Shortage of Volunteer Drivers in Minnesota

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Statutes in Minnesota still need further clarification on the difference between volunteers and employees.

Volunteer drivers are a crucial segment of transportation in Minnesota. Organizations use volunteer drivers as a low cost method of transportation for people that need services, whereas other forms of transportation would be less cost-effective or lower the quality of service. These organizations cover a wide variety, from local governments, faith-based organizations, to public transit providers and human service providers.

The trips taken by these organizations are a broad variety, as well. Ranging from trips to work or school, to non-emergency medical appointments. For the sake of the report, volunteer drivers are those who provide their own insurance coverage, private vehicle, and only accept reimbursement for mileage at or below IRS-defined rates.

The survey yielded 30 responses of those who utilize volunteer drivers. These responses indicated over 900 total drivers were utilized, and over half were between the ages of 65 and 69.

The average years of services of these volunteers was found to be 6 years. The volunteer drivers provide an average of 17 trips per provider a month. In addition, an average of a little less than 36 hours a month per volunteer. These hours work out to be 32,616 volunteer hours a month and 391,000 hours a year. However, 68% of the respondents emphasized their growing difficulty in finding volunteers.

Lack of volunteers has stemmed from concerns from insurance companies regarding drivers needing more than just personal coverage.

This lack of volunteers has stemmed from concerns from insurance companies regarding drivers needing more than just personal coverage. With sometimes no reimbursement, volunteer drivers are unwilling or unable to pay these higher rates.

These concerns arose from misinterpretation between volunteer drivers and transportation employees, such as drivers for Uber or Lyft. While statutes in Minnesota still need further clarification on the difference between volunteers and employees, an organization could purchase our Health and Road Safety Course to certify their drivers for safety. This provides ease of tension, showing that your drivers are prepared and equipped to safely transport passengers to and from their destinations, and also promotes rather than discouraging volunteer drivers.

Read the full report here.

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Speeding
Distractions
Seat Belt Use
Drinking and Driving

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