Council amends policy to require driving course

City employees who have one or more motor vehicle violations within a one-year period, or a conviction for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, would be required to take a defensive driving course under a change to the municipal employee policy.

City Council adopted a resolution (AR-111-97) during its meeting on Monday, about a month after Mayor Samson Steinman had his second reported car crash in a city vehicle in barely six months. The mayor took medical leave on March 20 after a March 18 crash on Kline Place. He also had an early-morning crash in August on Central Avenue.

Asked whether the amendment was in response to the mayor’s recent incidents in city-owned vehicles, City Administrator Cherron Rountree said: “This is a policy decision that we think makes sense for the municipality.”

According to the resolution, “The overriding objective of a Defensive Driving Rule is to reduce the likelihood of an employee operating a City-owned vehicle being involved in an accident. The city desires to incorporate the concept of defensive driving to promote standard accident-preventing techniques to reduce road accidents caused by driver error with regard to employees operating a City-owned vehicles [sic].”

Drivers may be required to attend a defensive driving course if a review of the driver’s motor vehicle record indicates:

  • One or more violation convictions within any one-year period;
  • Conviction for driving while under the influence or alcohol or drugs;

Driver training also is required after all accidents involving the driver and a city-owned vehicle if the Police Department’s Accident Investigation Unit deems the accident was preventable — “regardless of the issuance of a summons or citation to the employee/driver.”

Successful completion of the course is required prior to resuming the operation of a city-owned vehicle. Depending on the severity of the conviction, the employee’s driving privileges may be revoked and/or may result in employment termination.