Motor Vehicle Operation
This policy establishes the requirements for the safe operation of motor vehicles. It applies to all campus personnel operating a state owned, or leased motor vehicle to conduct official business.
Motor Vehicles include but are not limited to the following:
- 4-wheelers or Quads
- Gasoline and electric powered carts
To operate a motor vehicle on campus, employees must, at a minimum:
- Have a valid state driver’s license including any appropriate endorsement.
- Attend additional training or successfully pass a performance evaluation if required by the vehicle type.
- Be familiar with New York State traffic laws.
Drivers shall be alert at all times and will minimize distractions that may impact their ability to safely operate the vehicle. This includes, but is not limited to distractions from:
- Mobile electronic devices
- Eating and drinking
- Vehicle features such as entertainment, climate, navigation systems, etc.
- Events and objects outside the vehicle
The Purchase campus prides itself in hosting a variety of visitors. Drivers must always watch for pedestrians, especially children and animals, and expect anything. Be ready to use your brakes!
Driving under the effects of alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription and non-prescription medication that adversely affect the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is prohibited.
Employees required to drive campus owned/leased vehicles as part of their job are subject to driving record verification. Employees whose job does not require the use of campus owned/leased vehicles, but may on occasion request such use for business travel are subject to driving record verification.
No driver shall transport more passengers in a vehicle than the vehicle’s designation. A seat shall be available for each passenger. Cargo areas/payloads are not meant for passenger occupancy.
All vehicles used for business purposes shall be equipped with occupant restraints such as safety belts or supplemental restraint systems (airbags).
The following shall be considered during the vehicle acquisition process:
- Suitability for intended purpose
- Cargo capacity and load position
- Towing Capacity
- Ergonomic features
- Safety features
If a College-owned or leased vehicle is equipped with seat belts or safety restraints, all occupants of the vehicle must use the restraints when the vehicle is in motion.
It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that all occupants are wearing seat belts during any movement of the vehicle.
Drivers shall not begin operation of the vehicle until all passengers have complied with the seat belt rule.
Passengers must not remove their seat belts during travel.
Cell Phone and Handheld Electronic Device Use
No driver will use a cell phone or handheld electronic device at any time while vehicles are in motion, waiting at stoplights, or waiting at stop signs, etc.
Drivers can only use cell phones after having pulled over and stopped in a safe location.
Text messaging, sending/receiving/reading email, web browsing, and use of mobile applications is prohibited while operating a motor vehicle.
Vehicle Inspections and Maintenance
Maintenance can go a long way toward reducing unnecessary vehicle accidents or damage. All campus owned/leased vehicles shall be inspected prior to being put in service and then on a regular basis in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations and any regulatory requirements. The operating environment or conditions may require adjustments to service schedules.
Visual checks shall be made by drivers each time a vehicle is to be operated. Checks shall include:
- Brakes: Check brake wear. Pay attention to any abnormal sounds or feel during braking.
- Tires: Maintain proper air pressure and check tread wear.
- Lights: Make sure all lights – front, rear, and side – are in working order; keep them clean to maintain their brightness and visibility.
- Windshield wipers: Streaking indicates excessive wear.
- Horn: Audible.
- Side and rearview mirrors: Keep clean and properly adjusted.
- Seat adjustments: Make sure the seat is adjusted to prevent fatigue or strain.
Whenever a defect is found, the vehicle shall not be operated. It shall be repaired by a qualified automotive service technician. Safety-related defects shall be repaired before the vehicle is placed back in service with appropriate records maintained.
All motor vehicle accidents shall be reported to UPD. Never leave the scene of an accident on public roads/highways without reporting the incident to the local police department.
Driving in Poor Weather or at Night
Rain, snow, ice, fog and darkness increase the chances of an accident; therefore, they require extra caution and slower speeds.
At no time shall campus owned/leased vehicles be driven at a speed exceeding the posted speed limit. Be alert for changes in posted speed limits as you travel about the campus.
Vehicle operators shall obey all signs, including but not limited to, stop signs, yield signs and one-way signs. When conditions require a flagman, operators shall obey flagman directions.
Use of Spotters
Backing of any vehicle (regardless of distance) shall be avoided whenever possible. Where backing is unavoidable, a spotter shall be positioned in the safe zone outside the vehicle to ensure safety during the maneuver. Spotters shall be 100% visible to the driver during all maneuvers.