Township employees with multiple driving violations won't be picking up the keys to municipal vehicles, after the Township Council passed a resolution codifying a policy on vehicles at Thursday's meeting.
The council unanimously approved the resolution that stipulates no employees with seven or more points on their driver's license can operate a township vehicle. The new policy also clearly articulates the responsibilities of any employee who uses a township vehicle in the course of their work.
The policy also requires notification to township officials if a driver has certain moving violations, even if those violations occurred outside of work hours in non-work vehicles, and periodic checks regarding the status of employees’ licenses.
“Bridgewater has taken extra steps to ensure that anyone who is operating a township vehicle is operating the vehicle in a safe manner and does not have a history of improper or unsafe driving," Councilman Filipe Pedroso said in a press release form the township. "We need to assure that the employees driving the township vehicles have a history of responsible driving."
At the meeting, Pedroso said he has been waiting to see the action taken, calling it "long overdue." The township's press release said Pedroso had requested such a policy more than a year ago.
"As an attorney, I know firsthand how someone can go to court and have many points downgraded," Pedroso said. "To have that many points, the employee would likely be chronically disobeying the driving laws, or have been driving so recklessly that a significant amount of points was added at one time. Either way that person should not be driving a township vehicle."
“Councilman Pedroso has been a
strident advocate for the township to implement a more stringent policy than
initial proposed, and to ensure that adequate steps are taken to govern those
that are entrusted with operating township motor vehicles,” Council
President Matthew Moench said.
Township Administrator James Naples said the resolution sets the township's longtime practice into policy, making it more enforceable and standard.