The type of enforcement officer working a school event will determine the type and scope of the inspection. Various agencies can be assigned, including school police, limousine regulatory agencies, local police, and state highway police. Here is what you might expect:
School police officers are sworn police officers and carry all the powers of a regular police officer, including the ability to issue citations, seize your vehicle, and arrest individuals. Do not assume they are security guards without authority. Do not ask whether they are a sworn officer or a security guard as it will only antagonize the officer and prolong the inspection. School police will concentrate solely on whether alcohol or drugs are in the vehicle. It is their job to ensure students attending a school event are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and prevent the presence of either one at the event.
While the scope of a regulatory agent is limited to enforcement within the scope of permitted operations, they have the ability to issue citations, suspend or revoke operating authorities, and terminate rides. The vehicle- and chauffeur-related inspections will focus on vehicle safety, proper licensing of the chauffeur and vehicle based on passenger capacity, and any special state requirements for driving students to a school sanctioned event. They generally will not concern themselves with student itineraries, but may out of a courtesy to the school check the vehicle for alcohol and drugs as well.
Local police inspections can include all of the above and are likely to be conducted by officers from the traffic division who are specially trained in commercial vehicle operations. They may inspect the trip ticket, pre-trip inspection form, vehicle safety, state vehicle inspection report (if required to be present in the vehicle), insurance and registration documents as well as interrogating students on their plans for the evening.
State Highway Police
Inspections by state police will be the most rigorous of all inspections. State police generally work hand-in-hand with state regulatory agencies and act as an extension of the agency to insure adherence to licensing regulations, vehicle condition, chauffeur licensing, contraband in the vehicle or on the persons in the vehicle, and all of the above.
If You Are Stopped On Arrival
If you are stopped at the unloading area, ask the officer if you are being detained or if it would be permissible to allow your passengers to enjoy their grand arrival moment. State you would be happy to allow a vehicle and document inspection upon unloading passengers. Do not be antagonistic but rather professional in delivering the service your clients paid for. Their money is no different than any adult client. If the officer states you are being detained, cooperate fully without further comment.
- Do not volunteer any information or paperwork unless asked for it.
- Produce only the requested documents and nothing else except for a prom contract. (See below)
- Open all doors to the vehicle, the trunk, glove compartment and console for inspection upon being asked for an interior inspection.
- Do not interfere with officers interrogating your passengers. They have an obligation to the school and the passengers are not your responsibility once they have been delivered to the school function. Legally, they are in the custody of school officials, and your responsibility ends until they return to the vehicle after the event.
Take Initiative With A Prom Contract
By using a “prom promise” (readily available at www.promgirl.com/prom-guide/prom-promise), you can demonstrate you are truly concerned for the well-being of your young passengers. It should contain signatures from all parents and students agreeing to terms such as no alcohol, the privacy panel remains down, only pre-arranged passengers in the vehicle, and inspection of all bags brought into the vehicle