We all have the best of intentions. We are just trying to help out, trying to save some money, trying to do the best for our students. Unfortunately this often means teachers are driving students. We are told 'the team can't afford to go if you don't drive', 'it will cost too much to get a bus', 'nothing will happen', 'you're being paranoid' etc etc etc. I am telling you now, it just isn't worth it. As a president I received a very clear message from our provincial organization WE ADVISE MEMBERS TO NOT TRANSPORT STUDENTS! They actually had their version of the message in all caps as well (I added the exclamation mark). The Highway Traffic Act, Section 192, Liability for Loss or Damage means the owner of the car incurs liability, regardless of who is driving. Is your spouse or partner willing to take that risk for your goodwill?
We know that some of our members will still insist on driving students but ask them to please take the following facts into consideration:
1. Drivers owe a special duty of care to child passengers
2. Members should purchase the maximum amount of third-party liability coverage (not the minimum of $200000)
3. Regardless of the coverage carried by the Employer, the member's own insurances ins the primary coverage.
4. Any litigation allowable un No Fault insurance would be settled using the member's insurance, a potentially stressful and time-consuming process.
Please note as well that if you are frequently transporting students, you need to extend your coverage beyond the scope of the basic automobile policy which result in a change to your premium paid.
The easiest way to avoid any insurance or liability issues is to simply not drive students. Ask your principal if they would be willing to take that risk. You may be surprised at the response.
The view from my desk, as Teacher Bargaining Unit President for D17 Simcoe