Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: Impact of company mandated driver's license?

  1. #1

    Impact of company mandated driver's license?

    Hi, all.

    My company has recently decided to impose a mandate on all employees to hold a driver's license and insurance, and anyone not in compliance within the next 60 days will be terminated. I appear to be the only one (or the only one willing to talk) that has voiced opposition to this, so I am looking for literature that may support how this type of mandate can adversely affect the city/community in terms of public transportation, cost (to the driver and to personnel to audit),etc. I'm not having much luck through typical search channels, especially for a city the size of mine in the South (lacking the alternative transportation infrastructure found in more urbanized parts of the country), so I thought I'd take it to the forum.

    If anyone cares for details, they follow below.

    I live in the Deep South, in a small city with a pop of about 50,000 (metro 100,000). In case you couldn't surmise, alternative transportation hasn't really been at the top of our to-do list what with the crippling health and educational problems we face. But just recently, at my company's first FY meeting, we were told that a new policy - effective immediately - will require us all to have a valid driver's license and auto insurance (meaning, of course, we will also need an automobile to insure). While I am already in compliance, this sent up a number of red flags for me, the token liberal arts college kid, in a way that immediately sent me searching for ways to defend my position in saying this mandate needs to be recanted.

    I work for a large economic development company that owns and operates several tourist attractions around town. The company strives to put forth the best image of the city we possibly can in order to revitalize communities which were once major economic hubs of the state that have fallen victim to neglect and abandon. Many of these communities are serviced through our city bus system, which has been in operation for more than 60 years. In fact, many people in these communities rely heavily on the buses to get from one place to another, since many businesses and services have left their areas in a slow dissipation since the mid-1970s (I'll spare you the history lesson here). That is, this is a city plagued by racialized food deserts and major spatial segregation. The link that is keeping some communities a part of the city at all is the bus.

    For that reason, myself and a handful of other residents in town take the bus just to provide service revenue for the routes to stay in operation, as well as to connect to other communities (I can totally admit I'm guilty of never leaving my own neighborhood for a week or more except to go to work). While I am thankful I also have the capability to drive to work, I also appreciate that there are other options available to me, especially in a town of this size. However, this city doesn't have the highest rate of compliance with automobile legality, and there are ebbs and flows on the bus when some people haven't paid their insurance, or their car isn't running, or whatever. Frankly, without this periodic influx, I'm not sure public transportation here will last another 5 years.

    All that said, I fear that if a company our size, which is centrally located in the city, serviceable by 80% of our bus routes, and a very public face of city business itself can pull off a massive company-wide automobile mandate, that other companies will do the same. Since we are pretty profitable for our size and scope, and this is a way for us to save a little bit on our company insurance, that other companies will inevitably follow our model. *IF* (big if) other companies follow suit, I fear that those who rely on the bus to get to work (approximately 40% of all riders according to the assessment I did for my Masters thesis in 2011) will face a similar mandate, but not be as lucky as other individuals with access to some form of private transportation. One could speculate the slew of other economic impacts that could have, as well as the obvious economic impact to the bus route.

    Here, I should tack on that when I asked about people who got rides from friends, etc., I received no solid answer about what would happen to them. The mandate has already been written into the contracts, which is not to say it can't be rewritten, but I'm not sure they considered that alternative (yet).

    But, in addition to the above, I just don't see the economic value of hiring mixed-time staff to conduct the first sweep and subsequent audits in addition to having employees pay for a car, a license, and insurance (or any combination thereof). Furthermore, I don't know that this is entirely legal, but I don't really know anything about the law in that respect.

    So, like I said, if anyone knows of any literature (or any projects, theses, etc.) on the impact of mandated modes of transportation, I'm all ears. I would like to present a decent case to the executive director.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,247
    If you ever have to use a company/agency car than this is a reasonable request. The company/agency would be liable.

    Several years back we had an issue where we had part timers abusing the fleet cars. They would disappear for weeks at a time, drop trannys, and used for vacations (while signed out for field work!) This caused my agency to employ a similar policy. I did not think much of it at first, but then I got a warrant for my arrest as my brother used to have a habit of getting drunk driving and giving my name as he was thrown in the pokey in order to screw up the judicial process. His theory was 'well you threw me in jail under the wrong name what else did you screw up?' but I digress.

    Needless to say I was put into a bad position, particularly since my chief job is that of a transportation planner! Luckily we had a sympathetic (ex-cop) human resource manager who knew how habitual offenders work and don't care who they throw under the bus.

    Why am I saying all of this? There my be some reasonable reason why they are requiring that you furnish this data. I would probe more before making a statement that you may regret.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3
    I agree totally, and am awaiting an email from HR about it. Since the majority of us are required to provide our own transportation, company cars are generally limited to maintenance trucks and shuttles for conventions, but I could still see there being some sedan being used for beer runs and trips to the coast by some bored mid-level. For clarification, I haven't said anything other than to ask the "what if" question about people getting rides, etc.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Buffalo, New York
    Posts
    11
    I don't have any real answers for you, except for the fact that if my company decided to implement that policy, I would be terminated. I don't have a car therefore I don't have insurance. I can see the requiring a license, especially if company cars are being used, but the having insurance would generally imply you have to have a car. Insurance is expensive. When I sold my car, I asked my insurance company about if I should keep my insurance so that if I ever do buy a vehicle again, I wouldn't have a gap in coverage, and the cost was super high considering it was insurance against a hypothetical car I might be driving (I think it was something like $800/year...and I was only paying $1200/ year to insure my car) It's an unnecessary cost, since I rarely drive anyone's cars except my parents on rare occasions, and I'm included as a secondary driver on their policies.

    I've been car free for a year now, and I think I'm more in tune to paying attention to things like this now...but here in Western New York we have some wacky things. There's an organization that is considered to be an environmental advocacy group, dealing with conservation and green technologies, and river habitat restoration. They put out a job release which required a vehicle. Another firm, that regularly wins awards for being one of the most green, most sustainable firms is located way out in a second ring suburb, more than a 2 mile walk from the closest bus route (which only runs twice a day), so you basically have to have a car to work there. Things like this confuse me to no end.

    I'm interested to hear what others have to say about your situation.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lowering the PCI in the Hills
    Posts
    5,738
    I have no real insight but I would think that requiring any employee who might possibly operate a company-owned vehicle to have a current driver's license should be SOP. However, requiring all employees to have one seems a bit unnecessary (unless this is a tiny firm with just a few employees where any of them might be expected to operate a vehicle).

    I would have a problem with the employer requiring that the individual's also have their own automobile insurance (although I will stipulate that anybody who owns a car should be in compliance with whatever insurance mandates their state has in place). In my opinion, if the firm is providing a company-owned vehicle to drive on company business, the firm's insurance policy should cover both the driver and the firm form any liability.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  6. #6
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2008
    Location
    the delta
    Posts
    1,203
    I asked a family member who is in the insurance business and here is what he told me....

    They can legally require you to have a license and insurance. However, you do not say whether or not they force you to have a car. If your company does not require you to be mobile/have a sales-type-job I think you may have cause for wrongful termination if you are fired. You can get a non-owner's policy with just your license from most insurance companies and these are pretty cheap.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2005
    Location
    The Gig City
    Posts
    2,655
    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I would have a problem with the employer requiring that the individual's also have their own automobile insurance (although I will stipulate that anybody who owns a car should be in compliance with whatever insurance mandates their state has in place). In my opinion, if the firm is providing a company-owned vehicle to drive on company business, the firm's insurance policy should cover both the driver and the firm form any liability.
    Agree. Your personal insurance shouldn't matter if the vehicle is used for business purposes. I do agree that requiring a license of everyone makes sure that at any moment anyone can drive if needed (as you mentioned shuttles for conventions).

    What I don't understand is why, if you are compliant and everyone in the company is, you would take it upon yourself to challenge your company with this unless you are in HR or legal? Surely you have better use of your time. I might bring it up but leave it in their lap.
    @GigCityPlanner

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    However, you do not say whether or not they force you to have a car.
    While that isn't in the mandate, I was under the impression that in order to have insurance, one must have something to insure. So no, they do not require us to have a car, but they do require us to be insured. My insurance is through a company in Texas, so it follows my car, not me (same thing for a roommate I had from Indiana, but not a roommate from California, whose insurance only covered him), so anyone with a license could legally drive my car and be covered. Seems to me the company can afford that, if that's an option available here in MS, which it very well may not be.

    Quote Originally posted by Tide
    What I don't understand is why, if you are compliant and everyone in the company is, you would take it upon yourself to challenge your company with this unless you are in HR or legal? Surely you have better use of your time. I might bring it up but leave it in their lap.
    Like I mentioned, I'm sensitive to this kind of thing because of my upbringing, experience, and background. I bought a car shortly after I moved to MS because buses only run weekdays from 8-5 (outside my work hours), you can't walk or bike safely around here, and no major services are close to the residential areas (grocery stores off of highways and that sort of thing). All of the initial expenses for me to get a car, insurance, etc. while I was a research assistant at the University making only a couple hundred dollars a week were tremendous, and I'm still slowly rebounding from it. I just don't think it's necessary to impose that type of mandate in the first place, especially if we're all presumably in compliance. The director is a reasonable guy, and he'll listen to reasonable conjecture on the impact of his ideas and new company policy, but I also know that anyone who may be affected will just scrape together the cash to comply since they're concerned with keeping their jobs (I am in a slightly different position). I just want to suggest alternatives rather than an across the board mandate. Seriously, I want to know why it's not okay for someone to get a ride from a spouse or whatever, and I want to know if the 16 year old kids who work for us and don't have licenses or insurance suddenly have to get them (likely on their parents' dime). Just things like that that seem carelessly overlooked as this mandate was made in haste for the new FY.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,953
    Quote Originally posted by saverte View post
    While that isn't in the mandate, I was under the impression that in order to have insurance, one must have something to insure. So no, they do not require us to have a car, but they do require us to be insured. My insurance is through a company in Texas, so it follows my car, not me (same thing for a roommate I had from Indiana, but not a roommate from California, whose insurance only covered him), so anyone with a license could legally drive my car and be covered. Seems to me the company can afford that, if that's an option available here in MS, which it very well may not be.
    There are two kinds of auto-related insurance. The first kind is intended to insure the value of your car, including collision (you get in an accident) and/or comprehensive (for non-accident types of damage, like getting hit by hail). The second insurance is for the driver. Liability insurance (and underinsured motorist coverage) is to cover injury to people and damages to property as a result of an accident. This is what your company wants you to carry and many states do already mandate a minimum amount of coverage for anyone with a driver's license. Whatever those limits are, though, they are not enough. A policy with $100,000 per person and $300,000 per incident can be consumed in no time, and this is already more than most state laws require. It does not cost that much more to up the limit to $250,000 per person. Also, do carry underinsured motorist coverage. Chances are the person who hits you is carrying the minimum coverage, and you don't want to be stuck with $100,000 in medical bills, lost work, etc., and only be able to collect $50,000 from their insurance company.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2004
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    368
    Are they not concerned that this actiuon opens them up to ADA discrimination lawsuits, as there are medical conditions which have no bearing on ability to work which nonetheless prevent one from holding a drivers license, such as epilepsy..

  11. #11
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Wishing I were in Asia somewhere!
    Posts
    9,810
    Blog entries
    5
    I think it would be dependent upon an employee's job description and whether or not driving was an essential duty of the position. Also automobile insurance often has exclusions/declarations and a frequent one that comes up is do you use your vehicle for business purposes. Every state is different.

    What I hear you saying is that a blanket mandate of requiring a drivers license/insurance is concerning because there are employees that may choose not to drive, are unable to drive, or do not have the means to own a vehicle and that driving is not a part of their job duties.

    FWIW when I worked for a state agency, if I used my personal vehicle for transportation to/from work sites and wanted mileage/toll reimbursements I had to provide a copy of my license, vehicle registration card, and current insurance card.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2004
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    368
    My wife had trouble finding work in Alaska because she had a lot of experience with airlines, and had lived for years in a place where owning a car was silly, it's a little teensy island. She starts doing applications on the computer the only way they would take them) and one of the first questions is "Do you have a current drivers licence and a reliable car?" "No." "Thank you for your interest in this position. Goodbye."
    This is just a way of folding discrimination into the application without actually saying "____ need not apply"; it's just another way of preventing "those people" from getting a job.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Mar 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    37
    I see job ads all the time in California that state that the applicant is required to own a car. Usually the code words are "reliable transportation required." In my opinion this is discrimination and is no different from requiring the applicant to be of a particular race, gender or religion. If the employee is showing up on time and doing their job, the employer has no business knowing or caring how they get there.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,953
    Quote Originally posted by bentobox34 View post
    I see job ads all the time in California that state that the applicant is required to own a car. Usually the code words are "reliable transportation required." In my opinion this is discrimination and is no different from requiring the applicant to be of a particular race, gender or religion. If the employee is showing up on time and doing their job, the employer has no business knowing or caring how they get there.
    We do work in a profession where we may be required to go out into the field to examine site conditions, work in the neighborhood, attend meetings outside of the building, visit a client, etc. In these cases it is not unreasonable to expect the employee to have some means of accomplishing this. It is not simply a question of how the employee will get to the office, but whether they have the ability to carry out the functions associated with the job. If they can't get to where they need to be, when they need to be, with all of the equipment they may need to bring (here I mean that it is not practical to lug a laptop, projector, 20 pounds of printed handouts, and 1 dozen mounted posters on a bike or bus), then they can't do the job. If someone is hiring a planner and requires them to know Microsoft Word, or Excel, or ArcGIS, is it discrimination? How about the ability to speak English? These are skills required to do the job. I do think, though, that they should make the requirement "the ability to obtain a valid driver's license" and then make continued employment contingent upon obtaining a license within a period such as 30 days.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    761
    1. I've never taken or even applied for a job that did not have this requirement
    2. I've never once been asked about it or to provide any evidence of compliance

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2004
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    368
    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    It is not simply a question of how the employee will get to the office, but whether they have the ability to carry out the functions associated with the job.
    And for jobs that do not require any such things? Why should a job where you are going to be in the same room for the entire workday and cannot leave the worksite require a working car? Should we really be encouraging people to lie on applications?

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Vancity's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    992
    I work in the automotive industry and I am not required to have a licence or a car. Thank god. If I did I would be unemployed, I have no access to these things.. unless I want to quit college. I don't know if you can but I'd be arguing the social effects of such a mandate. It leaves perfectly employable workers such as myself, unemployed.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,695
    Quote Originally posted by Vancity View post
    I work in the automotive industry and I am not required to have a licence or a car. Thank god. If I did I would be unemployed, I have no access to these things.. unless I want to quit college. I don't know if you can but I'd be arguing the social effects of such a mandate. It leaves perfectly employable workers such as myself, unemployed.
    How much does it cost to obtain a driver's license in Canada? Having a driver's license does NOT mean that you have to own a car or even drive a car (and have insurance). Here in NY, which probably has a lot stricter training requirements for getting a license than many if not most states, it's a few hundred dollars to get the training and the learner's permit. After you pass your road test, it's like $50 every four years or something.

    Out here in Redneck Heaven, though, if you don't have a driver's license -- and a vehicle -- you are essentially limited to living close to your work because we really don't have real public transit, and it's frequently too cold (like today) and/or snowy to ride a bike very far.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  19. #19
    Quote Originally posted by JusticeZero View post
    Are they not concerned that this actiuon opens them up to ADA discrimination lawsuits, as there are medical conditions which have no bearing on ability to work which nonetheless prevent one from holding a drivers license, such as epilepsy..
    I wondered about this as well. Seems like they should have to make reasonable accommodation for people with limited yesig, foe example.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Vancity's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    992
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    How much does it cost to obtain a driver's license in Canada? Having a driver's license does NOT mean that you have to own a car or even drive a car (and have insurance). Here in NY, which probably has a lot stricter training requirements for getting a license than many if not most states, it's a few hundred dollars to get the training and the learner's permit. After you pass your road test, it's like $50 every four years or something.

    Out here in Redneck Heaven, though, if you don't have a driver's license -- and a vehicle -- you are essentially limited to living close to your work because we really don't have real public transit, and it's frequently too cold (like today) and/or snowy to ride a bike very far.

    It sounds like it is similar. I have a "novice" permit (which comes after having a learner's permit for a year), which I've had years longer than I needed to, because I don't want to pay the $75 to take the test for a full driver's licence. Renewal is about $75 every 5 years I think. Training before tests is not mandatory, but for those who take it, it ranges from 300-1000 dollars around here.

    It's car insurance that is costly here, around $180/month for a beater... that varies from city to city however. Gas is much more expensive overall in Canada as well.

  21. #21
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Wishing I were in Asia somewhere!
    Posts
    9,810
    Blog entries
    5
    Previous career....applications for employment asked "do you have reliable transportation to work?" That can mean any number of things but mostly can you get too and from work reliably and on time. I actually don't think that it's legal to ask "do you have a vehicle" unless it is an essential component of the position itself.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  22. #22
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    in a meeting
    Posts
    8,537
    sometimes this requirement is also done to weed out or terminate employees who lost their license due to an OUI

    but the insurance thing is a little odd - especially since if you do own a car in most states you are required to be insured so I assume this is there to ensure everyone owns a car -

    if you are driving a company car, then I agree with other folks that it makes sense to require a license

    I guess in a suburban community this would get to Kjel's thoughts on reliable transportation but in more urban or compact communities that have decent public transportaiton and, with an incoming generation of workers that don't drive at all by choice, this is really an outdated requirement

    what's odd is it was sprung on you all too - not a "from now on" kind of thing - so something must have happened to freak out the decision makers to put this in

    I think you can ask the question - but be delicate about it (becasue there is a story there) and in a way to suggest kindly it might be outdated

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Valid driver's license
    Career Development and Advice
    Replies: 32
    Last post: 14 Sep 2007, 12:43 PM
  2. Replies: 18
    Last post: 24 Mar 2006, 1:46 AM
  3. Replies: 36
    Last post: 14 Nov 2005, 12:44 PM
  4. The Definitive Driver's Ed. Thread
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 23
    Last post: 07 Oct 2005, 4:52 PM
  5. Replies: 2
    Last post: 31 Jan 2000, 10:00 AM