How parents decide to transport girls between their homes and Girl Scout meeting places is each parent’s individual decision and responsibility.
Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan provides Tripping Application forms and a Troop Trip & Activity Requirements/Guideline chart to help girls and volunteers plan activities beyond the regular meeting place and time. For planned Girl Scout field trips and other activities in which a troop will be transported in private vehicles:
• Every driver must be an approved adult* volunteer and have a good driving record, a valid license, and a registered/insured vehicle.
• Girls never drive other girls.
• If a troop is traveling in one vehicle, there must be at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers in the vehicle, one of whom is female, and the girl-volunteer ratios in Volunteer Essentials must be followed.
• If a troop is traveling in more than one vehicle, the entire troop must consist of at least two unrelated, approved adult volunteers, one of whom is female, and the girl-volunteer ratios in Volunteer Essentials must be followed. Care should be taken so that a single car (with a single adult driver) is not separated from the troop for an extended length of time.
*“Adult” is defined by the age of majority in each state.
Private transportation includes private passenger vehicles, rental cars, privately owned or rented recreational vehicles and campers, chartered buses, chartered boats, and chartered flights. Each driver of motorized private transportation must be at least 21 years old and hold a valid operator’s license appropriate to the vehicle—state laws must be followed, even if they are more stringent than the guidelines here. Anyone who is driving a vehicle with more than 12 passengers must also be a professional driver who possesses a commercial driver’s license (CDL)—check with Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan to determine specific rules about renting large vehicles.
Please keep in mind the following non-negotiable points regarding private transportation:
• Even though written agreements are always required when renting or chartering, you are not authorized to sign an agreement or contract—even if there is no cost associated with the rental. Such an agreement must instead be signed by the person designated by Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan.
• Check with Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan to make sure you are following accepted practices when using private transportation; this ensures that both you and Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan are protected by liability insurance in the event of an accident.
• If Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan has given permission to use a rented car, read all rental agreements to be sure you comply with their terms and avoid surprises. Note the minimum age of drivers (often 25), as well as the maximum age (often under 70). Be sure the car is adequately insured, knowing who is responsible for damage to or the loss of the vehicle itself. Also, ensure you have a good paper trail, with evidence that the vehicle rental is Girl Scout–related.
• Obtain parent/guardian permission for any use of transportation outside of the meeting place.
Checklist for Drivers
When driving a car, RV, or camper, take the following precautions and ask any other drivers to do the same:
- The leader is ultimately responsible for the safety of the girls. A driver needs to be prepared to show proof of insurance, car registration and driver’s license.
- Ensure all drivers are adults—girls should not be transporting other girls.
- Never transport girls in flatbed or panel trucks, in the bed of a pickup, or in a camper-trailer.
- Follow all the established rules of the road in your state (following the speed limit, keeping a two-car-length between you and the car ahead of you, not using a personal electronic device, not using ear buds or headphones, driving with your headlights on, and so on).
- Be sure your car is in safe condition with good brakes and tires (including the spare) and that you have enough gasoline. Check your lights, signals, windshield wipers, horns, and fluid levels before each trip and check them periodically on long trips.
- The vehicle should also carry a first aid kit and emergency equipment such as a fire extinguisher, reflectors and a flashlight.
- Everyone (girls and adults) will be transported in vehicles designed by the manufacturer for carrying passengers. Persons will not be transported except in those parts of the vehicle specifically designed to carry passengers. All passengers must wear seat belts at all times. Seat belts should be used as designed, one person per belt.
- Children from 4-7 years old AND under 4’9” in height must be properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat in the vehicle.
- Vans used to carry Girl Scouts should be designed to carry 12 passengers or less.
- Arrive at the departure point early enough to allow plenty of time for loading girls and baggage.
- Appropriate health history record and Parent Permission Form for all passengers (girls/adults). In case of an accident, these are necessary to ensure prompt treatment.
- The phone number of the troop’s emergency contact person. If you are delayed, call that person, who will notify parents.
- Directions/map to destination. Be sure you know exactly where you are going. For long trips, there should be prearranged meeting places along the route. Caravanning (convoy-type travel) is to be avoided.
- GSHOM’s Emergency Procedures are on the Volunteer Resources page of the GSHOM website.
The leader will provide drivers with:
- Seat belts on at all times.
- Hands and arms inside.
- Noise must be kept at a level acceptable to the driver.
Before leaving, review or explain safety rules to all passengers:
- Observe speed and other traffic laws not only for safety, but also as an example to girls riding with you.
- No volunteer may undertake a role as a Girl Scout member while under the influence of or impaired by any illegal drug or alcohol, nor use or possess it while on GSHOM business. A volunteer, using a legally prescribed or over-the-counter drug, must not accept volunteer responsibilities if her/his abilities to perform safely are compromised by the use of the prescribed or over-the-counter drug.
- The use of tobacco products will not be permitted at any Girl Scout function or in any vehicle transporting children. Adults can only smoke in designated areas away from children.
- If an injury requiring treatment occurs, a health history record and Parent Permission Form should accompany a child or an adult to the doctor or hospital.
- Drivers are encouraged to be registered adult Girl Scout members.
- When the trip is over, return the health history records and Parent Permission Forms to the leader.
- Drivers will not use cell phone while driving (no talking or texting).
- Drivers must rest after two hours of driving. Limit driving to six hours per day. Drive with extra caution during hours of darkness and any other time visibility is reduced or road conditions worsened. Avoid driving for extended periods at night, when tired, or taking medication that makes you drowsy.
Special rules for your car.