with riders, it is important to avoid situations that can create “Conflicts of Interest.”

 Reporting Suspected Abuse: Neglect, Abandonment and Exploitation

  1. This typically applies to serving vulnerable adults and children, based on state and federal legal requirements.

Drug Testing

  1. Drivers, including volunteers, of vehicles that have been manufactured to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, must have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a passenger endorsement. Note that drivers holding a CDL, must be included in a drug and alcohol testing program that complies with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations found at 49 CFR Part 40 and 49 CFR Part 655 and 382.

Supervision of Volunteers, including annual reviews

  1. Consider how you monitor other staff. Do you conduct on-board observations? Do you survey customers about your service?
  2. Who will supervise and manage your volunteer drivers?
  3. Discipline or removal of volunteer drivers.

 Non-discrimination, expectations for respect and treatment of all staff, clients and community members, as well as service requirements

  1. Staff members, whether paid or unpaid, are the face of your organization. It is important they represent the organization in a professional manner.

Payment or Donation Policies

The following information should be considered when developing and implementing Payment/Donation policies.

  1. A copy of the Sponsoring Organization’s Payment and/or Donation Policy should be available to volunteer using personally owned vehicles and a copy posted in organization owned vehicles. The policy should also be included in brochures and advertising materials.
  2. Programs should design a system that respects the individual’s anonymity. Some sponsoring organizations request financial support from the community and riders in the form of donations, yet do not pressure those who cannot afford to pay.
  3. Drivers should be well informed about the donation policy.
  4. It is not appropriate for drivers to demand donations from riders.
  5. Many riders prefer to mail a check to the Sponsoring Organization once a month rather than donate each time they ride.
  6. To avoid misunderstandings and protect the rider’s anonymity, a collection system that does not require drivers to handle cash is preferred.

Reimbursement Policy

  1. Most sponsoring organizations reimburse volunteers for personal vehicle mileage and other authorized expenses. The sponsoring organization should have a form to be used by volunteers operating personal vehicles to document mileage and other expenses. The reimbursement should be based on the same current mileage rate used for paid employees. Reimbursement for other expenditures, such as meals, should be based on the actual expense the volunteer incurred or on a per-diem rate.
  2. If the sponsoring organization decides to pay more than the IRS rates for mileage and GSA rate for meals/per-diem, the organization needs to report the payments annually as a 1099 contracted employee. Payments more than the IRS rates are not reimbursable under MoDOT or FTA contracts.

Disabled Parking Privileges

  1. Non-profit groups or organizations that transport people with physical disabilities can apply for a placard through the Missouri Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicles Division.
  2. Volunteers should be trained in the use of placards only when they are transporting people with disabilities.