In a previous post we looked at how to start organizing a car-pool. If you are organizing a car-pool, your group will need some rules. Car-pool rules are easier to implement right from the start – if you just skip merrily along, making up rules as you go, your car-pool won’t be as useful or effective. Call an informal car-pool meeting and make sure all families who are interested attend. Then discuss the following…
P.S. It’s wise to have a note-taker. Have the note-taker type up the rules and other information. Later, email the car-pool rules to all the families involved.
All families in the car-pool need to know the following about the other parents:
- Full name of parent or parents (or anyone else) who will be driving.
- Home, work and cell number of all drivers.
- Home and work address of all drivers
- Available days and times people are available, or not available to drive.
- Number of kids in family who will be included in the car-pool.
- Size of car – i.e how many kids will safely fit in their car.
Some car-pool groups also want health care info for all the kids, but that’s optional in my opinion. That’s a lot of info to track, and honestly, if there’s an accident, everyone will end up at the closest medical facility anyhow and parents will be called.
The information above needs to be made into a list of sorts that each parent can carry with them in their car. If there’s an accident or someone needs to cancel, contact info for kids parents needs to be easy to locate.
Your group will need to create a list of basic car-pool safety rules, so that all the families involved can feel confident about their children being with another driver. You can make up any rules you like, but here are some basic ideas…
- All cars must be insured.
- First aid kits should be carried in all cars.
- No talking on a cell or texting while driving.
- No smoking in the car.
- Make sure each parent knows about any health concerns of all kids participating.
- Car seats are a must if kids are young and seat belts are a must for everyone. See various state car seat and safety belt rules.
- Age of kids allowed in the front. In Oregon, the law states that kids under the age of 13 should sit in the back as it reduces the risk of crash injury by 37% for this age group. However, that’s just a recommendation, not a law.
- Are kids allowed to eat while in the car? This is negotiable. In a car-pool situation, eating might mean too many distractions or pose a choking hazard, or it could keep kids busy. You’ll have to decide what works for your group of kids.
Other possible issues to discuss at your car-pool meeting:
- How many times a parent can be late or absent before loosing their car-pool spot.
- How soon in advance should folks schedule planned absences, such as vacations.
- You may want to set up alternate drivers. I.e. who will drive if someone can’t make it?
- Sick kid rule. Do you still want a parent to drive in the pool, even if their child is sick and must come along?
- You may want to set up some simple rules for kids in the car-pool too, such as not screaming or distracting the driver.
- Do you need any drop-off rules? For example, should parents watch to be sure kids enter their school or not?
- If no parent is home when the child is dropped off after school, does someone need to be called or is the child old enough to latch-key the situation?
What other car-pool rules do you think are good to implement?