my coworker is a terrible driver — and I have to ride with him on work trips

A reader writes:

I am a young professional working with a small company on a part-time/as-needed basis as a social media and public relations pro. This is not my primary job.

I am getting to the point where the company will send me to trade shows and similar events throughout the USA. I enjoy these trips and am compensated well for them.

The person I am paired with for these trips is the nephew of the owner of this small company. I like him as a person, but he is a terrible driver. He texts, speeds, generally ignores road signs, and once tried to park in a hadicapped spot “for a minute” until I talked him into moving the car. He confessed to me that he had a DUI conviction three years prior.

I am 23 years old and therefore cannot drive a rental car, making him the only autorized driver on these trips. Is there a way to express my concern without risking my opportunities? Being young, having “Digital Media Coordinator” on my resume for more than a year is probably good for my career, but it’s not worth an injury or worse because I got in a car with a known bad driver.

P.S. How come a guy with a DUI can rent a car but a 23-year-old college grad cannot?

I’m so glad you’re clear on this part: “it’s not worth an injury or worse because I got in a car with a known bad driver.” Too often, people don’t speak up in that situation because they feel uncomfortable making a big deal out of it — people of all ages, in fact, although it’s definitely more common when you’re young and have less experience pushing back on someone who’s putting you at risk.

You absolutely get to say something about this. You could try addressing it directly with him, but I’m not sure it’s going to solve the problem. You might be able to get him to stop texting while he drives, but if his general approach to road safety is a cavalier one, I’m doubtful that you’re going to get him to make all the changes he needs to make. Plus, doing that would require you continuing to risk your safety by driving with him while you wait to see if your input stuck.

Instead, I’d talk to whoever is sending you to these events. Say something like this, “I’m really enjoying doing events like X and Y and want to continue doing them. But I have an awkward situation — I can’t continue to ride with Bob. His driving is very unsafe — he speeds, ignores road signs, and texts while he’s driving. It’s at the point that I don’t feel safe riding with him. Frankly, I’m worried about his safety too, and everyone else on the road with him, but I know for sure that I can’t keep being a passenger while he drives. Is there another option for these trips?”

You didn’t say whether these are car trips where you’re driving to get to the city where the events are, or whether you’re flying in and then your coworker rents a car for the two of you to get around while you’re there. If it’s the latter, this has an easier solution — you can ask to take cabs or Lyft while you’re there. If you have to drive to the out-of-town city itself, this is harder, but you might look into how much it would cost to take the train (or some other form of transportation) and propose doing that instead.

It’s possible that the answer you get will be “Well, Bob is the only other person it makes sense to send. We’ll talk to him about his driving, but there aren’t really other alternatives. We can stop sending you if you’re not comfortable.” So you are taking that risk — but there isn’t really another way to proceed here, safety-wise. And a good company will be alarmed at what you’re saying — even though Bob is the owner’s nephew — and will want to put a stop to this if they can.

{ 255 comments… read them below }

  1. caryatis*

    And if the nephew tries to drive while under the influence, refuse to ride with him, and consider taking the keys away, even if that means you have to spring for your own Uber. Don’t risk others’ lives.

    1. Amber T*

      And expense that Uber/Lyft/taxi. And if they try to give you crap about it (Bob was an authorized driver, why would you take a taxi?), let them know what happened. “Bob was intoxicated and was not capable of driving. Would you have preferred he drive drunk?” *This is not tattling.* Don’t be afraid of getting your coworker in trouble, because he *should* be getting in trouble if he’s driving like an asshat.

      1. TootsNYC*

        “Bob was intoxicated and was not capable of driving. Would you have preferred he drive drunk?”

        I’d change that last line to: “I will not drive with an intoxicated driver.”

        1. TootsNYC*

          My mother made all her kids promise that we would never, ever get in a car driven by someone who had been drinking. Even if it other people pressured us, even if it was the middle of the night and far away from our small Iowa town.

          She said, “You just call me, collect. I don’t care what time it is. I don’t care how drunk you are; I’m not going to get mad at you. I will get out of bed in my pajamas and come get you, if that’s what it takes. I will find a way to get you home from wherever you are. Do not get in that car. This is an order. If people pressure you, tell them, ‘I promised my mom.’ ” (I think she might have actually called on the church network, or been willing to call the sheriff if she had to.)

          1. EmKay*

            My dad always said the same to me. His sister was in a pretty bad car accident when she was in her teens (or young twenties), she was riding with a bunch of friends and the driver was drunk.

          2. Taryn*

            I got the same promise extracted from me from my parents. Same sort of stipulations: no judgment, no questions, they would just /come pick me up/. If I ever have kids, I’ll do something similar.

            1. ZK*

              I’ve always told my daughter the same thing. Now she’s about to go off to college 6 hours away. Luckily, the college has a ride program that will come pick her up, no questions asked, and take her home for free. I am trying to impress on her how important that is.

            2. Turkey the Cat*

              FYI, In several states, like NJ where I live, if you are sober and let a drunk person drive, YOU have also committed a crime and will be arrested if the car is pulled over or in an accident.$

          3. Bea*

            My mom is still my DD fail safe. I rarely drink when I’m not stumbling distance to home but if I do, I’m not going to risk lives. My mom is the best ever and I’m glad she doesn’t care about anything other than safety of me and countless strangers on the road.

            1. Justme, The OG*

              My mom is too, on the very very rare occasions that I drink. And I am hers (also for after surgery).

          4. GG Two shoes*

            >Even if it other people pressured us, even if it was the middle of the night and far away from our small Iowa town.

            Being from a small Iowa town, this is seriously understandable. There was a culture of drunk/buzzed driving in my rural Western Iowa town.

            We have this same rule with our friend group. If at any point you need to leave somewhere but can’t find a ride- call one of us. I have gotten up at 3:30am to drive my friends back from a party so they wouldn’t drive drunk.

        2. IDK what I'm doing*

          OP here.
          I would like to clarify that Bob has never driven under the influence with me in the car, he just told me that he got a DUI in the past.

          1. Middle School Teacher*

            That’s fair. But his texting and driving is just as concerning, in my opinion. A distracted driver killed four people in Arizona not too long ago.

            1. Kat in VA*

              In three months, in the DC area, I saw no less than five accidents (four were rear-ends) where folks were clearly on their phones (the fifth was a sideswipe). Texting is dang near as bad as drunk driving, IMNSHO.

              1. nym*

                My car got totaled last year by someone who was texting while driving. I was stopped at a red light and she plowed into my back end at roughly 45 mph — she hit me hard enough that her airbag went off. My car scooted about eight feet out into the middle of an intersection with my foot on the brake (the skid marks were part of the police report). Fortunately no one was hurt, and her insurance company agreed to pay both my deductible and the cash value of my car as well as whatever damage they had to cover for her vehicle.

                In other words, texting and driving is a big no-no!!

              2. NorthernSoutherner*

                I see SO many people driving with their faces pointed down at their phones. It’s terrifying. People, you can’t drive w/o looking at the road! It’s not comparable to the radio or even talking on the phone. It’s much worse.

                Like those above who extract promises from their kids about getting into the car with a drunk driver, I’ve made my daughters promise me never to tolerate a texting driver. First, ask them to stop. Second, offer to text or research for them. Third, if they don’t stop, get the hell out of the car. They’ve both said they would.

            2. Lib Lady*

              Read A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel. It is about driving distracted while texting and the impact of technology on our brains and human attentions. It is a riveting read and horrifying example of texting while driving.

          2. High Score!*

            Texting and driving is as bad as drinking and driving. At least the drunk has his eyes on the road. I would flat out refuse to ride with him.

            As a driver, your duty is to get yourself, your passengers and your vehicle safely to your destination. If a driver acts like that is not their primary concern, I won’t ride with them and I don’t care if I lose a job or even a spouse over it. Turning a vehicle into a weapon of mass destruction is inexcusable.

            1. Mongrel*

              I think texting and driving is possibly worse in my opinion, drunk drivers tend to be on the road when there’s less traffic. Texters are on the road all day

      2. TootsNYC*

        Though: our OP doesn’t say he currently drinks, so let’s not get off track here. (though maybe someone else will find this sort of encouragement helps them stiffen their spine…)

        1. Emi.*

          But if he does, OP, feel very free to call the police on him if he tries to drive drunk.

      3. D'Arcy*

        Take an taxi / Uber / Lyft, and also call the police and report Bob’s driving to them. Not getting in the car is protecting yourself; once you’ve secured your own safety, you need to protect everyone else on the road by doing your part to get him *off* the road.

  2. LinesInTheSand*

    Bravo for standing up for yourself and the safety of others on the road, OP. This is serious stuff and people don’t treat driving with the respect it deserves.

  3. DecorativeCacti*

    You can rent a car under the age of 25 in some states but you have to pay for extra insurance. However, if you are a member of certain organizations, you don’t even have to pay for that! As a member of USAA, I was able to rent a car at 23 without paying for the insurance. I think some car insurance companies and maybe even AAA do this as well.

    If they are unwilling to have you use a cab or Uber, maybe they would be willing to spring for the extra insurance or have you pay for the extra insurance yourself. Not ideal, but it’s another option.

    1. SKA*

      Yep! I’m not sure if you can everywhere, but there are definitely some national chains that allow it. I was in an accident a few months out of college (If I remember correctly, it was a couple days before I turned 23), and was able to rent a car until mine was fixed. (I believe my insurance paid for the base price, and I had pay for the extra fee that the rental place had for drivers under 25.)

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      Ditto! I was able to rent vehicles under the age of 25, but I did have to pay a $50 fee. And my AAA card often helped waive all/most of that fee in most states.

      I agree that the DUI v. 23 rules are frustrating and a bit ridiculous. They’re theoretically based on the riskiness of the driver, but a DUI is certainly more risky than a young driver.

      1. sunny-dee*

        Presumably, though, the rental agency isn’t running a background check, but they would notice the age of the driver since they require a driver’s license to rent the car.

        1. Bea*

          Exactly. If he’s not on a suspended license, he’s able to rent a car, they’re not digging into his background.

      2. Curious Cat*

        To your last point, and that doesn’t even necessarily take into account that even though someone is 25 and can technically rent the car, they may only have held a license for a couple years, whereas someone who’s 23 may have had their license since they were 16, giving them much more driving experience!

        1. All. Is. On.*

          This! My ex-husband got his license when he was 25 and I got mine when I was 16. We met when he was 27 and I was 25. I felt really unsafe when he was driving for years because he drove (to my mind) like a reckless teenager!

      3. Safetykats*

        Many rental companies will rent to peopls younger than 25 with a daily surcharge – and as other have said, it depends on the location. You can look up the restrictions and surcharges by rental car company. My son works for a major rental car company (not sureness if it’s okay to give the name, but they will pick you up – so there’s a hint). Their minimum age for rentals is 21 (18 with government travel orders). There are surcharges in some locations, but it’s eaay to figure out what the surcharge would be in the online reservation process, or by calling.

    3. nonymous*

      yes, Hertz advertises that they will rent to those under 25, and will waive the extra fee if one is a member of AAA. Link in name.

    4. Caitlin*

      Was coming here to say just this. I rented a car for the first time at 21 years old, without company backing, with no problem. There is the “young driver surcharge” until you turn 25, but if the choice is paying out when this guy inevitably hurts someone or paying for a little extra insurance I know what I would pick as the business owner.

    5. Secretary*

      I was going to say this too, and maybe your company would be willing to pay for extra insurance.

      Also, when I was 23 I was a married young professional who spoke and dressed that way. When I had to rent cars (my husband was 22 so we had the same problem), often times they would waive the charge because it seemed silly to even charge me. If they hadn’t, I would ask if they could.

      1. Secretary*

        If they didn’t, it was always, “We are so sorry to inconvenience you ma’am, but because of the age I’m really not allowed to waive that charge.” and then they would upgrade the car or something.

      2. Anonymeece*

        My SIL is 8 years older than my brother, and when they were married, they would automatically add him to the rental car even though he was technically under the 25 year. I guess they assumed the guy is always older than his wife.

        But I would second talking to the company and maybe presenting this as an option: “I’ve found some rental companies that will allow me to rent a car. Some charge a minimal $50 fee. I would still love to go on these trips, as I find them very beneficial. Would the company be willing to pay for the extra fee or use these companies?”

        1. nnn*

          Do car rental invoices have multiple surcharges listed like air fare sometimes does?

          If so, you could simply say “I’ve found some rental companies that will allow me to rent a car,” without drawing any attention to this one particular fee.

          If they object when you submit your expense, you can simply shrug your shoulders and eat the fee yourself – better than driving with an unsafe driver!

          1. notanon*

            Or if they object, shrug your shoulders and let them eat the fee themselves since it is a legitimate business expense.

    6. Plague of frogs*

      I went for an out-of-town job interview when I was 21 and the company rented a car for me. So it might be something that companies can do more easily than individuals. I have no idea whether they paid extra for insurance, but naturally they didn’t know my age when they set up the rental.

      1. Tasha*

        Yes, this. My daughter had an interview at age 21 that she was flying to, and the company had reserved a rental car in her name to get to them from the airport. I asked if she was sure she was going to be allowed to take the car, given her age, and they confirmed that that was no problem as the company was doing the rental.

      2. Steve*

        I also had a car rented for me when I was 21. The employer probably negotiates it into the contract, especially if they’re aiming to hire new grads from around the country (or world).

    7. Quinalla*

      Agreed, Hertz definitely rents to under 25, you just pay the extra fee for insurance purposes, my guess is most other big National chains (Avis, Enterprise, etc.) will too. My last job involved a lot of travel and we joked whenever a young employee finally turned 25 that our clients didn’t have to pay the young-in tax anymore for them to rent a car.

      And frankly, when someone is driving unsafely and I am a passenger, I will speak up. Usually I start out deferentially, “Oh, let me set up the GPS for you since you are driving.” “Feel free to pull over if you need to return the text” If that doesn’t work, I will get direct very quickly, like “Stop texting and driving, it is unsafe.” I’m older though, so it is easier for me to get away with that where in my early 20s I wouldn’t have said a word probably or just tried to offer to drive so I didn’t have to deal with it.

    8. Friday*

      Enterprise Rent-A-Car had my back when I was 21 and traveling for a collegiate sport (oldest on the team – had to drive!) and when I was 23-24 and going on business trips solo. Yes there was a young driver surcharge each time, but my college and my company paid those expenses. In fact for the business trips, I just flat-out booked the rental cars and submitted my reimbursements without comment on the surcharge. This was before Uber was everywhere, and I was flying into airports an hour away from my final destinations.

    9. Iden Versio*

      Came down here to say the same thing. I rented a car at 24 while mine was in the shop with no problem. I don’t even think I had to pay an extra fee.

    10. KR*

      Also, sometimes for corporate rentals they will waive the charge. I rent cars all the time for my job. We have negotiated corporate rates with Enterprise and they have our insurance on file so we don’t pay extra fees or have age restrictions.

    11. Carrie*

      I was also able to drive a rental car rented by my university when I was 21. It was for a service trip and the school paid for extra insurance. But it’s definitely possible and your company needs to pay for safe transportation whether it’s extra rental insurance for you to drive, or using uber/lyft/cabs.

    12. KatieZee*

      I was coming here to mention this as well! At my company, we are covered by corporate insurance while renting cars, and it includes all necessary provisions for under-25-year-old drivers, so all of our employees are eligible to rent vehicles when required for travel. OP, you may want to inquire about this at your company. It’s my understanding that (at least in some cases/coverage scenarios) your private car insurance may not cover you when you are renting the car as part of your job duties.

    13. Wendy*

      Yeah, I came to say this too. I had a couple of occasions to rent a car in college an in my early twenties. At least once because my car was being repaired, and another for travel. I think there was extra paperwork and some extra fees, but I was always able to do it. I’m sure it depends on what rental place the LW’s company is going through, but it worth looking into!

    14. Willow*

      Yes, I frequently drove a rental car on business trips from age 22, in multiple states. My company had their own insurance.

    15. xl*

      The age 25 thing used to be a lot more hard and fast, at least in my experience. I ran into that irony a lot way back when I was under 25, as I was certified as an air traffic controller when I was 22 and I’d had my pilot license since I was 17, so I was always getting into situations where I’d spend all day controlling airliners ar work, then rent a plane fly myself somewhere but not be able to rent a car when I got there.

  4. Gertrude*

    Also.. I’ll point out that you CAN rent a car when you’re under 25, you just have to pay an additional fee. I did it all the time for road trips when I was in college. That might be a potential angle to take as well.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      I thought you could. I had a job right out of college where I was one of the few employees who could drive the rental vans, and I was 23-24.

      Sounds like the company needs to pony up the fee or send somebody other than Bob on these fun assignments.

      1. Sally*

        I didn’t know this was possible – and actually maybe it wasn’t when I was under 25. I just remember being frustrated that I couldn’t rent a car when I was in college, and I was so relieved when I turned 25 and didn’t have to worry about that ever again.

    2. Awkward Interviewee*

      I think it varies by rental car company, but a decade ago when I was under 25, Enterprise would rent to under-25s. I think there was an extra deposit or it cost a little extra per day, but it wasn’t much extra.

  5. Abe Froman*

    Many car rental place do rent to people under 25 for an additional fee. I would ask the company to pay for that so you can do the driving. If they know he’s a bad driver, they may be very open and willing to do that.

      1. Abe Froman*

        That was my thought as well. I would imply it’s a risky proposition for a known bad driver with a DUI in his past to be doing any driving on company business.

      2. TootsNYC*

        plus if you have told them clearly that he texts and drives, they can’t ignore that.

      3. Christmas Carol*

        Yes, it’s time to pull out the copyrighted AAM “We” could get the company in a lot of trouble if we continue to do this.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          yep, yep, yep.

          Point out that since this is company business, if anything happened it could jack up company insurance. Heaven forbid something happen involving bystanders, then that means news headlines also.

  6. BRR*

    Some rental car companies will rent to people under the age of 25 for a fee. I imagine a company might balk at paying extra though.

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      But hopefully they’ll balk less than if there’s an accident and OP has a worker’s comp and negligence claim. Frame it as safety and cost savings, and a $25 fee seems like a great deal.

    2. JM in England*

      Paying that extra fee will be a helluva lot cheaper than compensation if the OP was injured!

  7. IT But I Can't Fix Your Printer*

    One option for your company is that many places allow car rentals under 25, you just have to pay a surcharge (about $25/day). A reasonable company should be willing to pay that – presumably if Bob quit suddenly and was replaced by someone else who was 23, they’d have no choice.

    1. Emi.*

      Yeah, I looked this up recently for a friend’s wedding and the young-driver fee is wayyyy less than I had thought! Your company can absolutely afford it better than they can afford whatever they’ll be liable for when Bob crashes.

  8. Never*

    I know we were told growing up that you can’t rent a car until you’re 25, but it turns out that’s not true anymore. A lot of places will rent to people 21-24 for an extra fee.

  9. stk*

    In the UK, at least, there would be a decent chance your company could be found legally liable if they let Bob keep driving you and you got into an accident: he’s on work time, and the company would be required to make sure that anyone driving on work time for work purposes was safe to do that. Definitely report it, OP. “I really want to keep doing these trips, but I can’t ride with Bob because he is an unsafe driver” is a reasonable thing to say.

    As you’re young, though, it might be worth thinking about how you might head off claims you’re overreacting. (It does not at all sound like you are. It sounds terrifying.) Is your boss someone who might say “oh, try it one more time, see how it goes”? If so, it might be helpful to have a line like “I would never say this if it was just driving fast sometimes – I’ve seen some bad drivers, and Bob’s driving was worse than any of them” or something in your back pocket.

    1. TootsNYC*

      “He texts when he’s driving. That’s clearly frighteningly dangerous. And now that you know about it, you can’t let him keep driving on company assignments. Fortunately, I can drive if the company will pay for the extra insurance. That would have to be cheaper than any lawsuit or fines.”

      Do some research about how else you could get to where you’re going without him. And present that as a solid alternative.

      1. Ama*

        There are several states (and countries) where texting while driving is against the law — in most states it’s a fine for the first offense, but several have escalating consequences, including loss of license (or in NY, being given “points” which could eventually add up to loss of license particularly for someone who already has a DUI citation).

        1. Admin of Sys*

          This. In NC it’s illegal to text while driving, adn the cops can stop and ticket you for just that offense. Some states even prohibit cell use entirely.

          1. tangerineRose*

            Texting while driving is so obviously dangerous, I’m not sure why people do it.

        2. Chinookwind*

          Texting and driving is dangerous. 3 cop cars were totaled last week near here because someone thought it was better to text someone than pay attention to the highway. The only reason no one was killed was that all 3 cops were in their vehicles (well off the road, not hidden by anything, waiting to catch speeders) at the time. DH was the first on the scene and couldn’t believe how reckless this was and that no one was seriously injured.

          1. Kat in VA*

            I was talking to OldBoss today on the phone (about a reference call he’d been on for me, yeet!). He saw someone literally drive off the road and toward a copse of trees because they were texting. He was on speakerphone, and being responsible, and the car next to him slowly veered over, which caught his attention that they were texting. We were both utterly appalled. The driver stopped before they hit the trees themselves, but he figured they might have some trouble getting themselves out of the ditch.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              An acquaintance was talking to his friend on the phone. His friend said, “I have lost control of my car.” The phone disconnected. The acquaintance went to his friend’s funeral.

              What a last memory to have of someone.
              If people even call me and I am able to figure out they are driving then I tell them to call me back when they have pulled over. I don’t want to witness someone’s death.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          Right about NY. It’s 5 points on your license for having an electronic device IN YOUR HAND. The argument that you just picked it up off the floor does NOT FLY because it’s irrelevant if you were using it or not. It’s in your hand and you just admitted that by saying you had only picked it up. And it can be any electronic device not just a cell.
          NY takes away your driving privileges at 11 points, I think. If your state has reciprocity with NY, it’s not far-fetched to assume your state will take away your driving privileges also.
          Fines can run around $300 for the first offense. I cannot remember how many cell phone tickets you can have before they take your license- 2? 3?

          I never googled this for accuracy but I am told that the reason NY laws are so harsh is because more people die in cell phone accidents than in DWIs.

          OP this is something you can tell your cohort. Warn him that courts are beginning to see cell use while driving as being on a par with a DWI because of all the deaths. The word is pretty well known that cell usage while driving kills people so this is not a shock and the courts figure that people should know this by now.

          Oddly people who would never drive drunk, have no problem using a cell while driving. Perhaps another inroad to this conversation is to encourage cohort to keep himself alive, remind him how upset his family would be if he died while using a cell.

        4. Gaia*

          You want to see a state with serious consequences for phone use while driving? Take a gander at Oregon’s new laws. Using your electronic device – which includes a stand alone GPS device – (even while stopped at a light) can result in fines up to $1,000 for a first offense. People were told the best place to put is completely out of reach. A third offense can land you six months in jail.

          Oregon is not playing. (link in name)

          1. ElspethGC*

            That’s the same as the British law, which came into force in early 2017 to apply new penalties to the crime of texting while driving (which has been illegal for years).

            It applies to any electronic device including sat navs that aren’t built in. Guaranteed fine of at least £200 that can be up to £1,000, or up to £2,500 if it’s a truck or a bus. Lose six points on your licence for using the device at all, and an additional three if you don’t have adequate control of your car – you lose your licence if you accumulate twelve points in three years. If you passed your test in the last two years, you lose your licence immediately and automatically if you’re caught using electronic devices while driving.

            That’s not draconian; that’s common sense. It doesn’t matter if you lose control because of drink driving or because of distracted driving, you still lose control, and you can still kill people. The fact that there’s still developed countries (or states within developed countries) that haven’t made texting while driving illegal is honestly baffling to me.

    2. Antilles*

      Even if it’s not a lawsuit issue, it’s absolutely an insurance issue. Your insurance company will absolutely ask questions about his driving history and if it comes out that he’s a known bad driver, they’ll shoot your rates through the roof. For firms where employees driving is part of the job, auto accidents are a stunningly high percentage of claims (and correspondingly expensive insurance), so that’s a business-critical issue in and of itself.

      1. Riley*

        They’re using a rental car though, not a company car, so the insurance is just included/added on to the rental car fees.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          That’s for the immediate situation.
          However, if he bangs up a rental car that becomes part of his driving record regardless of which insurance company paid. If he has an even worse record, the company can expect their insurance to go up. Some business insurances routinely check driving records of employees.

          1. Mongrel*

            What happens during a hypothetical crash investigation they pull his phone records and find out he’s been on his phone or texting close to the accident?

            I doubt the hire company or their insurance company will just say “LOL! Nevermind” and would probably actively chase the hiree as being in breach of the terms of the agreement.

  10. designbot*

    If you’re not bringing a bunch of stuff to these shows, you can consider enthusiastically embracing alternative transportation. My company doesn’t default to car rental anymore for business trips (Uber/Lyft is our typical), but people don’t even seem to notice that I don’t use transportation the way most of them do. As soon as I land, I get a train pass and/or a bikeshare pass, and usually get along just fine the whole trip that way. The only comments I’ve ever gotten about it have been of the “that’s such a good idea, I should do that next time!” variety. It’s normal for us to be doing different things at night or mornings, and I’ve often just said “oh I’ll just meet you there” when someone offers a morning pickup.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      I worked for a company that didn’t do car rentals at all. We used public transportation, period. I don’t recall going to a place where there wasn’t adequate public transportation (this was decades before uber/lyft). If we wanted a car, we rented it ourselves.

  11. Alex*

    I was a consultant for years before I was 25 and as long as I booked through the corporate travel agency with my corporate credit card there was no extra charge because of my age. And the company rented a lot of cars so we got a tremendous discount on rentals. I don’t know all the ins and outs, and this may only apply to organizations of a certain size, but when traveling for business you (or rather the company) won’t necessarily have to pay more for renting a car.

  12. Submerged Tenths*

    Just be VERY careful if you are the one renting the car. “Bob” sounds like the kind of jerk who would insist on driving a car that the company paid for. Should anything happen, you are the one responsible and the whole thing could turn into a sh*tshow. Lyft or Uber sound like better alternatives, if possible.

      1. Anonymeece*

        I kind of see it. Based on my personal experience, the worst drivers tend to think they’re the best drivers. My boyfriend liked to text while driving because he insisted he was a good enough driver to do both. I flat-out refused to ride with him until he stopped, and even then, he only definitely stopped when one day he nearly back-ended a Jag because he was too busy texting and didn’t see how close he was getting.

        In any case, it’s good to just keep it in mind if he is one of those sorts. If he isn’t, no harm done.

    1. Bea*

      Bob sounds like an irresponsible man but not like he’s “that guy” that’s invested in being the driver…wtf.

  13. Triple Anon*

    I think you only have to be 18 to rent a moving truck. Those companies tend to offer car-like vehicles as well (van, pickup truck). That might be worth looking at for a price comparison.

  14. giraffe*

    In most states you can definitely rent a car under 25, you just need to pay an extra insurance fee. And that fee may be waived depending on the deal your employer has with the rental agency — when I worked for the state, I think as long as I was over 21 it was the same price as my colleagues over 25. Look into it and present a case to your boss!

  15. Delta Delta*

    It might also be helpful to add that you’re also concerned about the company’s liability in case of an accident. If Nephew Bob (not to be confused with Backbiting Bob from another question today) causes injury to another person or property, the company’s going to be on the hook. And since the company’s pockets are likely deeper than Nephew Bob’s, it could end up a financial mess. Step two: any injury he causes to the OP as a passenger (or possibly to himself, depending on the circumstances) while they’re driving on a work trip is going to be compensable as a workers’ comp injury, which could also cost the company a lot of money. The company either doesn’t know that Nephew Bob is a terrible driver, or doesn’t care. But if it ends up costing them thousands of dollars over a long time because Nephew Bob can’t read signs because he’s too busy texting, the company is setting itself up for problems. And once they know about it, they really shouldn’t let him drive anymore.

    (I am a lawyer, and I’m imagining a terrible factual situation where Nephew Bob causes an accident and causes the company to get sued. Then the plaintiff’s lawyer absolutely drooling when they find out the company knowingly allowed someone with a DUI conviction to drive on work trips, and did so knowing he was also an unsafe driver because a co-worker raised the issue. Those two facts right there just bought the plaintiff’s lawyer a new sailboat. Keep lawyers off sailboats. Speak up.)

    1. SoCalHR*

      “Keep lawyers off sailboats. Speak up.” that is going to be my new HR slogan. haha! thanks!

      1. Triple Anon*

        Yes! And this would be a good way for OP to bring it up. It’s neutral and objective. Mention the previous DUI and things you’ve observed and say you’re concerned about the company’s liability should an accident occur. Then ask if you could drive the vehicle or if other transportation could be arranged.

    2. misc.*

      This is exactly what I couldn’t get out of my head! LW, please stress this to your employer that you’re concerned that if you are in an accident with Bob, the company could be on the hook for a lot of money for both you, the employee(s), and anyone else involved.

      1. ILoveHR*

        This can be a workers’ comp issue too. In California it’s a no fault rule and the driver can claim WC! Of course the company can fire him for safety reason but he can still file.

    3. ginger ale for all*

      Would you need a paper trail to prove that you had spoken up about it beforehand?

      1. Triple Anon*

        Good question. I would go with a middle ground so that it also can’t be used against the OP within the company. A meeting agenda with an item like, “Company trip transportation questions,” and then privately document it further (take notes but don’t share them). CYA but don’t leave public clues.

  16. Observer*

    One thing to point out to the company is that the liability if there is an accident is not just the legal and monetary hit, but the reputational hit. Part of being a Digital / Social Media Strategy professional is understanding how reputation can be made or broken. Also, point out that given the ubiquity of cell phone cameras, it’s extremely likely that someone will wind up recording him doing something that makes the company look really, really bad. If something like that goes viral, that’s NOT a good look.

    Trying to recover from something like that, rather than preventing it, is much harder.

  17. Ladyphoenix*

    Please please SPEAK UP. Document an incidents of bad driving (doesn’t have to be ACTUAL incidents but rather moments of bad driving) and bring them to you superiors. Explain that his reckless driving makes you, understandably, upset and worried for your and other people’s safety.

    Ask them if it would be possible to include the extra to allow you to rent your own car (or see if they are elligible to be waved off the extra cost), or if they could provide an alternate transportation.

    When one of their representatives is a terrible driver, it reflects poorly on the whole company and makes liable for any of the damage brought by their crappy driver.

  18. JSPA*

    Intercity bus might exist…even a fly-by-night company (not always the safest) should be safer than Bob. Getting high level AAA (cost varies by region) may get you easier rentals, cheaper rentals, plus (in many areas) free or reduced cost notary service. Dollar, Thrifty and Sixt often have lower per day surcharges than the others, for young drivers, but Hertz apparently waives the charges if you have AAA membership and Hertz membership. USAA, if you happen to have it, waives underage fees for a vast range of car rental services. At least two states, however, add their own surcharge. In no state, as far as I can tell, can you not actually rent a car.

    1. Daffy Duck*

      I have AAA Roadside Assistance (not the whole car insurance) and get rental car discounts, hotel discounts, etc. with it. Most places don’t really care that my car insurance is thru another company.

      1. JSPA*

        Yep, that’s what I meant. In my area, the most basic AAA roadside assistance doesn’t cover much (but does get some benefits, and i think is good enough to drop the youth surcharge)…but spring for the platinum (about $110, I think?) and you get great towing, free unlimited notary service, and several other extras like some trip interruption insurance, travel assistance, concierge assistance…stuff that can be useful if you get stranded, whether or not you’re driving.

    2. Bea*

      You’re saying pirate cabs are safer than a guy who has a shady driving record and questionable driving habits? Bob is probably an unlicensed cab driver on the side…they’re one and the same. Ick. Say no to that idea always. A young woman is in serious danger in a strange city and random illegal cab. Wow.

  19. SoCalHR*

    When discussing it with the powers that be, point out that the underage surcharge now would be cheaper than ANY type of accident (even a small one) if Bob continues to drive. Also, look at your handbook as to what is documented with regard to company vehicles or company rented vehicles. That may give you more leverage.

  20. Noah*

    How do people under 25 today believe they cannot rent a car? (It’s not just OP, this is a very common view.)

    The major car rental companies have been renting to under-25-year-olds at almost all locations since well before these folks had their driver’s licenses. There’s an additional charge, which isn’t even that much in most places, but you can rent.

    1. SoCalHR*

      yeah but its one of those urban legends that gets perpetuated – i.e. even billed as the last ‘milestone’ of aging… I’m 25, I’m a full adult now, I can even rent a car! So I don’t blame OP for that, if you never needed to rent one before 25 then you wouldn’t know. I was ‘lucky’ enough to get hit when I was 22 so I learned about the surcharge thing early on.

    2. misc.*

      FWIW I didn’t know this was a view young people had. Both my husband and I have rented cars after accidents when I was 19 and 22, and him when he was 23. Nobody said a peep to us about additional fees even, though it was all covered by insurance.

    3. Ah Nonn*

      Because my SIL could not rent a car when she was under 25 (that was like 5 years ago).

      1. JSPA*

        This is one of those things (like open vs closed primary elections / caucuses, like implied warrantees, and like in-state tuition) where both habit and law vary widely by state. Yet people make the (completely spurious) assumption that, however it was done in their state is what’s “normal” or “the way it’s done.” Yes, the US is a country, but a lot of powers rest with the states.

        Two states require companies to rent to people starting at age 18. I was able to rent from Rent-a-wreck when I was 18 (several decades ago) back when they rented purple convertibles.

        Rental truck companies have always been more open to renting to younger people (generally 18-and-over). So I guess that’s an option too (though the mileage charges are terrible, and the condition of the vans is generally…not good.)

        I drove a cargo van cross-country at the age of 21 (also several decades ago) in about 8 days, occasionally sleeping locked in the back with the front windows open. (Which may answer the question, “why would a company not rent to a reliable young person with a college degree.”)

    4. MicroManagered*

      I think, because, it was the case for a long time. Then if you have people who don’t have a TON of adult-life experience (with stuff like renting cars, booking travel, that kind of thing) I think they just don’t think to question it.

    5. Fiennes*

      It’s also possible the company told OP they couldn’t have her be the rental person—when they meant only “because you’re more expensive,” not “because it’s totally against the rules.”

    6. Rusty Shackelford*

      Because my insurance agent told me there was no reason to get rental car coverage on The Kid’s car since she wouldn’t be able to rent a car anyway. (Although, she was under 18 at the time, and I just assumed the under-25 policy was still widespread.)

      1. Jerusha*

        I would say get it anyway. This may not match up with your situation, but my thinking is: Something happens to The Kid’s car. The Kid allegedly can’t rent a car while theirs is in the shop. But would it be possible for The Kid to drive a different car in the household, while that (over-25) driver drives the rental?

    7. Bea*

      Because any idiot who can squeak out the test costs seem to be insurance agents. They tend to pass on old, defunct information. Also their company probably has the same policies from 2003 when it was indeed the usual rule for rentals.

  21. Nicole*

    OP, do you have a car? Is it possible to negotiate a reimbursement with the company for using your own vehicle?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      After I’d already finalized the answer, I heard back from the OP that the trips are ones they fly to and rent cars once there; they’re not car trips where they’re driving to the other city.

  22. Ladyphoenix*

    Should OP bring up the coworker’s previous DUI? Especially if there is documented other instances of bad driving?

    1. AngelicGamer the Visually Impaired Peep*

      I feel they should if they get any push back on just the normal things. I would phrase it as “I also don’t feel safe because Bob disclosed he has a DUI on his record” in a matter of fact tone. But that’s me.

    2. huh?*

      Absolutely… I stated this down thread, but negligent entrustment laws put the employer at risk.

    3. MicroManagered*

      I’m going against the grain here and saying no. If it were last week or during one of these trips? Sure. But a private legal matter that was (in theory) resolved three years ago? No. It’s not relevant. And I think bringing it up runs the risk of derailing the conversation. The company (theoretically) did their due diligence in checking his driving record before allowing him to drive company-rented cars on company-paid travel.

      1. Temporarily Anon*

        I agree- there is enough reason to push back on being a passenger with Bob (texting while driving, which is illegal in sixteen states and the District as well as being dangerous, speeding, failure to obey signage) in the present without bringing up items from the past.

    4. Mike C.*

      Yes, absolutely. This would be reasonably held against any other employee that had to drive for a living.

  23. Traveling Nerd*

    In the US, Enterprise and Rent a wreck (and possibly more) will rent to folks 21-24.

  24. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

    I had this exact situation but the driver was the boss and refused to pay to add drivers. I brought it up to higher management after she received 2 speeding tickets and 1 for reckless driving while on a work trip with me in the car. Unfortunately it did no good and I ended up renting cars on my own (and not get reimbursed

      1. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

        It was one of the reasons I changed jobs. Even if I wasn’t the one who was going to get killed, it made me angry that my other coworkers who didn’t have the means to rent cars for themselves were at risk.

  25. MLB*

    This would be a deal breaker for me. I would definitely speak up and refuse to drive with him anymore. I realize you’re young, and are just starting your career, but if the company is willing to risk your life over disciplining this guy (I don’t care who he’s related to), that’s all you need to know about the company. And yes he is risking your life, his life and the lives of everyone around him while driving. Don’t let them brush this under the rug.

  26. Lindsay J*

    Especially if your company has corporate accounts set up you may be able to rent.

    My company has quite a few people under 25 who drive rental cars regularly.

    I don’t know whether there is an extra fee for them, because I don’t see the bill.

    I know that I don’t have to put down a card because they already have it on file, and that I don’t get the obligatory upsell on insurance and all that – they just look at my ID, pull up my reservation, give me the keys, and let me go.

  27. huh?*

    OP – Please find a way to refuse ASAP… Although the fact that this loon is on the road gives me very little confidence. Also, research Negligent Entrustment laws in your state….

    1. irene adler.*

      I might let the car rental agencies know about the DUI and the unsafe driving practices.

      Devious little me…

  28. AwkwardestTurtle*

    Perhaps too tangential but…

    “P.S. How come a guy with a DUI can rent a car but a 23-year-old college grad cannot?”

    ….is the “college grad” part really necessary? A college degree doesn’t necessarily track to intelligence or responsibility.

    Although I do agree that it’s silly that it’s easier/cheaper to rent a car if you’ve had a DUI than if you’re 23 with a perfect driving record.

    1. irene adler.*

      Some car insurance companies give better rates to college grads-especially those in teaching or sciences. Thought being, these people are a better risk of driver.
      Perhaps this is behind the OP’s thinking on this comment.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This is true, some insurance companies do factor in college degree to lower the risk of a given driver. There’s nothing snarky about pointing that out. I agree with OP that our systems have many problems when it comes to fairness.

    2. IDK what I'm doing*

      OP here. I didn’t mean anything by the “college grad” part, “Bob” is a college grad too. I was just describing myself a bit.

      1. ThisIsMyNewUserName*

        late to the game, but if you’re married, you don’t have to be 25. found that out by chance lol

    3. Yes*

      Too tangential. Righteous nitpicking is by far my least favorite thing in this commentariat.

      1. DreaminginPurple*

        It’s a little tangent, sure, but words matter and it wasn’t pointed out in a derailing way. At least in the country where I am based (USA), the corporate work environment has become very cold to people without college degrees, and it’s worth occasionally having a look at how our own words can perpetuate that.

      2. Soupspoon McGee*

        Agreed. The comments as a whole have shifted to sniping and nitpicking in the last year or two, and it’s disheartening. I would rather have have imperfect letters than readers too disheartened to write in with their questions and problems. Grant the writers some grace and move on to the heart of the questions.

        (This is for everyone–not to pick on you, DreaminginPurple).

  29. JeanB in NC*

    Please say something, and don’t continue driving with him. When I was 19 and 8 months pregnant, I tried to carpool with a coworker. One night she ran a red light which I saw – I was babbling “hey it’s red, it’s red, there’s a truck, a cop’s right there, stop!!”. We got hit on my side of the car. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt, just some glass on me from the window, and I was able to walk home (my apartment was right on that corner). But I actually got in a car with her again for a few days before I realized that I could say no, I don’t want to carpool any more.

    1. Tabby Baltimore*

      Geez, that’s just frightening. And, what’s worse, you were so young and already so culturally conditioned to not rock the boat that it didn’t even *occur* to you until a few days and a few rides later that you had a *right* to say you didn’t want to carpool anymore. I’m so glad you did, though!!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        And the shock of the impact takes away our ability to think things through. A few days sounds like a very short time to calm down and get a handle on things. Very sorry this happened to you, Jean. I am glad you and your baby were basically okay.

  30. Erin*

    You don’t mention it in your letter, but is there a reason why you can’t take a bus or a train? Did they specifically order you ride with this person?

    1. Russian in Texas*

      Depending on a city, it might not be possible.
      In my city, the trade shows happen in a place which, until very recently were not serviced by any public transportation. And that’s the NGR complex (Old Astrodome).
      If the trade show is in one of the suburban locations, there are literally no buses or trains that would get you there.

      1. xkd*

        There has always been bus service to NRG/Astrodome – the rail line is relatively recent. However, Houston is just not a public transit culture! I don’t know many people who willingly use the bus/train when they can drive instead. I’m not really sure why that is, the bus is actually pretty good.

        But you’re right about the suburbs! Some are possible, but not even the Stafford Center can be reached.

        1. Russian in Texas*

          The bus service in Houston takes forever to get anywhere and does not service a large area – so if you are coming from suburbs, good luck, unless you live on the bus line.
          You would have to drive to the bus stop first, them the bus would take you the longest route possible, and there is a high chance it will not stop anywhere near your office.
          Friend had his car flooded in Harvey, calculated how long it would take for him to get from his house to our pub (straight line major street, about 6 miles). It was over 40 minutes. And walking to and from the bus station.

    2. Bones*

      Some cities are just lousy when it comes to public transportation, and Uber may not be an option/may be too expensive.

    3. Observer*

      It’s not always practical. NYC has a pretty extensive transportation network, as these things go. Yet, one major convention center was unreachable by public transport for ages. A train station finally was run to it, but it’s going to be a real headache from many parts of the city. And if you have materials or any sort of luggage, it becomes very difficult.

  31. Russian in Texas*

    Why DUI can get a rental – car rental companies don’t care about your driving record as long as you have a valid driver’s license. They are not going to do the whole background on you, and it’s silly to expect them to.
    That aside, I would have a heart attach, I am already a nervous passenger, even when a driver is OK, and too much of a controi freak.

  32. Cordoba*

    When I was a 22 year old traveling employee all of the major rental car agencies were happy to rent to me without any restrictions or extra fees as long as I was affiliated with a business account and traveling for work. I recommend LW check into this option.

    I speed and frequently ignore road signs, but don’t text or park in handicap spots. If my colleagues object to this they are welcome to tell me about it and then find their own way in the future.

      1. Cordoba*

        I’m not sure that speeding and disregarding irrelevant signs are a de facto indicator of “jerk driving”. Most drivers exceed the speed limit and will behave contrary to a posted sign if the circumstances dictate.

        Even if this was the case, yes, I would rather continue to drive normally than listen to a backseat driver’s criticism. I don’t think this is an uncommon preference.

        1. AMPG*

          Please give an example of the types of signs “most” drivers ignore. Because I think the OP was talking about signs like “STOP” – “One Way” – “Do Not Enter” etc., not alternate side parking signs.

          1. Emilia Bedelia*

            I can think of any number of irrelevant signs – a “Yield” sign at an intersection with no other cars, speed signs on on-ramps, “sharp curve” signs, “pedestrian crossing” when there are no pedestrians, etc. As was taught to me in driving school, any sign with a yellow background is a caution/warning, and any sign with a white background is the law (eg, speed limits).

            Paying attention to your surroundings and making a judgment about what is safe isn’t cavalier. As someone who lives and drives in New Jersey (a place where traffic laws are known for being broken all the time), I make sure to stay focused and pay attention to the road when I’m driving, because I know that anything can happen. Someone getting upset over me going 10-15 miles over the speed limit on the highway while I am focused and driving responsibly would be pretty frustrating. I would definitely suggest that if someone doesn’t like how I drive, they should find their own way.

            1. AvonLady Barksdale*

              “Yield” signs when there are no cars and “pedestrian crossing” signs where you don’t see pedestrians are far from irrelevant. They are meant to be applied when the situation warrants it, which is why a “Yield” is not a “Stop”. And for what it’s worth, even if there are no cars that you can see, you should still stop at a Stop sign. Habits are important too.

              These attitudes are the ones that I see when I walk my dog early in the morning, before sunrise. “There are no cars, so that red light is irrelevant!” Shoot, this attitude bothers me when I’m walking anywhere, period. “But there are NEVER people walking here! I didn’t expect you to be in the crosswalk!” It wouldn’t kill you– and it might avoid killing someone else– to obey traffic laws even if you think they’re irrelevant. I may sound like I’m overreacting or catastrophizing, but I also got hit by a car by someone who didn’t think to look and see if someone was in the crosswalk when he was making a turn.

              1. Emilia Bedelia*

                I do understand what Yield signs mean – my point here is that there are times when following a sign is not necessary (which we agree on – that’s also why I didn’t say a stop sign in my original comment as those are always in force). I think we would also agree that the most important part of driving is keeping your eyes open, paying attention, and not making assumptions about what is on the road ahead.

                Perhaps I’m just reading into this with my own experience, but I see a lot of hesitant/extremely conservative drivers on the road who create more unsafe situations than people who are not following the law to the letter. Someone who is going 25 mph on an on-ramp to the highway where people are going over 70 mph is creating an unsafe situation if they are not entering the highway at merging speed. People going unreasonably slow in weave lanes create accidents. It’s more important to gauge the flow of traffic and road conditions and adjust accordingly than follow a sign that may or may not represent current conditions.

                The comments implying that speeding = being “cavalier” and not being a good driver are what’s grinding my gears here (pun intended) as I just don’t think that’s a reasonable generalization.

                1. AMPG*

                  I don’t think you do understand what Yield signs mean, actually, because if you proceed normally through them when there are no other cars around, then you’re following them correctly, not ignoring them. I think it’s pretty clear that the OP is talking about situations where the guy he’s talking about should have changed his behavior based on a posted sign but didn’t (like yielding when another car had the right of way according to the sign).

                  As for speeding, I think people tend to use one of two definitions, and right now the two camps are arguing over semantics. One group means “going any faster than the posted limit, regardless of traffic flow,” and the other means “going measurably faster than the rest of traffic.” I use the 2nd definition, which really isn’t safe, and was assuming the OP was, as well.

              2. JSPA*

                I’m in a country, at the moment, where stop signs are universally treated as “yield.” I have literally not, in several weeks, seen anyone treat a stop sign as something other than a yield (including school buses and emergency vehicles and cops). Doing so is likely to get you rear-ended. On the other hand, they don’t have right turn on red, so stop lights are really, really full stops.

                For the large percentage of the world that does not allow right-on-red, the fact that the US now (almost without exception) does so, strikes them as far crazier and far more damaging to the predictable flow of traffic, than treating stop signs as yield signs.

                I’m guessing that US states where there’s mostly wide open space do much the same (quite possibly without a detectable increase in accidents). If you’re somplace where you regularly see one other car every 10 or 20 minutes, the statistical implications really ARE different than in a city.

                1. AvonLady Barksdale*

                  Why does it matter what people outside the US think of US traffic laws? The OP is uncomfortable because the person who is driving the car in which she is a passenger is disobeying road laws. Frankly, it’s irrelevant whether anyone thinks she’s being silly or overreacting. She feels uncomfortable and, more than likely, has good reason to.

                2. Alison Read*

                  Try left turns on red from 2-way to a 1-way. Learning to drive/living in Oregon and Washington I didn’t realize it wasn’t the same nationwide – those turns definitely elicit gasps from out of town passengers but are in no way any less safe than a right on red. This is what came to mind when the previous poster mentioned ignoring signs, I’m sure more than one passenger/fellow motorist has thought I blatantly ignored signs.

              3. Thursday Next*

                “Habits are important too.” Quoted for truth.

                It’s far, far better to have the habit of stopping at stop signs (how are we even debating this, btw?), then to have it be yet another one of the situational decisions one has to make while driving.

                Stopping at stop signs costs you an extra few minutes. Failing to stop can cost someone else their life.

          2. Cordoba*

            I was thinking specifically of the “recommended speed” type signs on freeway on-ramps. These speeds are typically laughably low, and if adhered to often result in not having enough speed to safely merge with freeway traffic.

            Any sign establishing right-of-way has to be evaluated in the context of what the other drivers and pedestrians are using. Sometimes the person whose turn it is as per the sign doesn’t take it or waves you on. In this case I submit that the right move is to behave counter to the sign.

            I’ll certainly violate a “no right turn on red” sign if the visibility is good and there is clearly nothing coming; especially if I’m sitting alone in a sketchy neighborhood.

            I assumed that the person in the letter was not running stop signs or going the wrong way down one-way streets. If you do this sort of thing as routinely as LW indicates this guy does it would be nearly miraculous to not have crashed or been cited for it by now.

            1. SpaceySteph*

              Those recommended speed limit signs (aka Advisory Speed Limit) are not binding, however depending on road conditions it can be unsafe to exceed them.
              Who knows, maybe OP is a nervous nelly who really never speeds and follows every road sign to a T with their hands at 10 and 2, and Bob is your garden variety driver who speeds a little and occasionally changes lanes over a solid white line like the majority of people.
              Or maybe, we take OP at their word that Bob is a reckless driver and unsafe to be in the car with, and leave our defensiveness over our own driving habits out of the equation.

        2. rldk*

          If OP has noticed the signs being missed/ignored, it’s clearly because circumstances did not dictate them being ignored. A key tenet of the commenting rules is taking the letter writers at their word. LW says Bob is a bad driver, and that she feels unsafe in the car with him. We should take her at her word that he’s indeed a bad driver. But also, if she feels that unsafe with his driving, the advice would be the same regardless: request an alternative from her company. The fact that he has a history of bad driving only adds weight to a legitimate standalone complaint.

          1. Bones*

            My guess is that this poster is getting overly defensive because they realize their attitude is lousy.

          2. Cordoba*

            I recommend you research driver compliance with speed limits and the relationship between actual prevailing speed and the law.

            It appears that the law doesn’t apply to almost anybody. At any time there is free-flowing traffic most freeway drivers are speeding.

            1. Just Employed Here*

              I’ll take that as a yes.

              So is it just traffic laws you think are for suckers, then, or do you smack people around just a little and commit low level fraud, too? Lots of people do, which seems to make it OK, by your above argument.

        1. Cordoba*

          I would also strongly prefer to never be involved in a fatal collision, so I guess that makes three of us?

    1. Russian in Texas*

      I speed about 90% of my driving (but seriously, around here speed limit + 10mph is a basic driving speed, unless school zones). I do temper my driving down when I drive someone else.
      However, 18 years of driving, no tickets, no accidents.

    2. SpaceySteph*

      It is very different if it is your car, vs the car funded by the company for the purpose of moving yourself and a coworker around.
      If you are offering a ride to someone, and they don’t like your driving I agree they can find another way. But if you are charged with the duty of transporting your colleagues for work purposes on the company’s dime, then you should listen to their concerns and (within reason) make them feel safe and accommodated.
      I say this as someone who speeds and enjoys a little sportiness on the road. But on my own time in my own vehicle.

    3. Ladyphoenix*

      Sorry but you make your sound almost as bad as Bob.

      I mean, I too drive over the speed linit (you pretty much HAVE to), but then you add that you “ignore road signs”.

      So does that mean you ignore stop signs and “Do Not Enter” signs, where those are there to STOP COLLISIONS? Or do you mean you will ignore yields if it is safe.

      Plus your attitutde isn’t helping. You really do sound like a flippant and potentially dangerous driver who thinks “the rules don’t apply to me [until I hit someone, but it is totally their fault and not mine so they still don’t apply to me]”. Just apologize, clarify, and move on.

  33. Knitting Cat Lady*

    When I was four my dad made me promise to never, ever get in any car our upstairs neighbour was driving.

    When I was 16 I refused to get into the car my grandfather was driving. He was blind in one eye and categorically refused to turn his head.

    I tell my dad to slow down or snatch the phone or satnav from his hand when he is looking for a route.

    You can do this, OP.

    1. Cordoba*

      If a passenger “snatched” anything from my hand while I was driving I would put them out at the next gas station and never let them in my car again.

      1. Russian in Texas*

        Agreed. Also, ask before changing music or A/C setting.
        And, you are welcome to Uber.
        *I don’t do any of the things the OP lists, but don’t touch me while I am driving.

        1. General Ginger*

          Yeah. Do NOT touch me while I’m driving, unless I explicitly ask you to hand me something.

      2. Bones*

        If it were a phone, you could kill your passenger. Don’t risk someone else’s life.

        1. Russian in Texas*

          Yes, but snatching something from a driver’s hand is extremely unsafe thing to do. You distract them even more, and potentially even make them turn the wheel suddenly, reflectively.
          Using a phone while driving is a terrible idea, but so is snatching things out of drivers hands.

            1. JSPA*

              Yet another thing people assume is universal, when it varies by state and municipality. (The legality, I mean. Not the safety.)

                1. Sylvan*

                  The legality of using a phone while driving varies by location, so you might be calling the cops over something that’s actually allowed.

            2. Cordoba*

              Yes, I would vastly prefer that the passenger call the cops and report me than reach across the vehicle and touch me. I expect absolutely nothing would happen as a result of that call, so go for it.

              It’s unlikely the police will drop everything and put out an APB for me based on a phoned-in report of a driver holding a cell phone; which they very likely couldn’t even cite me for unless a cop caught me in the act.

              1. Bones*

                You’d be stopped by the police, assuming they can find you. Your cavalier attitude re: other people’s safety is alarming, and you’re coming off very poorly here.

                1. Cordoba*

                  As was pointed out previously, that varies considerably by state.

                  In some states there are no laws around technology use while driving, in others it is not a primary offense so can’t be used as the justification for a stop.

                  Personally, I think screwing with a phone while driving is a horrendous idea. I think physically grabbing something from a driver’s hand is at least as bad.

            3. Lavender Menace*

              You could begin by talking to the driver and asking them not to text and drive. I think that’s a safer first step than snatching something out of their hand.

      3. Fiennes*

        If you like staring at your phone while driving, nobody would ever *want* to be in your car again.

      4. Rusty Shackelford*

        If a passenger “snatched” anything from my hand while I was driving I would put them out at the next gas station and never let them in my car again.

        If you were looking at your phone while driving, I would have demanded that you drop me off at the next possible opportunity anyway, and never get in your car again, so I guess it’s a win/win situation.

      5. Liane*

        I wouldn’t bother to snatch something from your hand, I’d just demand you put me out at the nearest gas station, then call local law enforcement with your tag number, road name & vehicle description. And if you didn’t let me out, I’d whip out my own phone and still call local law enforcement–adding that you wouldn’t let me out.

      6. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

        That would be a very good outcome. Then I wouldn’t be in an unsafe car anymore.

        In reality, when I was in that situation, I didn’t snatch anything. I just gave the driver a very strict order that she has to either drop the phone immediately or leave me at the nearest bus stop (which happened to be visible at that moment). I don’t feel safe in that situation and I also feel somehow guilty if I don’t even try to make that unsafe and illegal thing stop.

        1. Rosemary7391*

          I do think the snatching specifically is likely to be more unsafe than the action it’s preventing. Spoken protest, demanding to be let out at the next safe stopping point, refusing to ride with them again are all good options. Snatching is not.

          1. Emilia Bedelia*

            Seconded. Texting while driving is extremely unsafe. Startling the driver by grabbing something out of their hands or otherwise touching them suddenly is also extremely unsafe. Both of these things are true – the fact that texting isn’t safe doesn’t make it a good idea to snatch their phone.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Wait, wait. I’m confused about the navigation part and the “looking for a route” part and by everyone else agreeing that it’s unacceptable. I use google maps to go almost anywhere. The app is on my phone. My phone is in a dashboard phone holder. Does everyone else just… always know where to go? And some of you would call the police on a driver for using a navigation device? Please tell me I’m misreading something here.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        It’s never appropriate to use these devices in your hand while driving, which is what KCL was describing. It’s often okay to use them on your dash, because you can position them so you can quickly glance at them while still looking at the road. Very different.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Right, they are talking about hand-held devices and not about mounted devices. The idea here is that if something suddenly happens, it takes both hands to maneuver quickly and get out of a bad spot.
          I had one driving course where the instructor said DO NOT waste precious seconds blowing the horn. If you know you are headed into a crash put everything into concentrating on steering. If you have two hands on the wheel and eyes on the road you might be able to steer out of some very tight situations. It’s not a leap in logic to assume that if you have to set down an object in your hand you have lost a few seconds that could mean the difference between life and death.

      2. Sylvan*

        I think they’re talking about people typing addresses or checking out different route options while driving.

    1. SoCalHR*

      There is a general belief that you cannot rent a car before aged 25, however, that is not ususally true, they just charge you an underage surcharge. But it doesn’t sound like OP knew that when he wrote in.

  34. IDK what I'm doing*

    OP here.
    Thank you for all of the feedback. I guess this company didn’t realize that I can indeed rent a car myself. Before this job I had never needed to rent a car so I did not know what the rules were.

    At this time, I don’t have any more trips planned with this company, but when another comes up I’m going to make it conditional that I get my own car.

    As for “telling” on Bob, I am pretty sure his relatives already know. He comes across as an open person, and all his family lives in the area. I bet they know.

    1. Rey*

      Make sure that you get your boss’s acknowledgement of your rental in writing (or email) before the trip, or make sure that it’s booked on the company card so you don’t run the risk of paying for it yourself (still a smaller risk that driving with a risky driver).

    2. High Score!*

      Good luck and please update!

      A job is temporary and no job is worth your life. Don’t be afraid to refuse to ride with bad drivers, you got this!

      I reiterate: As a driver, your duty is to get yourself, your passengers and your vehicle safely to your destination. If a driver acts like that is not their primary concern, I won’t ride with them and I don’t care if I lose a job or even a spouse over it. Turning a vehicle into a weapon of mass destruction is inexcusable.

    3. kuff*

      OP, for what it’s worth, employee code of conduct for the big multinational firm I work for explicitly includes the requirement to obey the speed limit and never use one’s phone while driving. Failure to adhere to these rules in a work context can be grounds for termination, and our management takes this all VERY seriously. I know this isn’t where you work, I’m just saying that you are on firm ground here. If your company doesn’t accommodate you, I’d strongly consider looking elsewhere.

    4. Ladyphoenix*

      You say his family “knows” of Bob’s reckless driving… but do they really?

      I would definitely talk to them about his reckless driving without the DUI, and how much it concerns your safety and the conpany’s integrity that he continues to drove recklessly.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Okay so they know he’s a bad driver.
      But what they have not done is connect the dots. Some times we have to explain obvious things to people.
      You are an employee in the car with Bob The Bad Driver. The fact that they KNOW he is a bad driver and STILL let him drive you place only INCREASES their responsibility in this setting. If something happened this would only make your case stronger and “better”.

      If they say, “We already know this.” Then you can respond with that makes the situation worse because it increases their liability of something goes awry.

  35. YoungTen*

    I work for a small family owned company as well. I wish some business owners would realize that Family doesn’t always make for the best workers. In fact, I’ve observed that its often the case that they get away with things that would have them sacked in another organization. So, Please think twice before hiring family! As for OP, Your safety comes first. Even if it means risking possible opportunities. You are still young and have time to build a name for yourself.

  36. cheeky*

    Ask your boss if he would be willing to pay for the additional cost (as applicable) for the coverage that would allow you to drive a rental car. Most car rental companies will now rent a car out to people under 25 with an additional insurance coverage, at a cost of about $30 a day.

  37. JSPA*

    Dockless e-bike.
    Dockless scooter.
    Regular bike rental.
    Good pair of walking shoes.
    Airport shuttle.
    Do your research in advance (including streetview and crime reports, if necessary), choose hotels wisely, and these generally become possible. I’m guessing that if OP belongs to a gym, she regularly walks a mile or two on a treadmill or bikes a few virtual miles. Put the fancy shoes and skirt in a handbag, freshen up at the convention center and the restaurant.

    1. rldk*

      You’re assuming all the locations are in cities with airports. For many places in the outskirts, none of these are viable options (and OP clarified to Alison that these are trips where they fly and then rent a car).
      These are great options within a city, but outside of a city all but lyft/taxi are not viable, and even those options get far too expensive too quickly.

      1. JSPA*

        Multi modal (the buzz word for “mix and match as applicable.”) Lyft or a shuttle will get you from the airport to the convention center. The other options can likely handle lunch, dinner, meeting a client, getting to a striking location to take a brand-related selfie, or whatever else her role involves, for a fraction of the cost, and a big boost to how tweet-worthy or snapchattable the moment is. Even car companies are putting their brand names on some of the new e-products. Non-combustion options are generally like-worthy, so why not leverage that, if and when possible? Might be one trip out of three, or one out of two, or one out of five. But there’s no reason you HAVE to default to a car, if you’re given the flexibility and opportunity to use other options.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Haha, exactly my thoughts! We have them where I live; the bikes showed up about 8 months ago and the scooters are new. The bikes are sanctioned by the city, the scooters are not. I imagine it’s similar in a lot of places. They’re basically bike- and scooter-share programs that don’t require the infrastructure of docked bike shares. They operate on apps that unlock and track usage, and the companies that provide them have employees that go around occasionally and pick up the bikes and scooters.

        Two things to note: they’re not available in all cities (mine is kind of known for testing out such things) and not everyone feels comfortable on a bike or a scooter. Riding a bike on the road requires certain skills that many of us do not have and do not care to cultivate for whatever reason. Then one could argue there’s walking, which yes, is usually a possibility to some extent.

        But come on here. For whatever reason, they’re using a car. Distance, location, sheer amount of stuff required for these tradeshows. These “alternative” methods are all well and good, but offering them doesn’t address the OP’s question, which is, how can she bring this up without fear of retaliation.

        1. JSPA*

          Eh, she’s a young social media influencer. She’s open to new stuff, presumably–and the dockless personal e-transit options are going to be the epitome of new-economy, new-transit shiny goodness, for a chunk of her followers. The reason they didn’t use it before might be that it wasn’t there 6 months ago. That’s…not a reason not to, just an explanation why they didn’t, before.

      2. Not a Mere Device*

        They’re rental electric bicycles and electric scooters. “Dockless” means that the company leaves them scattered around, people unlock them using phone apps, ride for a bit, then relock them by ending the rental and just leave them wherever they feel like.

        There’s a fair amount of argument in the Boston area about whether this is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or rudely blocking sidewalks and wherever else people decide to leave them*. There are also not-always-obvious limits on where you can find one, or drop it off. If you came to Boston from out of town, you might not realize that yes, you can rent one of those from AntBike in Arlington, but you’re not supposed to drop it off on the other side of the town border in Somerville and Cambridge, where BlueBikes has the franchise.

      3. Bea*

        Nothing I would be interested in using. I’ll rent a car on my own dime before I touch a bike in a random city.

        I’m from a world where public transit is vile and unreliable, so I expect nothing better anywhere else though.

    2. Lavender Menace*

      I mean sometimes it’s possible to plan a work trip around car travel…and sometimes, it’s not. If you have to drive to an offsite that’s 2-3 hours driving from you (and no good train lines or Greyhounds), or your company has a prescribed list of hotels you can choose from (mine does) – or sometimes the alternatives are actually a lot more (if you are traveling to a place with bad public transit and wide open spaces, taking a taxi or rideshare everywhere may be more expensive than simply renting a car, and certainly more work and expense than the company just paying an extra $20/day for the young drivers’ fee.)

  38. Shades of Beige*

    Just an FYI to the letter writer and anyone else reading this: you CAN rent a car at 23! The rental car company will require an extra fee, but this fee is more than worth it if it can save you from injury. This may be helpful when you bring it up with your supervisor – good luck!

  39. Thlayli*

    No idea what health and safety laws are like in your area OP, but if your company has a safety statement or similar check to see if this is mentioned. He may well be breaking company rules as well as breaking the law.

  40. RadManCF*

    I’m reminded of a contractor I did some work for in my previous career as a Millwright. This contractor is one of the major Millwright contractors in the twin cities, and like many construction contractors, is privately held. One of the key guys there has multiple DWIs, and for the longest time, didn’t understand why he hadn’t been given a company truck, as a number of guys who had started there after him had been given their own trucks (he was allowed to take company trucks for jobs out of town; DWIs notwithstanding). Then, for some inexplicable reason, the company gave him one. A few months later, he got a DWI in the company truck. Luckily for him, he did it in South Dakota, as he would have been in really deep sh-t if he had done it in Minnesota. I wasn’t privy to the reasoning for giving him the truck, but I suspect that it had something to do with the fact that his dad had also been a key guy, all the way from day one for the company back in the seventies. Point being that, in some companies, loyalty trumps risk aversion, common sense, logic, etc.

      1. RadManCF*

        He had three prior DWIs in MN, and in MN, a DWI within ten years of the first of three priors is a first degree DWI, a felony. Apparently, his MN convictions didn’t factor in to the SD DWI.

  41. Totally Minnie*

    OP, does your company have a policy on driving for work purposes? My organization’s policy is that if you are driving for work purposes (and it does not matter whether you’re using your own car, a company car or a rental car) you are not allowed to text and you are only allowed to take phone calls if you are using a hands-free device. If you don’t have a policy in place and you do decide to bring this up with your bosses, mention that other companies have policies regulating things like this as a means of reducing the likelihood of an accident that could cost the company a lot of money.

  42. GrandBargain*

    I used to travel with a team to client sites and usually the PM would rent the car. Well, I shared a car ONCE with a particular PM. They drove over 90 (at night) and talked almost the whole way with their spouse (the cell phone company was the one whose phones could work like walkie-talkies).

    Well, the next week I went to the head boss and said I would not ever be riding with them again and that if I were to continue on the project I would be renting (and expensing) my own car. The boss said there had been similar complaints before and raised no objections. Problem solved.

    It’s not worth the risk, the stress, and the danger to put up with this kind of irresponsible behavior. You can be sure you’re not the first to raise the issue. Do it.

  43. Not So NewReader*

    Driving safety on the job is a subject near and dear to my heart, OP.

    I had The Best Job Ever in my 20s. (My opinion of course) They thought it was very funny to send me out with vehicles that had marginal brakes. I complained and it did me no favors. So their response was to have someone else drive me and tell that person not to tell me the brakes were bad. That was the 80s. I had all kinds of confusion with trying to fit in but being scared for my life.

    There is nothing to be confused about here, OP. NO job, EVER, is worth dying for. And if people poke fun at you or minimize your concerns about safety then it’s time to move on. With time I have lowered my opinion of that Best Job. I had to get out to realize that things that were bad were very bad.
    If you look around I am sure you can find other places to build your career/pull in extra income/etc. This is not the only job on earth. You have all the freedom in the world to stick up for your safety on the job.

    I have had to set boundaries with people I like and respect. Two were friends and two were bosses. One friend asked ME if I could drive faster. We were doing the speed limit on a twisty, turny country road. I simply said No without explanation. Friend accepted this. One boss wandered all over the road, fiddled with the phone and so on. I liked this person, so I picked my words carefully. Sometimes I made a joke, “Taking your half of the road out of the MIDDLE of the road?” Sometimes I reminded them that their kids would cry if they died. After saying it many times they got a handle on their driving, at least with me in the car. The thing is that they are a good driver but it was hard to see that before I started speaking up. While I said softer, thinking type things, I never stopped saying them. Yeah, I wore them down.

    Your cohort does not know how to drive. If he did know how to drive he would not be doing all these things because he would understand that a life can be extinguished in seconds.

    For everyone reading, we need to work on creating a culture where driving safely is important. Encourage those around you to drive with care. Even subtle things send a message over time. “I will meet you between 1:30 and 2 because it’s hard to factor in traffic and I don’t want us rushing unnecessarily.” OR “Why don’t we leave earlier in case we hit construction? If we are too early we can grab a coffee at X store near by.” Over time these types of comments might cause others to think and perhaps do the same in their own lives.

  44. Hamburke*

    I rented a car under 25 – I called my insurance company and they set it up for me with one of their perfered providers. It was for personal use, not due to an accident.

    Hubby had a job where he travelled a lot when he was 21 -23 – and is relatively rural areas sometimes so even cabs wouldn’t always work. The company rented cars for him.

    There are ways around the 25 rule that don’t always have a fee.

  45. Lavender Menace*

    As an additional note, rental car companies will rent to drivers who are under 25. You just usually have to pay an extra fee. Enterprise, I know, rents to drivers who are at least 21 years old; you can only rent certain types of cars, but that’s likely more than adequate for your needs. The fee is about $20 a day but varies by location. Avis also rents to 21-24-year-olds for an additional $27 per day.

    Hertz doesn’t disclose their fees, but they do mention one way to avoid the fee:

    A popular way to avoid an Under 25 Car Rental Fee is to join certain membership programs. For example, at Hertz, we have a partnership with AAA. As a AAA member between the age of 20 and 24, the young driver fee is not applied if you meet standard rental qualifications. The AAA membership application can be found here.

    The basic AAA membership is $56, which basically makes it worth it if you rent a car for more than 2-3 days a year (and covers you for roadside assistance in that car, in case something happens on the road!)

    You could also look into getting a Zipcar membership; the per day fees are usually more than renting a car through like Avis or something, but if you only need it for a few hours for local transportation it might be worth it.

  46. Lauren Hopkins*

    This doesn’t solve the problem of Bob being out on the roads endangering himself and others, but here’s another work-around that could like provide an easy and viable solution for OP:
    You can get a free membership with USAA (no military background/connection needed for the free membership, though they do restrict some of their other services for military personnel and families). You can rent a car through their travel discounts page (from major car rental companies). Not only is it usually significantly cheaper than anywhere else, they also waive the under-25 driver fees that would prevent OP from being able to be the authorized driver. I frequently hire staff members who are in their first job post-college (generally ~22-24 years old) and this is how we are able to do car rentals for them when they travel. Good luck!

  47. Raphael*

    Enterprise Rent a Car rents to under 21s. But if your colleague has a DUI conviction, you should be the authorized driver, not him.

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