A Scouter in an online forum recently asked whether Scouts can drive themselves and their friends to outings. The answer is almost always no, but some context is perhaps helpful.
One of the first rules outlined in the Guide to Safe Scouting is driver qualifications. In virtually all cases, drivers must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license that hasn’t been suspended or revoked. (You must also have a tour leader who’s at least 21 years of age.)
Licensed drivers who are 16 or 17 years old may drive under very limited conditions, which virtually eliminate the use of under-18 drivers during troop activities. The conditions are:
- The trip is to a Venturing activity or an area, regional, or national Boy Scout event (e.g., the National Order of the Arrow Conference).
- The driver has at least six month’s experience as a fully licensed driver—not including time with a learner’s permit.
- The driver has no record of accidents or moving violations.
- You’ve obtained parental permission from both the driver and any riders.
By the way, each vehicle used on a Scout outing must be covered by automobile liability insurance with limits that at least meet the requirements of the state where it’s licensed. The BSA recommends coverage limits of at least $50,000/$100,000/$50,000 (or a combined $100,000 single limit coverage). Vehicles that can carry 10 or more passengers—even if they’re half full—must have limits of $100,000/$500,000/$100,000 (or $500,000 combined).
So do the driving rules mean Scouts can’t drive themselves to weekly meetings (or to your meeting place to catch a ride to an outing in an adult’s vehicle)? Not at all. That commuting isn’t part of the event.
For lots more on this topic, see Bryan on Scouting.
Are you looking for more tips on how to manage a troop, maintain your sanity, and make a difference? Check out The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook today!