Can I enroll a volunteer in the EPN program in California?

This is a tough one because it often depends on the CHP officer or DMV analyst that you speak to. Some will tell you that you cannot and others will say you can.   The reality is that just because a person is a volunteer driver, does not mean that their free labor reduces your liability when they are involved in an accident.  So, what do you do to ensure that the volunteer driver is not a risk?

If you look at the labor code, wage and hour laws and the like, these codes would tell you that since you are receiving the benefit of their labor (free or paid) you are on the hook for the volunteer in work comp, general liability and the like. They are essentially your employee, however, public entities have require Board approval under work comp in California.

The same goes here.  You should provide similar safety training,  background checks, HR training and the like dependent upon the level of involvement a particular volunteer will have.  California legislature has illustrated this point several times; the most notable being the recent addition of the ASC Certificate requirements (implemented by AB 1025 and AB 346 the previous year) for volunteers of pupil activities. So, if you have a volunteer driver, you should do what?

Volunteer drivers do bring some risk to the table, so dependent upon the length of their service, a simple DMV Record Check will do.  If the volunteers are going to drive on a regular basis, I would suggest the EPN program is a better option.  When you place a volunteer in your EPN program you have to perform the same set of notifications and tasks as you would for an regular employee.  That means complying with FCRA requirements and having the employee provide you with permission to check their records.  Make sure you get the acknowledgement/permissions in writing.  If you follow these rules, then you should be able to place the volunteer in your EPN program.

For more info from California’s  Department of Motor Vehicles’ on  EPN’s, look here:

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