The Boy Scouts of America’s updated transportation policy now requires all drivers to be at least 18 and have a valid driver’s license.
Scouting youth under age 18 are not insured under the BSA’s commercial general liability policy and cannot be allowed to drive to or from Scouting activities.
This includes an under-18 Scout or Venturer driving himself or herself to a Scouting event, even if he or she is the only one in the car. It includes short trips across town and long trips across the country.
There are no exceptions, and the new policy is effective immediately.
Previous exceptions to this policy, including those outlined in this blog post from 2014, were a source of confusion for volunteers. The BSA is listening to your concerns and eliminated the exceptions to simplify and reduce the complexity of the policy.
As with everything outlined in the Guide to Safe Scouting, the purpose is clear: keeping Scouts and Scouters safe.
BSA transportation policy
Read the BSA’s transportation policy at this link. Pay particular attention to the sections on:
- 15-passenger vans
- limits on an individual’s driving time
- hand-held cellphone use
Driving to/from troop or crew meetings
What about a 16- or 17-year-old Scout or Venturer driving to or from a troop/crew meeting? This one qualifies as “not applicable.”
Richard Bourlon, BSA team lead of health and safety, says, “Driving to or from a standard meeting place isn’t an official Scouting activity or part of any tour planning.”
Adds Mark Dama, BSA team lead of risk management, adds, “It’s similar to you going to work and coming home from work. You are not considered an employee at both of those times.”
So, as always, these teens should practice safe driving habits but are neither prohibited from nor required to drive to and from unit meetings.