All students who wish to drive a Hamilton College 12-passenger travel van must be qualified to do so. Qualification allows a student to operate a 12-passenger travel van in connection with officially sanctioned activities. If you are qualified to drive the 12-passenger travel van you do not need to take a separate certification to drive the smaller vehicles.
The college also has 7-passanger and under vehicles that can be used for trips as well. These also require a certification process. The process is the same as the 12-passengers travel van except a driver evaluation is not required.
All van drivers must operate College vehicles in a safe and lawful manner, and they must do so in accordance with College policies and instructions.
A formal certification program is used to inform drivers of college requirements, teach safe driving techniques and emergency procedures, as well as to verify driver motor vehicle records. This process includes an online driver safety training class, a practical driving evaluation, and a motor vehicle records check. All Hamilton College students are required to go through this program in order to drive any College owned vehicle. Faculty and staff do not need to go through this process except for the completion of a motor vehicle records check which is complete during their hiring process.
To promote safety and improve the driver training and qualification process, College administrators will review all accidents and Campus Safety incident reports involving students driving College vehicles. The purpose of this review is to determine the root cause(s) of the accident, identify any needed changes to the current policies and training, evaluate the driver qualification process, and review the driver’s ability to continue as a qualified driver of a College vehicle.
Training and Qualification Requirements:
Students must be in possession of a valid motor vehicle license for a minimum of 3 years. Possession of the learners permit can be included within the 3 year requirement.
All student drivers must complete a college approved online training classes which is provided by the Student Transportation Office. Courses will be assigned upon request by organizations requiring multiple drivers, or as necessary to support individual students seeking qualification. Documentation of the completed training is required to obtain qualification. The course content includes:
15 or Fewer Passenger Van Driver Safety
Driver Safety on and off Campus
Hazardous Driving Conditions
Upon completion of the online training, drivers must contact the Student Transportation Office to schedule a driving evaluation. This may be done Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9 am to 2:30 pm. Prior to taking the practical driving course with the van, the individual will be required to prove they have completed the classroom course work and provide a copy of their driver’s license. The license will be used to verify the individual’s driving record with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The evaluation includes the following:
Adjustment of mirrors
Backing the van
Review of van operating characteristics and operating van under varying conditions
Once the classroom training and driving evaluation are successfully completed, the student’s driving record will be checked with the Department of Motor Vehicles. This check may take up to 1 week.
If the DMV report indicates a clean driving record (no moving violations within the past 3 years), the student driver is qualified to drive a College 12-passenger travel van for 1 year.
Form 1 below is the document used to record both the classroom training and driving evaluation, and additionally serves as the authorization for the College to perform the motor vehicle records check.
Following qualification, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure travel vans are operated in a safe manner and according to college guidelines. However, continual review of a student driver’s qualification will take place. Any moving violation(s) will result in an automatic suspension of a student’s driving privileges. An immediate review of the circumstances surrounding the infraction will be undertaken by the Student Transportation Coordinator to determine if a revocation or other administrative actions (defensive driving course, road reevaluation, etc.) are appropriate. In the event of an accident or any other witnessed/reported unsafe behavior with a college van, the Student Transportation Coordinator will review the accident/reported incident, and may confer with the Director of Campus Safety to determine an appropriate sanction. Sanctions include but are not limited to retaking the classroom training, attendance of a recognized DMV safe driving class, and/or the permanent revocation of a student’s driving privileges altogether. During this review, a temporary suspension of a student’s driving privileges may be required. Should this be the case, the following steps will be followed.
If a temporary suspension is issued, the Student Transportation Coordinator will meet with the student to review the accident/reported incident and the recommended sanctions. The student will be notified of the requirements to reverse the suspension, if and when they are available. The student must complete the requirements before they can be re-qualified.
A student, who has had their driving privileges revoked, may appeal. This appeal must be initiated, in writing, through the department for whom the student drives. The appeal must provide a basis for reversing the revocation, and the appealing college official must discuss his/her findings with the Student Transportation Coordinator to ensure all parties reach a knowledgeable decision. In order to be re-qualified, a student may be required to attend and pass a defensive driving course, pass a more comprehensive practical driving evaluation and/or complete other testing appropriate to reinforce safe driving practices.
The student van driver training and qualification process, once completed, extends driving privileges to the student for 1 year from the time of initial approval. In order to requalify, student drivers need only complete step 5c above - the motor vehicle records check. Student drivers, or the departments/organizations they are driving for, are responsible for initiating the requalification process by resubmitting the form below to the Student Transportation Office.
The Student Transportation Office will retain all documentation related to this qualification process. This includes driver qualifications, accident reviews, revocations, appeals and specific training completed. However, it is ultimately up to the departments/organizations using travel vans to maintain information pertaining to their driver pool that is appropriate enough to suit their needs.
When coordinating with the Student Transportation Office to schedule the van safety training class for your department/organization please consider any and all possible future needs for student drivers, especially for the following academic year. It is easier to plan, coordinate, schedule, and certify during the current academic year so there is not a rush during the beginning of the fall semester. Things to consider while planning for the future are students who are currently certified and will be unavailable to drive for your department/organization for various reasons. These reasons include but are not limited to students graduating or traveling abroad for the semester. Plan ahead to have these drivers replaced so the Student Transportation Office is not being overwhelmed with last minute requests for certifications.
Vehicle Requests: Policies and Procedures
12-Passenger Travel Vans
Hamilton College has specified vans available for scheduling college-related trips and can be requested by all authorized college departments and organizations. A fleet of nine 12-passenger vans are categorized into three priority groups, with three vans in each grouping: Academic, Athletic (including Varsity sports), and Student Activities (including all recognized student groups and clubs). These departments have priority over their van group up to 14 days before departure. For advance reservations (when requests are submitted before it is two weeks from the event date), valid van requests will be promptly confirmed and will utilize a van available within the correct priority grouping.
If the requesting organization does not fall within one of the priority groupings, or if all vans are already reserved within the appropriate priority grouping, then the request will remain on hold until it is within 14 days of the event date. Once within 14 days of the departure date, any available van can be reserved regardless of priority grouping, using a first-requested, first-served policy. Note that the request date is the date that all required information was fully and accurately submitted as a Van Reservation Request in the 25Live system. Groups are encouraged to request vans as far in advance as possible to avoid any conflicts with reservations.
Confirmed van reservations will not be “bumped” or pulled, except in the event of mechanical difficulties that make the van unavailable, or in the event of emergency and/or weather-related events that make the trip inadvisable. Please remember that the vans may be scheduled for multiple trips on the same day, and groups are to avoid any foreseeable delays in departure or return times. Groups must also immediately notify the Student Transportation Office if they wish to cancel a reservation.
All van requests should be coordinated by individual departments/organizations and submitted online in the 25Live event calendar by the responsible person(s) within each department. The Student Transportation Office is responsible for processing all submitted van requests. The requestor is responsible for providing accurate information regarding the event dates, the account to be charged, the authorized driver, and other information as required. Any request, and the information contained within, must be approved by the faculty member or administrator responsible for the activity. If the travel will be beyond a 25-mile radius from the college, the requesting organization or group should consider filling out a trip plan for adequate planning.
College-owned vans are for College use only and provide support for academic, student activity, and intercollegiate programs. Faculty and administrative use of vans is authorized while on College business. A charge of $0.545 per mile will be made by the Student Transportation Office to the authorized departmental or organizational account as submitted with the van request. Any gas purchased is not reimbursed by the Student Transportation Office.
Faculty and staff, who hold valid driver’s licenses, may drive College-owned vans for College purposes. An undergraduate must be designated as an authorized driver; the authorization process includes the completion of driver safety training, the completion of a driving evaluation, and a motor vehicle records check to ensure that the license holder has had no moving violations for the prior three years. Requests for student driver authorization (PDF) can be directed to the Student Transportation Office. Faculty and staff spouses may be authorized to drive College-owned vans for College purposes. A copy of the spouse’s driver’s license should be submitted to the Student Transportation Office at least 48 hours prior to the trip. A motor vehicle license check will be conducted to confirm that the license is valid and that the driver has a safe driving record (no moving violations for past three years). The Student Transportation Office is required to notify the College’s auto insurance carrier when a non-employee/non-student driver has been authorized to drive a College-owned van.
Van requests will be reviewed while considering the general policies for van use. These policies have been developed to enhance the safety of each trip, and are to be enforced by the organization, faculty, administrator and/or student driver requesting and operating the van. Specific information regarding vehicle check-out/in procedures, trip planning, vehicle emergency actions and accident reporting procedures is listed below.
5-Passenger and 7-Passenger Vehicles
A fleet of five smaller vehicles are also available for reservation for college-related trips and can be requested by all authorized college departments and organizations. These vehicles consist of one 5-passenger SUV and four 7-passenger mini-vans. The primary use of these vehicles are designated for COOP, Shine, HAVOC, and the Psychology department. These departments will have priority over their vehicles up to 7 days before departure.
Effective the 2019-20 academic year these vehicles will now be available in 25Live for reservation requests. The same guidelines for reserving the 12-passenger vans will also be in effect for the 5 and 7-passenger vehicles.
The primary purpose for these vehicles are for short duration trips where a 12-passenger van is not needed to accommodate the size of the group and where a smaller vehicle will be more feasible. One department or organization will not be allowed to reserve multiple smaller vehicles for the same trip, a 12-passenger travel van should be requested if this is the case.
At the beginning of each academic year, typically the first 30 days, these vehicles will be unavailable for use except by the COOP and Levitt Center. This will allow these departments to project, set-up, and organize all future use and submit their requests through 25Live.
Vehicle Use Policy and Recommendations for Trip Planning
As a driver of a Hamilton College travel van, you are responsible for obeying college policies relating to the vehicle and its use as well as the laws of the jurisdictions in which you are driving. Any citations, fines, or tickets received as a result of a failure to obey the law will be your personal responsibility to pay.
As the driver, you are responsible for the safety of the passengers in your vehicle. All passengers and the driver must wear a seat belt. Do not overload the vehicle. Ensure that the number of people in the vehicle does not exceed the number of seat belts available.
Hamilton travel vans may only be used for the purpose assigned. Detours for the purpose of conducting personal business, for the driver or passengers, is prohibited.
If the trip is cancelled for any reason, you must notify the Student Transportation Office immediately so that the vehicle can be reassigned to another waiting group. The vehicle is not to be used for any other purpose or by any other group.
The driver is the official Hamilton College representative in the vehicle unless accompanied by a faculty or staff member in charge of the group. The driver is responsible for the conduct of all passengers and any damage that they may cause, unless the driver identifies the individual(s) who caused the damage. If any passengers refuse to comply with directions regarding the enforcement of these instructions or engage in distracting conduct affecting the safe operation of the vehicle while moving, the driver must refuse to move the vehicle until they desist. If necessary, the appropriate authorities should be requested to provide assistance. Passengers who participate in conduct that causes abnormal wear or damage to the vehicle will be subject to disciplinary action. Any damage resulting from such behavior must be reported by the driver.
Drivers shall drive to and from their approved destination via the most direct and safe route under prevailing weather conditions.
Faculty members or administrators who authorize student travel are responsible for the safety and welfare of the students on the trip scheduled—whether they accompany the students or not.
Because driver fatigue is a major cause of automobile accidents, the following general rules apply to all trips:
Individual drivers shall limit their driving time to a maximum of 6 hours per day.
Groups shall not travel more than 14 hours per day, regardless of the number of drivers available for the trip or in the vehicle.
Trips shall not depart from any location nor should driving take place between the hours 1 am and 5 am.The jitney is exempt from rule 8.c.
Assigned drivers may not authorize or permit anyone else to operate the vehicle except other authorized assigned drivers. If you are the assigned driver and for any reason cannot drive for the event you were assigned to you must contact the person who scheduled the event. The person who scheduled the event in turn will notify Student Transportation so the change is noted on the reservation prior to the trip. If an alternate driver is required for a trip, arrangements should be made in advance and noted on the reservation.
All cargo must be secured properly to prevent damage to seats, upholstery, glass, etc. Seats are to not to be removed by the driver or passengers. If the planned trip requires less seats, request this as part of the vehicle request, and Facilities Management will remove them prior to departure. No cargo shall be secured to the outside of any 12-passenger van. Any problems in accommodating unusual cargo must be referred to the Student Transportation Office who can assist you in finding a resolution.
Bumper stickers and signs are not permitted. It is the driver’s responsibility to report these items if found anywhere in/on the vehicle.
Failure to comply with these instructions or failure to exercise good judgment will result in temporary suspension or permanent revocation of your Hamilton driving privileges.
If a vehicle is not returned at the proper time and another department incurs additional charges, your department will be charged.
The travel vans are fitted with a GPS unit that is monitored by Hamilton College. The purpose of the GPS unit is to assist with the following. 1 - determining the exact location of the travel van in order to efficiently assist travelers in need of help. 2 - assist in the reconstruction of accident details. 3 - calculation of the mileage driven for cost recovery purposes. 4 - monitor vehicle speed. Please note that information obtained from the GPS device may be used to enforce the rules outlined in this document. If a student driver is determined to be in violation of any safe driving expectations, policies or procedures, their driving privileges will be suspended pending an investigation.
Alcohol and Controlled Substances Policy:
Hamilton students and employees are prohibited from operating any Hamilton vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. This includes drivers when their ability to drive might be impaired by any medication they may be using.
The consumption of alcoholic beverages or the use of controlled substances by passengers in a Hamilton vehicle is prohibited. It is the responsibility of the senior official present (i.e. team captain, athletic staff member, academic officer, professor, etc.) and/or the driver to enforce this policy.
The presence of open containers of alcoholic beverages in Hamilton vehicles is in violation of the law and is strictly prohibited.
Evidence of a violation will result in loss of the privilege to operate a Hamilton vehicle.
Trip Planning and Driver Rest Recommendations:
If two or more vehicles are traveling to the same destination, every effort should be made to have all vehicles depart together. Drivers should coordinate stops, keep visual contact with other vehicles in the group, and be prepared to provide assistance if anyone has a breakdown or accident.
In conjunction with General Policies, paragraph 8, the following recommendations are considered prudent when planning an extended trip.
Take a rest break every two hours.
At least one alternate driver should be available on every trip in the event that one of the designated drivers is unable to drive.
Departure times should be planned such that drivers have had sufficient rest prior to the commencement of trips.
Prior to any travel, advisors and students should arrange a communications plan for routine and emergency communications. The advisor and students should establish pre-set times for these communications.
Prior to requesting a van, take the time to plan your trip. Ask questions regarding the length of the trip, number of drivers, overnight accommodations, number of participants, anticipated weather conditions (winter, spring, summer driving) and alternative means of transportation (is it safer to use a different mode of transportation).
For long trips (in excess of 100 miles) or trips to areas unfamiliar to the driver, designate a navigator to assist the driver.
If inclement weather makes continuation of your trip unsafe, find shelter at the nearest public place—restaurant, hotel, etc. Contact the faculty member or administrator who authorized the trip for help arranging overnight accommodations, if necessary. The College will reimburse reasonable hotel and meal costs in these situations.
Any organization scheduling a trip that is further than two hours from the college in which the driver is a physically active participant (i.e. club sports teams, HOC, etc.), consider providing a driver who is not involved in the activity or event.
Check-Out/In and Inspection Procedures
Checking Out and Picking Up a Reserved Vehicle:
The 12 passenger vans are located at Facilities Management. The COOP and Shine vehicles are located at Campus Safety.
Keys are signed out at the Transportation Office located inside the Campus Safety building during the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. If the pick-up is before 7 am or after 4 p.m. on weekdays, or anytime during the weekends or holidays, the vehicle keys can be signed out from the Campus Safety Dispatch Officer.
Vans will be released only to the authorized driver listed on the reservation calendar. Drivers must have their driver’s license with them at all times.
Inspecting the Vehicle Prior to Departure and Upon Return:
Authorized drivers are responsible for conducting a walk-around inspection of the vehicle prior to departure. The following items should be inspected:
Lights (headlights, directionals and tail lights) are functioning properly;
No annunciator lights (check engine, etc.) appear on the vehicle’s dashboard
Visually check the tires, make sure the tires appear to be adequately inflated and there are no fluid leaks underneath the vehicle
Safety equipment (tire jack, spare tire, fire extinguisher) is available
Verify the registration, insurance cards, and the Hamilton College accident report form are all present in the glove compartment
Look for any interior and exterior damage or missing items.
If any inspection deficiency is discovered prior to departure, notify the Student Transportation Office during business hours or Campus Safety after hours. Do not proceed with the trip until repairs or alternate accommodations can be made, if needed.
Verify that the gas tank is full prior to departure. If the vehicle requires fuel a gas pump is available at Facilities Management. If the pump is locked contact Campus Safety and an Officer will unlock it for you.
Returning a Vehicle:
Vehicles are to be returned to Facilities Management immediately upon conclusion of an authorized trip, following the discharge of any passengers.
All debris/rubbish in the vehicle is to be removed by the driver upon the conclusion of the trip, and disposed of accordingly in nearby trash/recycling containers. It is advisable to do this at the time of passenger discharge (for example at Sadove circle), where trash/recycling containers are immediately available.
Before leaving the vehicle at Facilities Management, conduct a final inspection of the vehicle ensuring there is no new damage or missing items, the vehicle is refueled, all windows are up, and the vehicle is locked. If any new inspection deficiency is discovered, notify the Student Transportation Office or Campus Safety. Return the keys to the Transportation Office during business hours. After hours return them to the Campus Safety drop box.
Any missing items or new damage to a vehicle upon return/check-in will be the requesting group’s responsibility. The cost of replacement or repair will be billed to the requesting group’s account if user negligence is determined.