CBIZ Sattler Adventure Sports Blog

Insights and tips on how to protect your adventure sports business, giving you and your guests peace of mind.

Ward, Hayden
/ Categories: BLOG Articles

Passenger Van Safety Policy for Outfitters

Inside of whitewater rafting bus

Vehicle safety and risk management are crucial aspects of business operations that cannot be overlooked. The drive to and from your adventure destination requires preparation and protection equal to that of the sport your group is participating in. In particular, driving larger vehicles, such as passenger vans or buses, poses unique safety hazards and distractions beyond those faced when driving our standard personal vehicles.

When developing and communicating your driving policy for employees, keep these considerations in mind.

Passenger Vehicle Safety

All individuals who drive a van owned or leased by your outfitter business should adhere to the following safety rules:

  • Before operating the vehicle, the driver is obligated to inspect it to ensure it’s safe and properly functioning.
  • If any vehicle defects are found in the pre-trip inspection, they must be promptly reported to the designated individual or group responsible for overseeing vehicle safety within the company.
  • All drivers are obligated to adhere to state, local and company traffic regulations.
  • Engines should be turned off and ignition keys removed when parking, refueling or leaving the vehicle.
  • The use of seat belts and shoulder harnesses (if applicable) is always mandatory for all drivers and passengers.
  • Unattended passenger vans must be always locked.
  • Passenger vans must be parked in legal spaces and should not obstruct traffic.
  • When operating a passenger van, drivers should always keep their headlights on.
  • Passenger vans carrying materials extending 4 feet or more beyond the rear should display a red flag or a 12-inch square red cloth during the day and be equipped with a red light visible for 300 feet at night on the load’s extreme end.
  • Articles, tools, equipment and other items placed in vans should be securely positioned to avoid obstructing the driver’s vision or interfering with the van’s proper operation.
  • If the driver’s view behind the van is obstructed, they should walk behind the van before attempting to reverse or deploy the use of a spotter.
  • All accidents must be reported. An investigation of all accidents should be completed and reviewed with the employee who was driving the vehicle at the time of the incident.
  • Drivers are prohibited from operating any passenger vans while fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
  • Drivers must ensure, without exception, that passengers fill each row of seats starting from the front of the vehicle before occupying seats in the middle or rear. This measure is aimed at reducing the risk of van rollovers.
  • In addition to reviewing a prospective driver’s motor vehicle record (MVR), all potential passenger van drivers will be subject to a road test. Those who do not successfully complete the road test should not be authorized to operate vehicles.
  • While not mandatory for vans carrying fewer than 15 passengers and one driver, it’s recommended that all drivers of vans carrying 12 or more passengers, including the driver, hold a commercial driver’s license or have completed a defensive driving course.
  • All drivers of vans with 12 or more passengers should possess at least one year of prior experience operating equipment similar to that which they’ll be driving for the company.
  • All vehicles should be equipped with a seatbelt for each passenger.
  • Drivers should have access to a cellphone and a list of emergency numbers. The cellphone should be used exclusively for emergencies and only when the vehicle is safely parked.
  • Before passengers board the van, they should be asked to sign a passenger van safety agreement.

Don’t Get Distracted by Passengers

Distractions inside the vehicle are no excuse to drive dangerously. As such, require passengers to remain seated with their seatbelts fastened and keep loud conversations to a minimum. If you must address a passenger issue, pull over so that you don’t put everyone’s safety at risk.

Maintain Your Vehicles

Inspect the vehicle before each trip. The most important thing is to check the brakes. Be sure you know how to do this and how to identify other potential vehicle safety defects. Pre- and post-trip inspections are essential to preventing mechanical issues and related hazards when operating a vehicle.

Know Your No-zones

Your blind spots in a passenger van or bus are larger than in regular vehicles. These extended blind spots are commonly referred to as “no-zones.” Other drivers may be unaware of these enlarged blind spots, so it’s best to be attentive by frequently checking for smaller vehicles in your no-zones.

Prepare for the Road Ahead

These rules and guidelines aim to minimize risks associated with vehicle operations and ensure everyone’s safety and well-being. By adhering to these guidelines and regularly conducting inspections and preventive maintenance, your outfitter can promote a secure and responsible approach to vehicle safety.

As we anticipate ongoing commercial auto premium increases in 2024, download our  2024 Property & Casualty Market Outlook  for further insights into the latest trends and predictions to help plan your business strategy. 

For additional risk management guidance and insurance solutions for your business,  request a free CBIZ Adventure Sport Insurance quote  today.

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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CBIZ Sattler Adventure Sports Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., is the largest insurer of adventure sports businesses in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we developed a policy coverage to meet the needs for those in the recreation and outfitting industries. Our policy is underwritten by an A.M. Best Rated A++ (Superior) company.