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Amherst College Pool Vehicle Policy
Purpose of Pool Vehicles
Due to the limited number of pool vehicles, Amherst College is unable to provide vehicles at every request. Pool vehicles are available for the exclusive use of academic and administrative departments in order to facilitate essential College business. Requests for vehicles to be used by student organizations and activities will be accommodated as detailed below.
The Pool Vehicle Policy does not include the requirements for the 15 Passenger Van Policy or the Amherst College Vehicle Safety Policy.
Reserving a Pool Vehicle
- All pool vehicle reservations are made through the Communications Center within the Amherst College Campus Police Department, which can be reached by calling ext. 2675, Monday through Friday, from 7:00 am to 4:30 p.m.
- A department may generally reserve no more than one vehicle at a time. If more than one vehicle is needed, the department may call Communications 24 hours in advance of the anticipated departure, and if a vehicle is available, the reservation for the additional vehicle will be granted at that time.
- Vehicles generally may be reserved for a maximum period of 24 hours. In exceptional circumstances, reservations for a longer term will be accommodated but not exceeding three days.
- A Faculty Member or an Administrator must make reservations. Reservations may never be made at the request of a student.
- For the purposes of clarification, this policy includes all pool vehicles regardless of ownership inclusive of vehicles owned by Physical Plant, Dean of Student’s Office, Outreach, etc.
Conditions for Use
- Departments and student organizations that use pool vehicles shall identify the driver, the vehicle’s intended destination and the purpose for the trip.
- The driver of the vehicle must pick up the key to the vehicle at the Communications Center on the first floor of the Physical Plant building.
- The driver must complete the log book by filling in his/her name, vehicle number, time out and signature. The driver must conduct a preventative maintenance and safety check of the vehicle prior to departure. Preventative Maintenance forms will be kept in the vehicle.
- After use, the driver must fuel the vehicle and record the number of gallons on the Preventative Maintenance and Safety Check Sheet. The sheet, with the amount of fuel put into the vehicle, must be turned in to the Communications Center.
- Pool vehicles are restricted for trips within a 200 mile radius. Trips farther than 200 miles from the College will require approval from the Chief of Campus Police. Approval will only be granted for unusual and compelling circumstances.
- Permission to operate College vehicles can be temporarily suspended by Campus Police, the Department Supervisor, or the Environmental Health and Safety Manager pending an investigation.
- Should weather be inclement, or forecasted to be inclement, to the point that travel becomes dangerous, travel shall be suspended on and off campus for pool vehicles. The determination of inclement weather will be made by the Chief of Campus Police in advance when possible. Should weather conditions change rapidly and become inclement the police department officer-in-charge will make the decision. Indications that travel has become dangerous may include snow covering on roadways, icy conditions, heavy sleet or rain.
- Pool vehicles may not be used for personal business or pleasure.
- A driver must have a valid (not expired) license, and be an Amherst College employee or student.
- Drivers must consent to having their driving records checked with motor vehicle registry records. The Amherst College Campus Police reserves the right to refuse driving privileges based on driver history. Furthermore, at the discretion of the Campus Police, an employee or student may be required to pass a practical driving exam (i.e. cones, backing, etc.) before being allowed to operate a vehicle from the pool.
- All drivers must read and adhere to the College’s “Vehicle Operation Guidelines” (Paragraph V). A copy will be provided upon application to drive.
Vehicle Operation Guidelines
The following vehicle operation guidelines are intended to promote the safe use of Amherst College vehicles.
- Preventative Maintenance and Safety Check Sheet – The Preventative Maintenance and Safety Check Sheet must be completed prior to driving a pool vehicle. The amount of fuel put into the vehicle after use must be noted on the sheet and the sheet must be turned into the Communications Center. Failure to do the inspection or turn it in may result in loss of driving privileges. Vehicle deficiencies found in the inspection shall be reported to the Physical Plant Service Desk.
- Accidents – See Paragraph VI for what to do in case of an accident. If an accident is found to be the fault of the operator of the College vehicle, permission to drive in the future may be terminated.
- Speed – The maximum speed for College Vehicles is the posted speed limit. The speed limit on campus is 15 mph.
- Drugs and Alcohol – Drugs and alcohol must not be consumed or transported in College vehicles. Any student or employee found operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, medication that induces drowsiness, or drugs will have their driving privileges revoked and may face criminal charges. A driver shall not consume alcohol 12 hours prior to driving an Amherst College pool vehicle.
- Occupancy – Total occupancy, to include the driver, shall not exceed the number of seat belts. Up to 15 passengers may be transported with a Class D License; otherwise, a Class C License is necessary.
- Cargo – Baggage and equipment should be kept in the trunk or as far back in the vehicle as possible to prevent them from becoming dangerous projectiles.
- Seat Belts - Massachusetts has a mandatory seat belt law and the College requires that all occupants must use their seat belts. The driver must ensure all passengers of the vehicle are wearing seat belts. The seat belts must remain fastened until the driver has reached the destination. The driver should visually check as well as verbally inform the passengers.
- Distractions – There should be no loud music, throwing of objects, or other driver distractions. Mobile telephones may not be used by the driver when the vehicle is in motion
- Signals – Turn and lane change signals must be used to signal the driver’s intentions.
- Speed bumps and pot holes – The driver must slow down and use caution when driving over speed bumps or pot holes. A van should be brought to a complete stop before proceeding over a speed bump. This will avoid damage to College vehicles as well as preventing jolts to passengers in the rear of the vehicle where the jolt is five times greater than in the front.
- Forward / Reverse Motion – Most vehicle accidents occur while traveling in reverse. Avoid backing whenever possible, such as by choosing pull-through parking spaces. When reverse travel is necessary, proceed slowly and use the assistance of your passengers. Whenever possible, use a ground guide to assist you while backing and while moving through pedestrian areas.
- Weather Conditions – If it is raining it is recommended that you lower your driving speed under the posted limit. Roads are most slippery at the start of rain. Surface oil and grease form slick films that are not washed away until after 20-30 minutes of hard rain. Strong winds also make steering difficult. In such conditions, speed should be decreased, the driver should have both hands on the steering wheel, and be alert for other vehicles swerving into his/her path. The driver may opt to pull over until adverse conditions have passed.
- Trips - When there is more than one vehicle traveling to the same destination, the “excursion coordinator” (coach, professor, director, etc.) will be in the last vehicle. Each driver should keep track of the vehicle traveling with him/her. When three or more vehicles are traveling together, and the driver detects that the driver to his rear is missing or has developed problems, the driver in the forward vehicle must immediately turn on hazard flashers, flash his headlights on and off, and sound his horn to the vehicle in front to signal a problem, then pull over to a safe location (note: a curving exit ramp or an area of low visibility is not a safe location). The driver should have passengers get out of the vehicle and away from the road. This procedure should be repeated for all vehicles. NEVER BACK UP ON A HIGHWAY. Determine the nature of the problem and take appropriate action. Finally, when arriving at the destination or returning to campus, all drivers must wait and check in with the excursion coordinator or sign in at a location pre-designed by the excursion coordinator.
- It is recommended that the excursion coordinator bring a first aid kit as College vehicles are not equipped with such.
- Prior to any excursion that exceeds a fifty-mile round trip, the excursion coordinator with assistance shall conduct an inspection of lights, directionals, seat belts, wipers, mirrors, and horn, as well as testing brakes and steering.
- Mechanical Problems – All actual or suspected mechanical problems must be reported immediately to the Amherst College Campus Police at 542 – 2291 who will notify the College vehicle mechanic.
- Seat Removal – Only the Physical Plant Garage are permitted to remove or replace seats due to liability reasons.
Any person found using a vehicle improperly may have their privilege to drive pool vehicles revoked.
- For all accidents
- Safely stop at the scene. If there is an emergency, call “911,” or the local police department. Have passengers get out of the vehicle and away from the road, exiting from the side away from traffic if possible.
- Be as calm and courteous as possible.
- Notify Communications / Amherst College Campus Police at (413)542 – 2291. All accidents, no matter how minor, must be reported on a motor vehicle accident form and the College incident report form. Copies of these forms are available in the Communications Center and the Physical Plant.
- Do not discuss the accident with anyone other than police and College Officials except to obtain driver, vehicle, insurance carrier, and witness information.
- Acknowledge only facts to the other driver and avoid telling the other driver that you or the College is at fault for the accident. Be courteous and avoid confrontational language like “fault” and “blame.” Be sure to provide the Communications Center with your written report when you return to campus. They will in turn notify the Director of Physical Plant and the Insurance Office.
- In the event of bodily injury…
- Make absolutely certain that police are informed that there are injuries.
- Keep the injured warm and still. Never move a person unless life threatening conditions exist.
- If the injured is taken from the scene for medical treatment, find out where.
- Notify Campus Police at (413)542-2111 so that the injured’s family can be contacted.
- If the vehicle should break down on the road, the driver should:
- Notify the Shift Commander at the Amherst College Campus Police at (413) 542-2291.
- Make arrangements to have the vehicle towed to the nearest garage.
- Make arrangements for alternate transportation or lodging.
- If the vehicle has been in accident, the driver must follow the procedures outlined above, in paragraph VI.
- The Amherst College Campus Police:
- Shift Commander may authorize payment for towing and alternate transportation.
- Shift Commander should also notify the Chief of Campus Police or, if unavailable, the Director of Physical Plant as soon as possible.
- Shift Commander should notify the College mechanic as soon as possible during the next working day. Shift Commander should file a complete report of action taken and submit report to the Chief of Campus Police. If the vehicle has been in an accident, the Shift Commander should contact the Chief of Campus Police as needed. He/She should also insure that the Procurement Supervisor is notified the following working day. The College Mechanic should:
- Make contact with the garage where the vehicle was towed and evaluate the problem. He may authorize repairs up to $1000.
- Make arrangements for the pick up of the vehicle.
- Make a complete written evaluation of the vehicle with recommendations for future use.
- If the vehicle has been in an accident, the mechanic must contact Procurement Supervisor before authorizing repairs.
Since students customarily have less driving experience than College employees, the students will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they have read the “Vehicle Operating Guidelines” (Paragraph VI) contained in the Application to Operate Amherst College Motor Vehicles and that they agree to abide by these guidelines. The form will also ask the student to record the details of any moving violations or accidents in which he/she has been involved. Based on the information contained on this form and contained on the MVR report (if one is obtained), the student may or may not be authorized to drive a College vehicle.