Use of 11- and 15-Passenger Vans

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University Policy Number 1401

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I. SCOPE

This policy applies to the George Mason University community, including but not limited to full, part-time, adjunct, and administrative faculty, classified staff, wage employees, graduate assistants, student workers, and students that operate 11- and 15-passenger vans.  It further applies to all State owned, rented, and leased vehicles.

II. POLICY STATEMENT

Commonwealth vehicles may only be used for their intended purpose and in the manner for which they were designed.  This policy recognizes George Mason University’s status as a state agency and its responsibility to exercise reasonable care in utilizing and operating state owned, rented, and leased vehicles.  The University community is authorized to use 11- and 15-passenger vehicles for official business or University-approved activities only when smaller vehicles are not available or not practical.  These vehicles can be used for distances of 500 miles or less.  Alternate commercial transportation is required for distances over 500 miles.  Minors in the University’s care must not be transported in 11- and 15-passenger vans.  All drivers must meet qualifications set-forth in this policy.  Only persons directly involved with the activity may ride in these vehicles unless given express permission by the department head authorizing the trip.

III. DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

A. “Fifteen-passenger van” is defined as all model year vehicles that were sold as fifteen-passenger or comparable vans.  This definition also includes 15 passenger vans that have been modified to accommodate 11 passengers.  The make/models normally referred to as fifteen-passenger vans are: Chevrolet Express 3500; GMC Savanna G3500; Dodge Ram Van/Wagon B3500; Dodge Ram Wagon B350; Ford Econoline E350; Ford Club Wagon E350 and GMC Rally/Vandura G3500.

B. “Driver” is defined as the operator of the vehicle.

C. “Minor” is defined as individuals under the age of 18.

IV. RESPONSIBILITIES

The responsibilities of the University departments and individuals charged with monitoring, training, providing support services and the day-to-day administrative coordination of this policy are set forth in this section.

A. Facility Management Motor Pool

The Facility Management Motor Pool is responsible for coordinating the use of the Fleet Pool/Mason owned vehicles for the University community, to include overseeing the use of 11- and 15-passenger vehicles that are signed out for short-term use by members of the University community.  Persons wishing to use State Pool/Mason owned 11- and 15-passenger vehicles must complete a Driver’s Application Questionnaire and have the Motor Pool Vehicle Rental Request approved by their department head or his/her designated representative.  Other Motor Pool responsibilities include:

1. Ensure the Motor Pool Vehicle Rental Request is completed.

2. Only allowing drivers with valid licenses to operate vehicles by checking licenses before vehicles are dispatched.

3. Randomly request George Mason University Police Department to perform Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) checks on drivers.

4. When inclement weather is expected for the local area, the Motor Pool may deny the use of a vehicle and may recall any Mason/Pool vehicles previously assigned.

B. George Mason University Police Department

The George Mason University Police Department is responsible for obtaining Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records, and providing the initial and refresher “Drivers Familiarization” training to the University Community for operating 11- and 15-passenger vans.

1. Individuals who request the use of a 11- or 15-passenger van are subject to DMV checks beginning with the initial Drivers Application and then again at the time of refresher training.  Other requests for a DMV check may come from the Motor Pool or the Office of Risk Management.

2. DMV records will not be released outside of the University Police Department.  University Police will simply indicate on the Driver Application Questionnaire that after reviewing the individual’s DMV records, the driver either meets, or does not meet, Mason’s vehicle driving qualification requirements.

3. Qualified University Police trainers will provide the “Drivers Familiarization” training course (four-hours) on the operation of 11- and 15-passenger vehicles, which includes a Ride-Along for vehicle familiarization.  To schedule training, individuals must contact the Mason Police Department at 703-993-2824.  Completed Driver Application Questionnaires must be forward to University Police 48 hours before the scheduled drivers training.  Following each training session, University Police will provide a list to the Motor Pool of individuals who have successfully completed the training course. The Motor Pool will be responsible for updating Mason’s Qualified Drivers database.

4. Refresher training is required every two years following completion of the initial training.  To schedule training, individuals must contact the George Mason University Police Department at 703-993-2824.

C. Department Heads are responsible for:

1. Ensuring that the trip is essential to the furtherance of Mason’s mission.

2. Assuring that drivers and passengers understand the conditions and restrictions for operation of the 11- and 15-passenger vans.

3. Verifying that only qualified individuals operate 11- or 15-passenger vans.

4. Ensuring the completeness of the Driver’s Application Questionnaire and the Motor Pool Vehicle Rental Request before approving and forwarding to the appropriate office.

V. DRIVER’S QUALIFICATIONS

In order to drive an 11- or 15-passenger van, drivers must meet the following conditions:

A. Possess a valid United States driver’s license for at least two years.

B. Be at least 20 years of age.

C. Complete a Driver’s Application Questionnaire annually.

D. Have no more than two at-fault accidents or moving violations within the last two years.

E. Have no violations in the past two years for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or reckless driving.

F. Have a reinstated license in effect at least one year after suspension or revocation.

G. Successfully completed the University’s Driver’s Familiarization Course.  The course is offered twice monthly.  For scheduling, visit the George Mason University Police Department’s website for next available class and registration.

VI. CONDITIONS AND RESTRICTIONS ON VEHICLE USE

A. Except in emergencies, only the assigned driver may operate the vehicle.

B. Drivers shall not transport unauthorized passengers, such as hitchhikers, family, or friends.  Only persons directly involved with the activity may ride in vehicle unless given express permission by the department head authorizing the trip.

C. Drivers must know and observe all applicable traffic laws, ordinances, and regulations.  Use of seat belts or other available occupant restraints is required for all vehicle occupants, in accordance with state laws.  The driver shall not operate the vehicle unless all occupants are wearing the appropriate restraints.

D. No driver shall drive for more than two hours without a break of at least 30 minutes.  Any trip that is longer than 200 miles, or four hours, must have at least two qualified drivers assigned to drive the van.  Driver(s) shall not drive between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. without special permission from their department head.

E. Although obtaining meals and lodging are reasonable deviations, the trip must be along the most direct route between designated sites and not involve ad hoc side trips.

F. Members of the University community are expected to comply with federal and state laws regarding the use of alcohol.  The passengers and driver(s) may not consume (or possess) alcoholic beverages while in the vehicle.

G. Finally, the driver must stop and investigate any accident, or suspected accident, that the van is involved in.  The driver will not leave the scene until the police have responded and investigated the accident.  This requirement includes all hit and run accidents.

H. Any driver involved in an accident must also inform the Office of Risk Management at the earliest convenient time at 703-993-2599.

VII. FEES AND SUPPORT COST

Because of possible changes, fee schedule and support service costs must be obtained from the Motor Pool 703-993-2442.

VIII. APPLICATION APPROVAL

Approval for use of State Pool/Mason vehicles is not rendered until the completion and approval of the Driver’s Application Questionnaire and the Motor Pool Vehicle Rental Request, verification that the driver meets all qualification, and a determination that the requested vehicle is available.  Driver qualifications are intended to serve as guidelines.  If there are unusual circumstances, Mason Police and the Office of Risk Management may jointly exercise judgment on a case-by-case basis.

IX. AMENDMENTS AND ADDITIONS

All amendments and additions to this policy are to be reviewed and approved by the Vice President of Administration.

X. COMPLIANCE

The Facility Management Motor Pool will deny the use of 11- and 15-passenger vehicles to any individual who does not meet all conditions set-forth in this policy.  There is no appeal process to request an exception to those conditions.  Violations of the conditions set-forth in this policy may result in the suspension of the privilege.

XI. EFFECTIVE DATE AND APPROVAL

This policy is effective July 1, 2002, and was revised February 2009. This policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually to become effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.

Approved:

__/S_____________________
Maurice W. Scherrens
Senior Vice President

__/S______________________
Peter N. Stearns
Provost

Date approved: July 24, 2002