4.23 Motor Vehicle Safety

Safety, Health, and Environmental Manual

4.23.1 Introduction

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. The Church is committed to promoting safety awareness and responsible driving behavior in its drivers. Each driver must commit to operate his or her vehicle safely and to fulfill the responsibilities and follow the guidelines outlined in this document. The Church’s efforts and the commitment of its drivers will help reduce personal injury and property loss claims.

These guidelines outline minimum requirements. Church departments or Church-affiliated businesses may have additional or more stringent guidelines based on management requirements or local laws.

4.23.2 Drivers and Qualifications

Authorized Driver

An authorized driver is any employee or contract employee who is 18 years of age or older and authorized by management to operate a Church-owned vehicle or a personal vehicle for Church business purposes. The Church may obtain a motor vehicle record (MVR) for all drivers.

Authorized drivers must:

  • Maintain a current and valid driver’s license in accordance with local law, as well as an acceptable driving record.

  • Complete driver safety training (as approved by the Risk Management Division) at least once every three years.

  • Report to management any vehicle accident, damage, or traffic violation incurred while on Church business within 24 hours, regardless of whether it is a Church-owned or personal vehicle.

  • Ensure that repairs and maintenance are done in a timely manner to prevent additional damage.

Unauthorized Driver

An unauthorized driver is any driver who has been involved in multiple moving violations or preventable traffic accidents within the past three years. His or her eligibility to drive is determined by the following:

  • His or her driver qualifications

  • A current MVR

  • The Vehicle Safety Board (VSB)

These drivers are not allowed to drive Church-owned vehicles or to drive personal vehicles for Church business.

4.23.3 Management Responsibilities

  • Identify employees who need to drive for Church business.

  • Verify that employees are on the list of authorized drivers before allowing them to operate any vehicle for Church business.

  • Verify that personal vehicles used for business meet liability insurance limits as outlined in these guidelines.

4.23.4 General Driver Safety Rules

  • All drivers must obey traffic laws, signs, and signals.

  • The driver and all occupants are required to wear seat belts when a vehicle is in operation. The driver is responsible for ensuring that passengers wear their seat belts.

  • The maximum number of occupants allowed to ride in a vehicle is limited to the availability of installed seat belts. Passengers may not ride in cargo areas.

  • Volunteers working for Church business operations may operate Church-owned vehicles if they meet the same criteria as authorized drivers.

  • Drivers should avoid backing up a vehicle whenever possible.

  • Drivers should be aware of surrounding conditions. Before entering the vehicle, the driver should walk around it to check for any vehicle damage, fixed objects, or other hazards.

  • Drivers should not push one vehicle with another unless they are driving a service truck equipped for this purpose, and then only to clear the roadway when necessary.

  • Drivers must not operate a vehicle at any time when their ability to do so is impaired or affected by medication, illness, drowsiness, or injury.

  • Drivers are responsible to ensure that vehicles are maintained in safe operating condition. Follow the guidelines given in the Vehicle Preventive Care Service Check form (on the back of the What to Do If You Have an Accident packet [12150]; see section 7.3).

  • Drivers are not permitted to:

    • Pick up hitchhikers.

    • Accept payment for carrying passengers or materials.

    • Use any radar detector, laser detector, or similar device.

    • Tow a trailer without receiving prior permission from management and complying with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, if required.

    • Transport flammable liquids, gases, or hazardous materials without complying with DOT regulations.

    • Use flares. (Use reflective triangles instead, if needed.)

4.23.5 Distracted Driving

A driver may not use any Church-owned or private handheld electronic device, such as a cell phone, two-way radio, tablet, or laptop, at any time while driving a Church-owned vehicle or while driving a personal vehicle on Church business. There are two exceptions to this rule:

  • If allowed by law, cell phones operated with hands-free equipment may be used.

  • If allowed by law, a global positioning system (GPS) device may be used, or a cell phone or similar device may be used to view a GPS or navigation application.

The driver should also refrain from all distracting practices while driving, such as:

  • Eating meals.

  • Reading and writing.

  • Grooming.

4.23.6 Drowsy Driving

Drivers and passengers must remain alert and focused. Follow these practices:

  • Get a full night of rest before driving.

  • Recognize the warning signs of fatigue.

  • Stop at regular intervals when driving long distances.

  • Avoid taking medications that cause drowsiness.

  • Be aware of your behavior and the behavior of others on the road late at night, early in the morning, and in the midafternoon hours, when drowsy-driving crashes are most likely to occur.

  • Passengers should help the driver remain alert and pay attention to traffic conditions.

4.23.7 Guidelines for Specific Vehicles

Commercial Vans, Buses, and Trucks

  • Drivers authorized to operate a vehicle or combination vehicle (power unit with trailer) with a combined weight or weight rating over 10,000 pounds must comply with regulations for commercial motor vehicles.

  • Fifteen-passenger vans cannot be purchased, rented, or used for Church business or activities.

Personal Vehicles on Church Business

Personal vehicles may be used for Church business if authorized by management and only when motor pool or other Church-owned vehicles are not available.

Drivers who use their personal vehicles on Church business are subject to all safety guidelines outlined in this document. Drivers are also required to:

  • Adhere to the vehicle-use policy outlined in Policy Point on the Church intranet. To find them, click on Policies under Ecclesiastical Departments, and then click on Human Resources. Last, click on section 8, Vehicle-Use Policy.

  • Maintain vehicle liability insurance limits of $100,000 of coverage per person, $300,000 of bodily injury coverage per occurrence, and $50,000 of property damage coverage per occurrence.

  • Understand that the vehicle owner’s personal automobile insurance provides primary protection in the case of an accident, including comprehensive or collision claims.

  • Maintain current vehicle registration with the local government.

  • Maintain the vehicle in safe operating condition.

  • Report any vehicle accident, damage, or traffic violation to management within 24 hours.

Employees who are unauthorized to drive a Church-owned vehicle are not allowed to use their personal vehicle for Church business.

Rental Vehicles

In the United States, drivers should arrange vehicle rentals through Church Travel Services. The Church has contracts with multiple rental car companies, and these contracts include collision damage waiver coverage and auto liability insurance within the negotiated price. When using a contracted rental car company, drivers should decline collision damage waiver coverage and auto liability insurance at the counter if an agent asks so that the Church does not get charged twice for insurance coverage on car rentals. Drivers should check for obvious defects on rental cars before leaving the rental location.

If drivers rent vehicles outside the United States or do not arrange the rental through Church Travel Services with a contracted rental car company, then they should accept collision damage waiver coverage and auto liability insurance to ensure coverage.

Motorcycles, All-Terrain Vehicles, Motorized Scooters, Motorized Carts, Tractors, and Utility Terrain Vehicles (Including Gators, Razors, and Similar Vehicles)

Departments should consider the additional risks associated with using these vehicles for Church business. Departments may use them in accordance with the following guidelines.

Drivers must:

  • Be trained to safely operate each type of vehicle.

  • Ensure that all Church-owned vehicles are clearly identified and are not used by unauthorized operators.

  • Conduct a pre-ride inspection of tires, brakes, headlights, and so on and follow the maintenance schedule for the vehicle.

  • Drive responsibly and courteously.

  • Not eat, drink, or talk on cell phones or radios while operating the vehicle.

  • Drive at walking speed when pedestrians are near.

  • Avoid passing pedestrians from behind. If it is necessary to pass pedestrians, drivers should do so only after warning them.

  • Use the vehicle only for the designated business purpose.

  • Allow passengers to ride only in authorized seating made by the manufacturer.

  • Wear seat belts at all times (if provided by the manufacturer).

  • Wear protective safety gear appropriate for the vehicle at all times (such as a helmet, gloves, goggles, and so on).

  • Slow down and be especially attentive at intersections, crosswalks, and blind corners.

  • Be aware of potential hazards such as trees, ruts, rocks, streams, and gullies, and follow posted hazard warnings.

  • Secure tools and equipment during transport, not allowing them to protrude from the sides of the vehicle.

  • Not overload the vehicle with heavy equipment or garbage.

  • Not operate damaged or defective vehicles.

4.23.8 Incident Reporting

If a driver is involved in a motor vehicle accident, either with a Church vehicle or with a personal vehicle on Church business, then he or she must do the following:

  • Report the accident to his or her supervisor immediately.

  • Fill out any required report forms and report the accident in the Global Incident Reporting online system at incidents.ChurchofJesusChrist.org within 24 hours.

  • If in a Church vehicle, follow the guidelines outlined in the What to Do If You Have an Accident packet (12150), which should be kept in the glove box (see section 7.3).

  • Upload any additional photos, police reports, or other documents to the online system within seven days of the accident.

Failure to promptly report damage to a Church vehicle or damage caused while operating a Church vehicle may result in loss of driving privileges.

4.23.9 Incident Review

All vehicle accidents should be reviewed by a local Vehicle Safety Board (VSB). The VSB will determine preventability and any corrective actions needed. Area offices should establish a local VSB. A sample of the responsibilities of a VSB can be found here.

4.23.10 Classification of Accidents

After an accident occurs, a letter classifying the accident will be sent to the driver. Each accident, subject to review by the VSB, will be classified as one of the following:

Nonpreventable Accident

An accident resulting in loss or damage in which the Church driver was not at fault. Examples may include, but are not limited to, contact with an animal, hail, storm damage, and so on.

Minor Preventable Accident

A minor preventable accident is one that occurs in a parking lot or driveway and results in relatively minor damage and no injuries. Examples of minor preventable accidents include scraping a pole, backing into an unoccupied parked car, and jackknifing a trailer while backing up.

Preventable Accident

A preventable accident is one in which the driver failed to follow safe driving practices, such as anticipating a hazard or applying appropriate defensive driving techniques.

Serious Preventable Incident

A serious preventable incident is one that involves one of the following, as determined by the VSB:

  • Any fatality.

  • Bodily injury to a person who, as a result of the accident, immediately leaves the scene (either drives or is transported) to receive medical treatment at an off-site medical location such as a hospital.

  • One or more motor vehicles that have sustained disabling damage (meaning that they are unable to be driven away normally from the scene) and require a tow truck or another motor vehicle to move them away from the scene. This does not include convenience towing (for example, if the driver simply does not want to drive, the vehicle has flat tires, the safety signals are inoperative, and so on).

4.23.11 Corrective Action

The VSB uses the following guidelines to make appropriate recommendations to management and Human Resources (HR) concerning preventable accidents within the past 24 months. The VSB may also consider moving violations as well as earlier accidents that show a pattern of failing to follow safe driving practices. Management and HR are responsible for enforcing the Church’s guidelines in section 4.23, “Motor Vehicle Safety,” and any VSB recommendations.

Drivers involved in a collision that may be classified as a serious preventable accident should have their driving privileges temporarily suspended by their supervisor until the VSB reviews the accident.


Corrective Action

First minor preventable accident within the last 24 months

Supervisor notification and discussion

Two or more minor preventable accidents or first preventable accident within the last 24 months

Basic online driver safety training (approximately one hour long)

Two or more preventable accidents within the last 24 months

Comprehensive online driver safety training (approximately four hours long) or revocation of driving privileges

First serious preventable accident within the last 24 months

Suspension of driving privileges until completion of comprehensive driver safety training, or revocation of driving privileges (driver becomes unauthorized)

Two or more serious preventable accidents within the last 24 months

Revocation of driving privileges (driver becomes unauthorized)

The VSB will send a letter to communicate its recommendations to the driver, the driver’s supervisor, and the department human resource representative.

4.23.12 Appeal to Reclassify Accident

Any driver may make an appeal to the VSB if he or she does not agree with the classification of an accident. The VSB will consider any appeal that is (1) in writing and (2) received within 14 days of the date that the letter classifying the accident was sent to the driver. In reviewing each accident and appeal, the VSB will make every effort to reach a fair and equitable classification. The VSB will communicate the appeal decision to the driver’s supervisor and department human resource representative.

4.23.13 Appeal to Reinstate Driving Privileges

The VSB will review requests for reinstatement of driving privileges on a case-by-case basis.

4.23.14 Forms and Other Documents

The following documents are included in chapter 7, “Forms,” of this manual: