Established public carrierstrains, buses, and commercial airlinesare
the safest and most comfortable way for groups to travel. Chartered buses usually
are the most economical transportation for groups of 20 or more. It may be necessary
for small groups to travel in private automobiles; however, the use of chartered
equipment from established rail, bus, and airline companies is strongly
General guidelines for automobile travel are as follows:
- Seat belts are required for all occupants.
- All drivers must have a valid driver's license that has not
been suspended or revoked for any reason. If the vehicle
to be used is designed to carry more than 15 people, including
the driver (more than 10 people, including the driver, in California),
the driver must have a commercial driver's license.
- An adult leader (at least 21 years of age) must be in charge
and accompany the group.
- The driver must be currently licensed and at least 18 years of
age. However, there is a youth participant exception: When
traveling to an area, regional, or national activity or any Explorer
event under the leadership of an adult (at least 21 years of age)
outing leader, a youth participant at least 16 years of age may
be a driver, subject to the following conditions:
- Six months' driving experience as a licensed driver
(time on a learner's permit or equivalent is not to
- No record of accidents or moving violations
- Parental permission granted to the leader, driver,
- Passenger cars or station wagons may be used for transporting
passengers, but passengers should not ride on the rear deck of
- Trucks may not be used for transporting passengers except in
- All driving, except on short trips, should be done in daylight.
- All vehicles must be covered by automobile liability insurance
with limits that meet or exceed requirements of the state in which
the vehicle is licensed. It is recommended that coverage limits
are at least $100,000 combined single limit. Any vehicle designed
to carry 10 or more passengers is required to have limits of
$100,000/$500,000/$100,000 or a $500,000 combined single limit.
- Do not exceed the speed limit.
- Do not travel in a convoy.
- Driving time is limited to a maximum of 10 hours and must be
interrupted by frequent rest, food, and recreation stops. If
there is only one driver, the driving time should be reduced, and
stops should be made more frequently.
Campers, Trailers, and Trucks
The beds of trucks or trailers must never be used for carrying
passengers. Outing permits will not be issued for any trip that
involves carrying passengers in a truck except in the cab. (One
exception is if the truck is a part of a float in a parade; there the
youth may ride on back but only while in the parade, not to and from
A driver of a bus or any vehicle designed to carry more than 15
people (including the driver) is required to have a commercial
The safety rules for automobiles apply to bus travel, with the
exception of seat belts. In special cases, chartered buses may travel
more than nine hours a day. On certain occasions, night travel by
public carrier bus is appropriate. It should be considered permissible
when conditions are such that rest and sleep for passengers are
possible with a reasonable degree of comfort. However, night travel
on buses should not be planned for two successive nights.
All buses must be covered by liability insurance with limits equal
to or greater than $500,000.
Observe these safety guidelines for train travel:
- Don't lean out of windows or doors.
- When changing trains, don't cross railroad tracks
- Stay out of vestibules. Keep the railroad car door
- In case of illness or accident, see a train official
who can arrange for medical help.
- On overnight trips, one leader should be on watch
duty at all times.
In national parks and some other areas of the country, special boat and
canoe regulations are in force, and special boat permits are required for
cruising or recreation. Follow these safety precautions:
- All outing leaders must have current training in Safety
- U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) recommends and Learning for Life
regulations require that an approved USCG personal flotation
device (PFD) be worn by each participant using watercraft in
an aquatics activity. Types II and III PFDs are recommended
for activity afloat.
- Rowboats or canoes carrying passengers should not be towed
behind motorboats or sailboats.
- Use of canoes should be restricted to swimmers who have
satisfactorily demonstrated their ability in launching, landing,
and paddling a canoe and in handling a swamped canoe.
Canoeists should be taught the proper procedure for staying
afloat if the canoe capsizes or is swamped.
- Small boats, whether under sail or power, used for pleasure
or ferry purposes, must have a minimum capacity of 10 cubic feet
per person. Boats propelled by hand powersuch as
rowboatsand used for pleasure purposes only must provide a
minimum of 7 cubic feet per person. (Lifeboats on passenger-carrying
vessels propelled by power must comply with the 10-cubic-foot
- Provisions also should be made on all boats under sail or
power for a sufficient quantity or supply of oars and rowlocks or
paddles to be used in case of emergency. Fire-fighting equipment
and lights also must be carried aboard.
- Bilges of gasoline-powered boats should be kept free from
gasoline and oil at all times. Thorough ventilation, either natural
or by blower, is necessary to dispel gasoline vapor.
- Motorized personal watercraft, such as jet skis, are not
authorized for use.
- To prevent ignition by static electricity during refueling,
establish complete metallic contact between the nozzle of the
filling hose and the tank opening or filling pipe, and maintain
contact until gasoline has ceased to flow. If a funnel is used,
establish contact with the funnel and the opening in the tank.
All passengers should be ashore during refueling.
For regulations that govern cruises by private powerboat or sailboat,
refer to Motorboat Regulations, published by the U.S. Coast
Air travel is permitted as follows:
- Learning for Life and Exploring participants may travel on any flight
scheduled by a commercial airline.
- The Learning for Life Flying Permit Application (see sample in the
appendix) is required for all Learning for Life flying activities except
for commercial flights. The local Learning for Life office reviews
and approves the flying permit just as it would an outing permit.
The Parent/Guardian Consent Form (see sample in the appendix) is also
required. Groups/posts should attach the signed consent form to the
Learning for Life Flying Permit Application and keep a copy of the signed
consent forms in their files.
- Flying in hang gliders, ultra-light airplanes, experimental-class
aircraft, and hot-air balloons (whether or not they are tethered);
parachuting, and flying in aircraft as part of a search-and-rescue mission
are unauthorized activities.
- Airplane travelers are cautioned about what they pack in their luggage.
In flight, variations in temperature and air pressure can cause some
hazardous materials to leak or ignite. Included in the category of hazardous
materials that should not be packed in luggage are matches or lighters;
flammable liquids and gases; signal flares and other explosives; and bleaches,
aerosols, mercury, and solvents containing dangerous chemicals that can
cause toxic fumes and corrosion.
If a group/post plans a trip within 500 miles of the home base, it
is important that the unit obtain a local Learning for Life outing permit.
A national Learning for Life outing permit is required for trips in excess
of 500 miles from home or outside the continental United States. (See
samples of both in the appendix.)
Outing permits have become recognized by national parks, military
institutions, and other organizations as proof that an activity has been
well-planned and organized and is under capable and qualified leadership.
These organizations may require the outing permit for entry.
Most short, in-town trips of a few hours do not require an outing
permit; however, it is recommended that groups/posts obtain permission
slips from parents and follow all requirements as found in the outing
The following questions and answers may help you understand how drivers
fall into a category of private motor carriers that are subject to the
commercial driver's license (CDL) rules:
- What is a "private motor carrier of passengers?"
A private motor carrier of passengers does not offer transportation
services for hire but (a) transports passengers in interstate (some
state regulations apply to intrastate) commerce, and (b) uses a vehicle
designed to carry more than 15 passengers, which includes the driver,
or a vehicle that has a gross vehicular weight greater than 10,000
- What are some examples of usage of a private motor carrier
Learning for Life groups/posts that use vehicles designed to carry
more than 15 passengers, such as buses, is one example. The driver
in this case is often a volunteer driver of a bus that is owned or
leased. This category is referred to as nonbusiness private motor
carrier of passengers and is probably the most frequent usage
subject to the rule.
- What about the use of school buses?
In most states, Learning for Life groups that contract with schools
to use buses fall into the for-hire category, and the school is
subject to the federal safety regulations. Since public school
transportation vehicles are not subject to CDL rules when transporting
students, the school may not realize that the for-hire regulations
apply. The consequence could have a ruinous effect on a planned
Learning for Life activity.
- How will the rule be enforced?
The primary enforcement activity of both categories, business and
nonbusiness, is the driver/vehicle inspection. Inspections can be
performed anywhere on the road or at destination points such as
parks, sporting complexes, etc. Only the business category is
subject to compliance reviews and record keeping, but if serious
safety problems are identified in either category of vehicle usage,
the operation of the vehicle is subject to being
- Are Learning for Life operations subject to the drug and alcohol
testing portion of the rule?
As of January 1, 1996, all operators of vehicles who are required
to have a commercial driver's license are subject to drug and alcohol
testing. There are no exemptions for the nonbusiness private motor
carrier of passenger category, which includes Learning for Life
volunteer drivers. Local Learning for Life executives should establish
guidelines for volunteer drivers based on the requirements of the
state where located.
- How do Learning for Life officials obtain the Department of
Transportation (DOT) identification number required for all
vehicles that are subject to the CDL rule?
Form MCS-150 should be requested from the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA), Office of Motor Carriers, in the
Learning for Life official's state. The completed form should
then be sent to the FHWA's office in Washington, D.C., where
a DOT number will be assigned. This number, as well as the
name, city, and state, should be displayed on the side of
the vehicle. An education and technical assistance package
can be obtained from the local FHWA office.
Safety First Learning for Life Guidelines
Copyright © 2002 by Learning for Life