15-Passenger Van Policy
The objective of this policy is to reduce the risk of accident and possible injury or death associated with the operation of 15-passenger vans. Risk reduction is achieved through assurance that vans will only be operated by safe and knowledgeable drivers, that vans are in proper and safe working order and that all passengers use passenger restraint systems when the vehicle is in operation.
All operators of UF owned, leased, or non-owned 15-passenger vans shall possess a valid driver license and maintain a good driving record. Operators must attend an approved van operators training session prior to operating a 15-passenger van (exception: operators that possess a valid Commercial Driver License, CDL, do not need to participate in the training). Vehicles will be routinely inspected through annual safety checks and operational safety checks ( Appendix II). Vehicles will be removed from service if conditions are found that will impair the safe operation of the vehicle or the safety of its occupants.
By authority delegated from the University President, the Vice-President for Business Affairs is responsible for the safety of all University facilities. Under this authority, policies are developed to provide a safe teaching, research, service, housing and recreational environment.
Environmental Health and Safety
Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) is responsible for coordination of driver license checks and approval of drivers based on these checks. EH&S will maintain a database of all drivers approved to operate 15-passenger vans. EH&S will provide access to computer based training that may be used as a substitute for classroom instruction.
Departments are responsible for identifying staff, students and volunteers that have a need to operate 15-passenger vans. Departments are responsible for ensuring only approved drivers operate 15-passenger vans. Departments are responsible for submitting a copy of the driver license for each intended operator to EH&S for license check. Departments are responsible for assuring that each operator has received the approved, required training. Departments are responsible for inspecting, servicing and maintaining their vehicle in safe working order and ensuring that all vehicle occupants use passenger-restraint devices.
Physical Plant Division
The Physical Plant Division is responsible for ensuring the annual comprehensive safety check is conducted on all UF owned vehicles and removing unsafe vehicles from service.
Employees are responsible for attending training and following the instructions given. They are also responsible for providing accurate information about past driving status and new convictions should they occur.
Studies conducted by the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA) of the US Department of Transportation reveal that loaded 15-passenger vans have significantly higher risk of rollover than passenger cars and light trucks. Loading the vans raises the center of gravity and shifts it towards the rear greatly affecting the handling characteristics. When heavily loaded the steering characteristics and responsiveness are very different form light passenger vehicles, this can cause serious consequences in an emergency situation when an untrained driver expects the vehicle to respond like a car.
Driving large vans requires skill and experience from the operator, with little or no margin of error. The vehicles must also be in proper working order to reduce the likelihood of involvement in an accident. The vehicles must receive a formal operational inspections by the operator to demonstrate due diligence. Each vehicle must undergo an annual inspection by a mechanic to ensure hidden defects are identified that could contribute to the risk of vehicle accident.
NHSTA has shown that the chance of survival in a rollover type accident is greatly enhanced by the proper use of seatbelts.
License Check and Review
Applicants must complete the Employee Data Sheet ( Appendix I) and submit to EH&S. Drivers with out-of-state licenses shall complete and sign page two of the data sheet. Drivers with three or more moving violations in the three-year review period shall not be permitted to operate fifteen passenger vans. EH&S will provide results of the check to the requesting department with a letter stating the outcome of the review. EH&S will bear the costs associated with the license check and review.
Drivers not possessing a CDL must participate in a driver training program approved by the University. Additional training may be required by departments if special skills are required (e.g. pulling a trailer).
Each vehicle must be included in the annual Safety Inspection performed by the PPD Motor Pool or for non-Alachua County facilities by a local mechanic using PPD inspection criteria. Fifteen-passenger vans may not be equipped with roof racks. At a minimum, vans used for long trips (e.g. greater than 100 miles roundtrip) must receive an operational inspection by the driver before each trip. The PPD Motor Pool can provide a pre-trip check upon request and appointment Vehicles used primarily on campus/locally the van must be inspected each time the vehicle is refueled. The driver should use the Inspection Log ( Appendix II) to document the inspection process.
All vehicle occupants must use seatbelts. On long trips the number of approved drivers should match the expected trip duration to prevent driver fatigue and inattention. No single driver should drive more than 8 hours in a single day.
Vehicle Usage and Insurance Information
Florida Administrative Code Chapter 6C-18.070(3) states: “Motor vehicles owned, leased or operated by the State University System shall be available for official institutional business only.”
The University’s automobile liability coverage is provided by the State Risk Management Trust Fund (Fund), which is administered by the State of Florida, Department of Insurance, Division of Risk Management. The Fund’s coverage extends only to the insured, which includes the named agency and its “officers, employees, agents, or volunteers acting within the course and scope of employment”.