Van 86 - Vehicle Operation Requirements

                                                                                                                                                        February 2023

Amherst College is required under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to comply with the Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Regulations.

A 12-passenger van is considered to be CMVs, as it has the capacity for >8 persons, including the driver, and as such must meet some (not all) of the requirements of the FMCSA, depending on the driver's responsibilities.

  • Being paid specifically for driving person(s) to an event or educational venue etc., requires significantly more regulatory compliance. If operating the vehicle as part of your normal function, such as a professor or coach, then online and practical driver training may be the only requirments.

Non-compliance with the requirements outlined below could result in a significant fine, or losing our DOT number and ability to operate any CMV, including passenger vans.

Operator Requirements

1. All van drivers must:

  • Be an Amherst College Faculty or Staff member (at least 18 years of age)
  • Complete the Five College Driver Credentialing requirements at
    • In addition to being at least 18 years old, the credentialing requirements mandate that all drivers shall:
      • have a United States driver’s license,
      • have at least 1 year of driving experience, and
      • have not had more than one at fault accident in the past 3 years
  • Read and agree to these guidelines (see below) prior to driving any Amherst College passenger van with a capacity of at least 8, belonging to Amherst College.

2. Additional requirements for van operators;

  • Van operators must perform an initial pre-drive inspection and complete the log for the vehicle that includes;
    • brakes
    • horn
    • lights (brake, driving, directional, hazard and tail)
    • mirrors
    • steering
    • tires
    • fluid loss
  • Do not drive any van if you identify a deficiency with the vehicle, as the operator will be cited/fined for operation of an unsafe motor vehicle.
    • Report any problem with the van to the Amherst College Service Desk or to the Amherst College Police Department (after business hours).
      • Amherst College must maintain a log for the van that includes inspections, deficiencies and repairs.

3. These vans (> 8 passenger) are required to stop at open Weigh Stations that are typically seenon main routes such as turnpikes, route 91 and 116.

  • In most cases the federal and state inspectors will waive the van through, but if the operator drives past the weigh station, the state police will pursue, and the operator could be cited/fined.

Prohibited Behavior

  • Do not operate a van with improperly distributed or unsecured cargo
  • Do not operate a van if windows are block or otherwise obstructed
  • Do not operate a van until all passengers are properly restrained in a seatbelts
  • Do not operate the van in a left lane of a two (2) or more lane divided highway, unless you are passing
    • 12 passenger vans are not permitted in the left most lane of a multiple lane divided highway
      • Failure to comply with the above could result in a substantial fine for the operator of the van
  • Do not drive under the influence of any amount alcohol, drugs or medication that can impair judgment, including alcohol based cough syrups or medications that can make you drowsy, such as Benadryl®
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Recreational marijuana is permitted by individual states but is not considered legal under federal regulations, including the FMCSA requirements identified here-in. Regardless of whether or not you are “impaired” at the time of an accident or traffic stop, if marijuana is detected in your system (depending on frequency of use and physiological factors, you could test positive, even more than 30 days after last usage) Do not drive a College vehicle if you use marijuana. 
  • Do not use a cell phone to make a call or send a text or e-mail.
    • Use of a cell phone for any reason in a CMV is an offense that a police officer can stop and cite the operator for, resulting in a fine.
      • Civil penalties for the operator can exceed $2,500.00
      • Civil penalties for the College can exceed $11,000.00
  • Do not drive the van more than 8 hours in one day, or more than 60 hours in a 7 day period.
  • Do not drive the van if your license to do so has been suspended by the Commonwealth.

Accident Reporting

Amherst College is required to keep a driver history for employees who will operate 12 passenger vans for accidents which include any one of the following:

      • a fatality
      • an injury that requires a medical evaluation of any person involved in the accident, away from the scene, or
      • results in one or more of the vehicles being towed or carried from the scene

Report any accident that results in the above referenced situation(s) to the local police department before the vehicle leaves the scene of the incident.

      • Please note that this applies regardless of where it occurs or what you are operating, including your personal vehicle on a public or private road, drive, or parking lot.

As appropriate, Amherst College Environmental Health and Safety should be advised of the accident.

It shall be the responsibility of operators to agree to these protocols before operating the van. You agree to these protocols by clicking the "I Agree" button below.

By clicking the 'I Agree' button you signify that you have read and understood the operating guidelines for the 12 passenger van and that you agree to abide by the guidelines. You cannot operate the van unless you click this button.

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