The provisions of the Vehicle Safety Program apply to the operation of motor vehicles by WCU employees and students. It does not apply to off road vehicles such as forklifts, riding lawn mowers, street sweepers, backhoe diggers, and tractors. The purpose of the program is to minimize accidents and losses by ensuring that drivers of university vehicles are qualified, vehicles are maintained and operated safely, and all accidents are properly reported, investigated, and corrective actions taken to prevent recurrence.
To drive a NC state vehicle a person must be a state employee or a currently enrolled student. The employee or student must have a valid North Carolina operator license appropriate for the class of vehicle being driven (see WCU Policy 30).
All drivers of passenger vans must attend a van driver safety awareness program prior to driving.
Departments with vehicles assigned (listed below) should initially and annually review the driving record of each passenger van driver, maintain records of authorized drivers, and issue vehicles only to authorized drivers.
Drivers shall perform a pre-trip safety check of their vehicle before each trip off-campus or for campus vehicles at the beginning of the workday. The check shall include tires, brakes, wipers, lights, horn and any new damage to the vehicle. Any unsafe conditions or damage discovered shall be reported to the department and Facilities Management. The vehicle should not be used until each unsafe condition is corrected.
All drivers and passengers shall wear seat belts at all times except in maintenance/delivery vehicles which make frequent stops on campus.
Vehicles must be used only for authorized and official purposes. The authorized driver must not allow unauthorized persons to drive or ride in the vehicle. Every passenger should have a seat. Passengers should not be allowed to ride unrestrained in the rear of a truck or on a trailer.
Each department with vehicles assigned shall assign an individual who is responsible for vehicle maintenance. This person shall complete a periodic safety maintenance check of the vehicle, ensure that the State inspection is up to date, and coordinate repair of the vehicles with Facilities Management.
The number of passengers that may be transported in a 15-passenger van is limited to nine (9) in addition to the driver. The reduced passenger count from 15 to 10 in these vehicles is based on research conducted by numerous traffic safety organizations, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Studies have shown that rollover rates dramatically increase with the number of passengers. All passengers must wear seat belts at all times.
Prior to operating a 15-passenger van, all Western Carolina University employees must complete safety training regarding the increased risk of roll-overs and defensive driving techniques. The training is administered through Canvas and consists of a short instructional video (15 minutes) and a review of safety guidelines that must be followed when operating a 15-passenger van. Please contact the Office of Safety and Risk Management to be enrolled in 15-passenger van training.
Operation of low speed vehicles EZ-Go Carts, Gems and similar vehicles must conform to WCU Policy #90.
All drivers of low speed vehicles must attend a low speed vehicle driver training session. This is offered by the Safety & Risk Management Office.
In addition to police reports, the driver must report all accidents to the department head. The department head is responsible for notifying Safety & Risk Management and Facilities Management so that the appropriate insurance forms can be completed. All accidents are reviewed by the Safety Officer to determine common causes and remedial actions to correct any accident causing deficiencies.