Environmental Health & Safety

Amherst College Vehicle Safety Policy


December 2010

In accordance with the requirements of the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles and the Amherst College Environmental Health & Safety Policy, the following guidelines have been established to reduce the risk of incident and injury when it comes to the operation and use of a motor vehicles by employees and students working for the Amherst College.

The Amherst College Vehicle Safety Police does not include the special circumstances for either the Pool Vehicle Policy or the 15 Passenger Van Policy which have separate policies.

It is the responsibility of each and every supervisor to oversee the implementation and enforcement of this guideline. The Physical Plant Director of Facilities Planning and Management, the Environmental Health and Safety Committee, Amherst College Police Department and the office of Environmental Health and Safety have approved and implemented this policy for reasons of health, liability and safety.

The goal of this policy is to protect the staff and students of the Amherst College who may be operating or riding as a passenger in a vehicle owned by Amherst College. The following guidelines shall be adhered to:
  • Seat belts are to be worn at all times when operating an Amherst College motor vehicle. This requirement applies to operation both on and off campus.
  • Employees of Amherst College who utilize their own vehicles are reminded that state law
    Speed  Limit 15mph
    requires all occupants of a vehicle to use the seat restraints provided.
  • The maximum speed for the campus shall not exceed the posted 15 m.p.h.
  • All doors (cargo, tail & lift gates) shall be closed at all times when the vehicle is moving.
  • Exception: If the cargo of the vehicle is adequately secured or the material being placed in the vehicle can not (because of size) be transported with the door or gate closed, then the material or equipment shall be secured in place and the proper warning flag, sign or tag must be affixed to the end of the equipment or material being transported.
  • Vehicles such as dump trucks, which have cargo covers/tarps, are required to utilize same when transporting materials which are likely to topple onto a public way such as but not limited to mulch, sand, soil and stone.

No employee or student shall be permitted to ride unsecured (without a seat belt) in an Amherst College vehicle at any time while the vehicle is in motion. Sitting or standing in the back of a van, delivery vehicle, pick-up, dump truck or similar is not permitted.

  1. When backing a motor vehicle such as a truck, delivery van or heavy equipment into a parking space, loading dock or similar, the passenger should, when necessary exit the vehicle and provide assistance for the operator. The "spotter" shall be used to warn the driver, pedestrians or other vehicles about the operators intent to back up into an area, in an effort to avoid personal injury or property damage.

    • If the driver of the vehicle does not have a passenger who can perform this service, the driver must perform one of the following;
      • exit the vehicle and check the space before backing
      • drive by the space, checking for any hazards, before backing up.
  2. The operator of the vehicle is responsible for making sure that all safety devices are in proper working order. This includes, but is not limited to; backup alarms and lights, horns, wipers, heaters and defrosters.

    • If a hazardous condition affecting the safe operation of the vehicle has been identified, it shall be immediately reported to the Physical Plant Garage.
    Fire  Extinguisher and Wheel Chock
    • If, in the opinion of the mechanic, the vehicle is unsafe to drive, or has a missing or defective piece of safety equipment, the mechanic shall remove the vehicle from service until the necessary repairs or modifications have been made. At the discretion of the mechanic, the use of Lock-Out/Tag-Out (i.e. lock, tag or the "Club") may be incorporated.
  3. Every vehicle must be equipped with a fire extinguisher (type ABC) and wheel chocks, as required by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

    • When required by DOT, Chock blocks must be placed on the appropriate side of the rear wheels to prevent movement of the vehicle. Inclines like College Street, Boltwood Avenue (in front of Converse Hall), Barrett and Webster Drives.
    • Chocks can be blocks of wood capable of preventing wheels from passing over.
  4. Operators of Amherst College vehicles shall not;

    • be under the influence of alcohol or drugs
    • take medications that contain antihistamines or alcohol which may cause drowsiness or impaired judgment
    • wear ear phones or other items that would prevent the operators from being able to hear horns, pedestrians, sirens or other vehicles that may be approaching
    • permit the number of occupants to exceed the number of seats or seat belt
    • operate a vehicle until all occupants have  fastened their seat belts
    • operate a vehicle with a deficiency that may cause damage, harm or injury to the operator, passengers or other vehicles
    • operate the vehicle if their license has been suspended
      • if the license has restrictions, the limitations must be reported to the supervisor and campus police

Use of a cell phone that is not hands free or that otherwise interferes with the ability to operate the vehicle (5 College Risk Management (Cell Phone Use While Driving Prohibited)

  1. Smoking is not permitted in a vehicle belonging to Amherst College 

    No Smoking Symbol
  2. Operators of the vehicles shall remove their keys from the ignition when the vehicle is not occupied by an Amherst College employee or other authorized person.

  3. Motor vehicle operators shall not drive on grass, landscaping, sidewalks or other unapproved vehicle access lanes, streets, driveways or roads, unless it is specifically required to perform their job, and there is no other means available to access the building, facility or site.

  4. The operator of the motor vehicle must abide by all the rules and regulations of the road, in accordance with the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles. The driver of the vehicle is ultimately responsible for its safe operation.

  5. In the event of a motor vehicle accident while on campus property and operating an Amherst College owned vehicle, all parties involved shall stay at the scene and must notify the Amherst College Campus Police at ext-2111.

  6. When filling the fuel tank of the vehicle, operators are reminded to follow proper safety procedures, including, but not limited to:

    • Shutting off cellular phones and portable radios.
    • Not placing portable gas can in the back of the vehicle, such as a pickup truck, for the purpose of filling.
      • Portable gasoline tanks  shall be placed on the ground to prevent static charge that could result in a fire.