Parents in your troop expect you’ll help mold their boys into better young men.
They also have another, equally important expectation: that you’ll keep Scouts safe while doing so.
Before you drive Scouts to your unit’s next campout or other event, ask yourself: Am I safe behind the wheel?
Your life — and the lives of your Scouts — may depend on it.
Transporting Scouts Safely
This quick, essential presentation (PDF) created by the BSA’s Risk Management team outlines ways to alert the drivers in your unit to the signs that could lead someone to an accident.
The end goal of the presentation is to keep you and other Scouters out of “The Risk Zone”— that place inhabited by dangerous, distracted, and drowsy driving.
The risks are real. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16 people are killed and more than 1,300 people are injured each day by distracted drivers.
Don’t let it happen to your Scout unit.
The presentation outlines the three main types of distraction:
- Visual—taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual—taking your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive—taking your mind off what you are doing.
Have you experienced any of these common distractions when driving Scouts around?
- Passenger disruptions inside the vehicle
- Traffic activity
- Surrounding landscape
- Programming electronic devices (i.e. navigational systems)
- Mobile phone calls
- Using smart phones
Here’s how the BSA’s Risk Management team suggests you avoid distracted driving:
- When you get behind the wheel put your cellphone/smartphone away, such as in your backpack or glove box.
- Turn the phone to “silent” or “off.”
- Only check your phone messages during rest stops or food breaks.
- If you must use the phone, pull the vehicle off the road and to a safe location.
- Do not call or send messages to others you know are driving.
Danger signals of drowsy driving include:
- Your eyes are burning, feel strained, or are involuntarily going out of focus and closing.
- Your head nods or you can’t stop yawning.
- You have wandering thoughts and daydreams.
- You’re driving erratically or at abnormal speeds, drifting, tailgating, or missing traffic signs.
- You catch yourself about to nod off.
- You don’t remember the last several miles driven.
- You cross over the rumble strips on the side of the pavement.
- You have micro-sleeps, which are very brief sleep episodes.
Other topics covered
Consult the complete PDF presentation for information on multipassenger vehicles, the differences between vans and SUVs, vehicle safety features, trailers, insurance, and more.
Risk Zone Quiz — Questions
Test yourself with these questions:
- The Centers for Disease Control reports how many people are killed each day by distracted drivers?
A. Less than 5 each month
B. Less than 10 each day
C. More than 16 each day
- NHTSA reports what percentage of injury crashes in 2009 involved distracted driving?
A. 100 percent
B. 20 percent
C. 50 percent
- NHTSA estimates how many crashes are a direct result of driver fatigue each year?
- Name three (3) distractions that can cause distracted driving.
- Name something that is an extremely hazardous distraction while driving.
- What makes these items especially hazardous when driving?
A. Because the driver takes his eyes off the road
B. Because the driver takes his hands off the steering wheel
C. Because the driver takes his mind off the road
D. All of the above
- Who decides what the driver does with his mobile phone?
A. The driver
B. The Scoutmaster
C. The chartered organization representative
- Name one thing the driver can do with his phone before getting behind the wheel.
A. Put it in the glove box
B. Keep it in their lap or front seat
C. Put it in their back pack
- Name three (3) signs of a drowsy driver.
- What is one thing the driver can do to combat drowsy driving?
A. Just like other days, drink lots of coffee
B. Make time to sleep
C. Take cold tablets or antihistamines right before the trip
- What makes 15-passenger vans susceptible to rollover accidents?
A. Improper tire pressure
B. Overcorrecting the steering after leaving the pavement
C. The center of gravity on the van higher and shifted to the center
D. All of the above
- Name three (3) differences in driving characteristics in vans and SUVs
- Name three (3) safety features included in new vehicles
- What is one of the most important items when towing a trailer?
A. The paint scheme lists the unit’s number
B. The ball and hitch are the proper size
C. The load is centered correctly
D. Both B and C
- True or False: Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most costly and serious claims in the BSA.
Risk Zone Quiz — Answers
passenger disruptions inside the vehicle
programming electronic devices (i.e. navigational systems)
Mobile phone calls
- Texting and smartphones
- A. or C.
- Eyes are burning, feel strained, or are involuntarily going out of focus and closing
head nods or you can’t stop yawning
have wandering thoughts and day dreams
Driving erratically or at abnormal speeds,
drifting, tailgating, or missing traffic signs
Don’t remember the last several miles driven
cross over the rumble strips on the side of the pavement
- Braking distance is longer
acceleration is slower
Turning is longer
Turning too sharp can cause a rollover
More blind spots
Small areas to see the blind spots
gusty winds can affect driving
parking needs more room
vehicle clearance is higher
- front seat airbags and side
automatic headlights and daytime running lights
automatic crash notification systems
Stability control systems
What do you think?
What are your tips for being safe when driving to Scout events? What about when Scouts in the back are being especially noisy and distracting? Leave your tips below.