Liability, Insurance, and Other Legal Issues
Liability and insurance considerations are important when designing a safe, reliable transportation
program. Programs may use paid staff or volunteers. Programs will want to create policies that ensure
that all staff are properly trained and have required certifications and/or licenses. Each program
will have to determine the type of insurance best suited to their needs. The financial repercussions
of accidents or lawsuits can be long-lasting for small transportation programs.
Considerations for employing volunteer staff in a transportation program include:
Making sure that all drivers have a valid driver's license
Making sure that volunteer drivers are covered under the program's insurance policies
Providing adequate and continuous training for all program staff
Keeping records of volunteers
Creating a process for supervision and oversight of all staff
Different states and transportation agencies may have specific laws in place to protect both riders
and program staff/volunteers. For example, in Minnesota, volunteer
drivers are protected by different laws depending on whether they volunteer their time with a
nonprofit or for-profit transportation program.
In order to provide safe transportation options to riders of all backgrounds, programs should also
consider implementing policies and mechanisms that help staff work with children, older adults, and
people with limited mobility and other disabilities.
As technology is being increasingly used in
transportation programs, new laws will have to be considered when implementing programs. Although not
widely used in rural areas, drones can provide access to medical supplies and bring medication to
some remote locations. In the future, rural health programs that serve populations living in rugged
terrain may be able to consider using this technology. Currently, some federal
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules restrict drone usage and programs will need to be
aware of any pertinent rules.
Resources to Learn More
Insurance for Small Urban and Rural
Public Transportation Systems in Texas
This white paper outlines common insurance-related barriers and concerns for transportation programs
and also describes cost-saving mechanisms through effective risk management. Information about
cost-saving strategies for different program types and populations are also included.
Organization(s): Texas Transportation Institute
Issues in Community Transportation
This resource describes types of liability insurance for community transportation organizations and
important considerations before making an insurance purchase.
Author(s): Fisher, T.
Organization(s): Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services' Human Service