Mid-Minnesota RTCC expands volunteer driver recruitment strategies

In its continuous search for fresh ways to attract more volunteer drivers, the Mid-Minnesota Regional Transportation Coordinating Council tapped its members for new ways to increase awareness about the critical shortage of volunteer drivers. MMRTCC transportation resource coordinator Terry Smith shared driving opportunities with students of local mature driver accident prevention classes, still often referred to as “55-Alive” classes.

The safety-focused classes help older drivers — who often can receive auto insurance discounts by attending — improve their driving skills. Smith discovered that most participants are completely unaware of the volunteer driver program, let alone the opportunity to volunteer themselves. For MMRTCC, the success of this strategy hinges on establishing good relationships with course instructors. Though the instructors may have some initial skepticism, Smith has found that they have come to see his short presentation as a nice course enhancement. “While they do believe it’s valuable for their classes to know there is a volunteer driver service available for them when they need it,” Smith said, “they’re also happy to present their classes with the opportunity to help their nondriving neighbors while they’re still feeling comfortable and competent behind the wheel.”

Supporting volunteer drivers and volunteer driver programs is just one of the initiatives undertaken by the MMRTCC, which is funded by a MnDOT grant (both state and federal dollars) with a 10% program match from the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission.