Athletics and Geology Van Use Guidelines

February 2023

Amherst College

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 
Commercial Motor Vehicle and Van Requirements 

Effective immediately, Amherst College is now required, under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to comply with the Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Regulations. These requirements are applicable to vehicles that meet one or more of the following criteria;

  1. Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of greater than 10,000lbs,
  2. Transports hazardous materials, and
  3. Vans that have the capacity to carry greater than 8 passengers and a driver, including but not limited to the Athletic and Geology Department vans, both owned and leased.

The intent of this regulation is to reduce the number of bus, truck and van accidents, injuries and fatalities by requiring drivers to meet the requirements for CMV’s by disqualifying companies and their drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles in an unsafe manner.

Amherst College currently has 10 vehicles in the Facilities Fleet that meet the greater than 10,000 lb. requirements. In addition to the 10 CMV’s that the Facilities Department operates, there are multiple 12 passenger vans in both Athletics and Geology. These vans are also considered to be CMV’s, and as such, must meet some (not all) of the requirements of the FMCSA.

Non-compliance with the requirements outlined below could result in a significant fine, having any or all of our CMV’s being placed out-of-service, or losing our DOT number and ability to operate any CMV, including vans

Athletics and Geology Vans

  • All van drivers must;
    • be 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, and be a student or employee of Amherst College
        • have at least 1 year of driving experience, and
        • have not had more than one accident in the past 3 years
    • Read and sign this document indicating the intent to drive any Amherst College passenger van with a capacity of at least 8, belonging to Athletics and/or Geology.
      • Amherst College is required to keep an individual driver history for accidents that 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 Amherst College Police Department, (413) 542-2291.
      • The driver may be required, and should submit to a drug and/or alcohol test, as required by the investigating police department, or as recommended by the Amherst College Police Department.  
      • 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. 
    • All vans shall have the required Amherst College DOT number (US DOT 2416727) placed on the front doors, both operator and passenger side, when the vehicle is in motion.
      • Magnetic signs for our leased Athletics vans should be removed and placed within the locked vehicle when the van is parked and the operator is away from same.
    • All 12 passengevans, including Athletic's and Geology are required to stop at open Weigh Stations that are typically seen on 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.
  • Additional requirements for operators of the Athletic and Geology vans
    • Van operators must perform an initial pre-drive inspection of the vehicle that includes;
      • brakes
      • horn
      • lights
        • brake, driving, directional, hazard and tail
      • mirrors
      • steering
      • tires
      • undercarriage for fluid loss
    • Do not drive any van or other CMV 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 or other commercial vehicle to the Amherst College Fleet Maintenance Coordinator (413) 542-8368  or to Jessica Lapachinski / Coach Gregg Dinardo  (Athletics) or Gideon Morse (Geology).
        • Driving a van with a deficiency can result in a citation or fine for the operator.
        • Amherst College or the company from whom the van or CMV was leased or rented must maintain a log for each van or CMV that includes inspections, deficiencies and repairs.
    • Do not operate a van or other CMV with improperly distributed or unsecured cargo
    • Do not operate a van or other CMV if windows are block or otherwise obstructed
    • Do not operate a van or other CMV until all passengers are properly restrained in a seatbelts
    • Do not operate vans or other CMV in a left lane of a two (2) or more lane highway, unless you are passing
    • Vans and CMV’s are not permitted in the 3rd or 4th lane of a 3 or 4 lane highway
      • Failure to comply could result in a substantial fine for the operator of the van or other CMV
    • Do not drive under the influence of any alcohol, drugs or medication that can impair judgment, including alcohol based cough syrups or medications that can make you drowsy, such as Benadryl®
    • 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 a citable offense that a police officer can stop and charge the operator for, resulting in a fine, and loss of the operators ability to drive the van(s) in the future.
      • Civil penalties for the operator can exceed $2,500.00
      • Civil penalties for the College can exceed $11,000.00
    • Do not drive a CMV more than 11 consecutive hours in one day, or more than 60 hours in a 7 day period.
    • Do not drive a CMV if your ability to do so has been suspended by the state or Amherst College.

In order to meet the regulatory requirements specified above, which includes training for all van and other CMV operators, coaches and members of the faculty (or their designees) that oversee the operation of these vehicles shall verify that all of the van operators meet the requirements of the regulations and have read, and will comply with the requirements stipulated above.

It shall be the responsibility of the coaches and members of the faculty (or their designees) to have each operator, as well as the supervisor sign off on these protocols, before allowing operators to drive a van or other CMV.

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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