The State Transportation Dept. reminds Missourians that carpooling is an option in these days of high gas prices, and MODOT provides commuter lots across the state, at which carpoolers can meet and park for free.  The safety of the carpooler, on the lot and during the commute, however, is not MODOT’s responsibility.  When asked if MODOT provides any security at these lots beyond lighting, Spokesman Sandra Hentges said MODOT just provides the lots.

“We don’t provide gates on the lots,” says Hentges, “or keep any sort of security there; so, no, we just provide a free place to park”

MODOT is also not liable for any criminal activity on the lots or during the commute, says Hentges. 

“In Missouri public entities like MODOT are generally not responsible or liable for any intentional criminal acts that people would commit in public spaces like commuter lots,” says Hentges, “The liability for public entities really only exists under circumstances that are set out in a particular section of state statute.”

The Natural Resources Dept. also provides a service called Rideshare , essentially an online bulletin board for pairing up carpoolers.  Spokesman Larry Archer says DNR does not do background checks on those that sign up.

“I suppose if someone were intent on doing evil through carpool, they could,” says Archer, “but, again, that’s why we suggest that people have an initial meeting outside at a public place beforehand, not just to get a feel for the person, but to also work out other details.”

The same state laws apply for DNR; it is not liable for incidents during the commute.  According to Hentges and Archer, history shows that carpooling using these services is safe.  Both Hentges and Archer say they don’t know of any misconduct or criminal activity on the MODOT commuter lots or on carpools facilitated by Rideshare. 

To view all of the locations of MODOT’s commuter lots you can visit their website