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Division of Business and Finance

East Tennessee State University

FP-28 Use of Fifteen-Passenger Vans

I.   Purpose
II.  Background
III. Policy
IV. Safety Guidelines
V.  Emergency Procedures
VI. Training

I. Purpose

The purpose of this document is to establish University policy regarding the safe use and operation of University owned or rented 15-passenger or 12-passenger vans.

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II. Background

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued a cautionary warning to users of 15-passenger or 12-passenger vans of an increased rollover risk under certain conditions.

When carrying fewer than five passengers, 15 passenger or 12-passenger vans have a rollover risk similar to light trucks and smaller vans. However, the risk rises dramatically as the number of occupants increases from fewer than five occupants to more than ten passengers. Fifteen passenger or twelve passenger vans with ten or more occupants had a rollover rate in single vehicle crashes that is nearly three times the rate of those that were lightly loaded.

The increased loading of these vans causes the center of gravity to shift higher and toward the rear, thereby increasing the likelihood of rollover. This center of gravity shift also results in less driver control of the vehicle in panic maneuvers.

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III. Policy

All drivers who operate a University owned, rented or leased 15-passenger or 12-passenger van must comply with all State of Tennessee laws, the laws of other jurisdictions in which the vehicle is operated and University policies, procedures, rules, and instructions.

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IV. Safety Guidelines

A. Because of the handling characteristics of a loaded 15-passenger or 12-passenger van differ from other vehicles; drivers must exercise care and driving techniques that allow for safe adjustments to their handling characteristics.

B. All University owned, leased, borrowed, or rented 15-passenger or 12-passenger vans shall not be used to transport students below college level.

C. All ETSU employees and approved student drivers, while driving an ETSU, leased, borrowed, or rented 15-passenger or 12-passenger van must follow the posted speed limit and the State vehicle laws.

D. Drivers should check to ensure that all seat belts are in place an operational. All employees and passengers in an ETSU owned, leased, borrowed, or rented 15-passenger or 12-passenger van must wear a seat belt when the vehicle is moving.

E. All 15-passenger van drivers must be at least 21 years of age or older.

F. Drivers should make sure that they are well rested and attentive, and always slow down if the roads are wet or icy.

G. All University owned, leased, borrowed, or rented 15-passenger vans shall not carry more than fifteen (15) occupants (including the driver.)  All university owned, leased, borrowed, or rented 12-passenger vans shall not carry more than twelve (12) occupants (including the driver.)

H. Only University owned and approved trailers may be towed by a 15-passenger or 12-passenger van.

I. Special precautions shall be taken to ensure vehicles are not overloaded. Drivers will not operate a van with luggage or other items place above the bottom of any window frame in the vehicle. All luggage will be stored in the rear luggage area. No luggage will be placed in the passenger or drivers area. No luggage will be placed on the roof of the vehicle.

J. Each 15-passenger van being used to transport students on a university-sanctioned trip will contain information regarding procedures to follow in the event of an emergency.

K. Drivers with six (6) or more points on their driving record shall not operate a 15-passenger or 12-passenger  van. Van drivers who accumulate 6 or more points on their driving record should notify their supervisor.

L. Drivers are required to perform an inspection of the 15-passenger or 12-passenger van prior to operation. University owned, rented, or leased vehicles are not to be operated if there are mechanical or equipment concerns which effect the safe operation of the vehicle.

M. Cell phone use by the driver of these vans is prohibited while operating the vehicle.

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V. Emergency Procedures

A. Determine whether immediate medical attention is necessary for anyone involved in an accident. Contact 911 immediately, and then contact ETSU Public Safety at (423) 439-6900.

B. Immediately report any bodily injury or property damage to Campus Police.

C. Contact Public Safety if the vehicle needs to be replaced.

D. Complete the Accident Incident Report if driving a University owned, leased or rented vehicle, obtain other drivers information if necessary. Do not admit any fault or make any promises.

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VI. Training

A. Drivers of 15-passenger or 12-passenger vans must successfully complete the FLI Learning Systems, Inc. course, "Coaching The Van Driver II," provided by the ETSU Department of Public Safety. This training, provided each semester, is designed to be completed during a three (3) hour session with a certificate of completion presented at the end of the session.

B. If a driver possesses a Commercial Drivers License and is 21 years of age, further training is optional.

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Original effective date: March 10, 2003
Last review: March 10, 2003

Web page last updated 09/21/04

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