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Environmental Health and Safety

12-15 Passenger Van Policy

This policy pertains to 12-15 passenger vans operated by employees of the University of North Florida and has been prepared due to the risks associated with these vehicles. These vans are manufactured to truck standards, with the end use intended for the hauling of cargo. 12-15 passenger vans can be considered cargo vans with rows of bench seats bolted to the floor. Studies by The National Traffic Safety Administration indicate that these vans have an increased propensity to rollover during evasive maneuvers and as the number of passengers or load increases.

The following Policy has been developed to prevent injuries, promote safety and minimize financial loss.

Safety Requirements

  • Operators: Only employees of the University of North Florida may operate 12-15 passenger vans.
  • Professional Behavior: All drivers are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times while on University business.
  • Driver’s License: All vehicle operators must have a current, valid state Driver’s License.
  • Driver Training: All operators must complete specialized training prior to operating a 12-15 passenger van. This training is offered through the Office of Environmental Health & Safety and must be completed by each driver prior to initial operation and at least every three years, thereafter.
  • Cellular Telephones: Cellular telephones may not be used while operating a vehicle.
  • Number of Occupants: The number of passengers should be limited to 10 in a 12 passenger van and 12 in a 15 passenger van. At no time should the total weight of passengers and cargo exceed the manufacturer’s load limit.
  • Seat Belts/Shoulder Harnesses: Seat belts and other occupant restraint devices must be worn at all times by all drivers and occupants. Malfunctioning or damaged seat belts must be repaired or replaced before using the vehicle.
  • Vehicle Operation: The vehicle must be operated in accordance with all traffic laws, ordinances and regulations. Operators should not drive if drowsy or under the influence of any substance.
  • Limit Driving Time: All operators should take frequent breaks from driving at least every 2 hours. Additional qualified drivers should be available for trips longer than 8 hours or arrangements should be made for an overnight stay.
  • Manufacturer Safety Information: The owner’s manual and other manufacturer safety material should be available and reviewed by all van operators. Special attention should focus on proper loading according to manufacturer recommendations.
  • Inspection: Each van should be inspected and discrepancies corrected before operation. This inspection should include, but is not limited to:(1) Brakes, including parking brake (2) Oil and fluid levels (3) Steering inspection (4) Lights, including head, tail and brake lights (5) Tire pressure and tread wear (6) Turn signals (7) Windshield wipers (8) Mirrors (9) Horn (10) Speedometer/instrument panel (11) Seat belts/shoulder harnesses
  • Tires: Fatal rollovers of 12-15 passenger vans often involve tire failures. Research by The National Traffic Safety Administration shows that tires on 12-15 passenger vans are often underinflated and used past their service life. Inspect the tires for tread wear and proper air pressure before each use. A placard inside the driver’s door pillar or the owner’s manual lists recommended tire size and pressure.
  • Size: A 12-15 passenger van is substantially longer and wider than a car and requires more space to maneuver. It also requires additional reliance on side-view mirrors for changing lanes.
  • Speed: Drive at safe speeds based on driving conditions and operators should never exceed posted speed limits. Always slow down if the roads are wet or icy as these vans do not respond well to abrupt steering maneuvers. Maintain proper following distances as these vans require additional braking time.
  • Cargo: Cargo should be placed forward of the rear axle. Cargo may not be placed on the roof. Consult the vehicle owner’s manual for the maximum passenger and cargo weight to avoid overloading.

Accident Reporting:

All accidents involving 12-15 passenger vans should be reported to the operator’s immediate supervisor, the local law enforcement authority and the UNF Office of Environmental Health & Safety.