LC: 49. DRIVING RULES
A. Men or women driving a motor vehicle on a public road must have a valid driver's license for the class of vehicle being driven, and must be familiar with and obey the driving regulations of the country.
Only those with valid driver's licenses should be allowed to drive on public roads. An unspoken Family rule seems to have developed that only men should drive. We would like to dispel this notion, which is why you will notice that the rule states that both qualified men and women may drive.
Be sure ... that every driver has a bona fide license (ML #1067:173).
Obey the traffic regulations and signs! They're for your own safety and that of others. You were supposed to have had to read them and pass a test on them before getting your driver's license, but if you don't remember them, you'd better study them again before taking a trip (ML #150:56).
B. Any vehicle that is in use on public roads must be properly registered and insured according to the laws of the country.
C. All vehicles in use must be safe, well maintained and in good running condition, otherwise they should not be used.
Dad has written extensively on vehicle safety. Unfortunately, for many Homes the criterion for using a vehicle is "does it move and will it get us where we want to go?" Driving a vehicle is dangerous enough without driving one with faulty or weak brakes, no lights, or bald tires, etc.
If your Home is using a vehicle, it is the Home's responsibility to make sure it is legally registered, insured and safe. Perhaps a good way to judge if a car is safe is to ask yourself if you would feel confident enough to take Mama or Peter for a ride in it. We recommend that your Home appoint a vehicle deacon to make sure the cars are well maintained.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A few ounces of proper maintenance and constant checking of your vehicle will save you many pounds of expensive repairs and costly delays. It's just being faithful stewards! (ML #150:32.)
Be sure that your vehicle papers are also kept up-to-date in proper order, with proper insurance and all the rest, so that doesn't cause you trouble (ML #1067:173).
D. Only prayerful, careful, and safe drivers should be permitted to drive. Any driver who causes an accident should generally have his driving privilege suspended for an appropriate period of time, which is to be decided upon by the Home.
Some people who have valid driver's licenses really aren't very good drivers. So if someone is not prayerful and/or careful or safe, then the Home may vote to revoke their driving privilege, at least for a given period of time.
If a driver causes an accident, they should lose their driving privilege for a period of time, which should be decided by the Home's voting members. This does not mean that any driver that is involved in an accident should lose the privilege. A driver may be in an accident that was not his fault. If he was stopped at a traffic light and someone smashed into the rear end of the car, that's not his fault, he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, though there may be a lesson to be learned from it.
But any driver who causes an accident, or who has to be repeatedly warned about reckless or unsafe driving, including speeding or not tuning in to his or her driving, should have his or her driving ability questioned. If someone hits somebody or smashes into another car, it brings up the obvious question of why it happened. Was the driver not paying attention? Was he or she being unsafe, unprayerful? Is the Lord trying to get through to him or her on something, etc.? As driving is such an important responsibility, in that you risk your life, the lives of your passengers and the lives of those that are around you and in other vehicles, anyone who causes an accident should have their driving privilege suspended for a period of time. As Dad admonished, "The driver's seat is one of the most responsible and dangerous positions in the world! Take it seriously and ask God for help" (MOP 4:1).
The appropriate period of time would have to be decided by the Home. If someone causes a minor accident, denting a fender, maybe he shouldn't drive for a short period of time, but if he causes a major accident, maybe he should have his driving privilege suspended for six months, a year, or longer. However, the penalty cannot always be determined only from the seriousness of the accident. Perhaps the lesser accident was just the Lord's mercy on the Home, but indicates a much more serious problem with the driver. The Home will have to decide.
Drivers should be safety-conscious at all times, and may need to go above and beyond the local regulations and customs in some countries not known for their traffic safety standards.
Driving in bad weather conditions can be very hazardous. When there is hard rain or when fresh snow is falling, avoid driving if you have a choice. Try to determine in advance the weather conditions where you plan to drive to. Getting caught in a storm front, freezing rain, etc., can be disastrous, and you could find yourself in terrible driving conditions, even though the place you came from wasn't experiencing bad weather when you left.
Driving is serious business in which everyone involved is in a potentially dangerous situation, and therefore requires a great deal of prayerfulness. It would be good for the driver and the passengers to make it a habit of frequently praying aloud for the Lord's help and protection. Passengers should be mindful of the driver and should not distract him; they should be watchful and in prayer for the driver. The person sitting in the front seat next to the driver should consider it his or her job to be the "driver's buddy" and assist the driver in every way possible and needed. Sometimes it's good and important to talk to the driver to keep him from dozing off at the wheel, especially if driving in the evening or in very hot weather, etc.
Any one of you who gets a traffic ticket should have to pay the penalty for breaking the law, and also write a full report for your Colony shepherd or supervisor, telling exactly how it happened.--And if you persistently prove you're a poor driver or even accident-prone, you should be grounded either permanently or until you've proven you have learned your lesson, repented, and can drive safely. Maybe you should even have to read this Letter through about ten times or memorize the parts you need or violated! (ML #150:57).
E. The following five requirements must be adhered to by all new Family drivers.
1. Read FSM 296 and all of the Letters available to you from the required reading list on pgs.9-10 of the FSM.
2. Take and pass the written test on page 13 of FSM 296.
3. A new (or inexperienced) driver must complete 20 hours of supervised driving with a competent Family driver, and must satisfy this Family driver's assessment of their driving. (Hours of driving training at a recognized driving academy or school may be counted toward the 20 hours of supervised driving time.)
a) An already experienced driver who has a valid driver's license and considerable Family driving experience, and who receives a recommendation from two of the Home officers that he/she is a safe, competent driver, does not have to meet the 20-hour requirement.
4. Two of the Home officers must sign your Family Driving Certificate before it is valid.
5. Once you have received a Family Driving Certificate, a simple majority vote of the Home's members, in each Home you go to, will then enable you to become a driver for that Home. Remember their lives will be in your hands when driving!
The term "new driver" used above not only applies to those who have just recently acquired a driver's license, which would generally be a senior teen or YA, but also those older Family members who may have had a driver's license for a number of years, but due to lack of actual driving experience may not be a qualified driver. In such a case, a Home may decide that these drivers need to have some recent hands-on experience before they can drive a van full of children or take witnessing teams out, etc. They may therefore vote in the same requirements that a new driver is expected to meet before getting their card--that is, 20 hours driving time plus approval from the teamworkers.
The supervised driving time would not necessarily need to be official "driver training," as our Homes probably don't have time for this in their busy schedules, but can be on-the-job practice. For example, an 18-year-old could do provisioning pickups with an experienced licensed driver in the car, who could instruct the new driver during the course of the day's driving. However, we do not recommend that new or inexperienced drivers drive a van full of people before getting their Family Driving Certificate.
While we are stipulating that two Home teamworkers and a competent Family driver can approve a "new" driver, after he or she has had their 20 hours of driving experience, the Home itself should also be in general agreement with the individual driving. Any voting member in a Home has the right to bring up in a Home council meeting the subject of driving and/or a specific driver if they feel he or she doesn't drive safely, to be discussed and/or voted on by the Home. In other words, those riding in a vehicle driven by a designated Home driver should have a reasonable amount of confidence in the driver's abilities, and if they don't, they have every right to bring it up for discussion in the proper forum.
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family