20. Vehicle and Golf Cart Safety
All members of the university authorized to drive university vehicles or otherwise operate a vehicle to conduct university business must operate vehicles in strict accordance with all Washington State and Pierce County laws. No work or errand is of sufficient importance to violate safe driving practices. Safe vehicle operation is the responsibility of all members of the PLU community while participating in all PLU business or activities.
Traffic-related motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of work-related injury or death. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, three workers die every day in vehicle crashes.
Vehicle accidents can happen at any time. In general, most accidents transpire after events that are physically tiring, during long trips, during bad weather, or in the late afternoon and evening hours. The PLU community experiences the majority of accident due to misjudging clearance. This includes parking accidents (backing-up) and turning radius.
RCW Title 46 Motor Vehicles governs safe vehicle use in Washington State. WAC 296-24-233 in the Washington State General Safety & Health Standards covers operation of motor vehicle trucks and trailers. Title 10 Vehicles and Traffic of the Pierce County Code further refines and regulates vehicle use and traffic within the county. Campus Safety or Environmental Health & Safety can assist you in locating these documents upon request.
2.0 Vehicle and Golf Cart Safe Operator Program
The purpose of this program is to ensure that PLU drivers have the skills and information that is needed to be effective and safe vehicle operators; to communicate driver responsibilities; reduce vehicle accidents; and to implement corrective actions for poor driving or repetitive unsafe incidents.
PLU strives to protect the safety of all community members by authorizing qualified drivers to operate university vehicles. Drivers shall be trained according to this program. PLU may conduct checks of a driver’s driving record. Employees who demonstrate irresponsible or unskilled driving behavior will be evaluated for corrective action.
2.2 PLU Driver Eligibility
PLU drivers must have a valid state (United States) drivers license in their possession and PLU Driver Certification to drive or operate a PLU owned vehicle or golf cart.
Drivers of PLU owned vehicles must have a valid drivers license and have driven in the United States for a minimum of two years. Persons who are restricted from driving by order of a doctor must never drive or operate a university vehicle.
Those who wish to drive a vehicle rented through PLU (it must be used for university purposes) shall have a valid state drivers license in their possession, be certified by PLU through Campus Safety, and adhere to the safe driving practices and training requirements contained in this document. See section 2.7 for insurance requirements. Drivers certification is not required to rent a vehicle while traveling or renting a Zip Car.
Certification can be provided, at the discretion of the university to PLU students and PLU employees who drive for PLU programs, such as athletic events, ASPLU activities, class field trips, or forensic events.
Volunteers who are appointed to drive by a PLU program must obtain certification through PLU Campus Safety and provide written authorization by a program representative before driving a PLU owned or rented vehicle.
Faculty, Administrator, Staff, Student, and Volunteer Drivers
- Observe and practice safe vehicle operation.
- Attend training.
- Report vehicle damage or defects.
- Report all vehicle incidents, regardless of size or damage, to one’s supervisor and to Campus Safety.
Advisors, Coaches, Instructors, Trip Leaders
- Attend the same training required of PLU drivers (this applies to any PLU representative that sponsors activities that require a driver or supervises employees who drive for PLU).
- Ensure that employees and students receive training and driver certification before operating a university vehicle.
- Report accidents to Campus Safety
- Orient drivers to the vehicle they are likely to use.
Directors, Managers, Supervisors
- Responsible for instilling appropriate driving behaviors.
- Orient drivers to the vehicle they are likely to use.
Campus Safety Director /Risk Manager/ Environmental Health & Safety Manager
- Monitor the application of this program and make adjustments accordingly
- Provide training opportunities for PLU drivers
- Enforce the directives of this program.
- Assist campus advisors, coaches, instructors, trip leaders, and other drivers in meeting the objectives of this program
2.4 Motor Vehicle Records
PLU will check motor vehicle records of new candidates considered for jobs that require a valid drivers license. Campus Safety may conduct spot checks of driving records for existing employees and student drivers as they attend training.
If a past record or driving behavior indicates that a driver is a risk, then that driver will not be permitted to drive a university vehicle or any other vehicle used for approved PLU purposes.
2.5 Certification Training
New PLU drivers shall complete a training program before being permitted to drive a university vehicle. Employees who complete driver training will be issued a PLU driver’s certification but must renew certification at expiration dates.
Training shall include:
- An overview of PLU vehicle use and driving policy
- Insurance procedures
- Safe driving procedures
- Campus specific driving procedures
PLU certified drivers must renew their certification every two years. It is the driver’s responsibility to seek refresher training and certification. Supervisors, advisors, coaches, and instructors should orient drivers to the vehicles that the driver is most likely to use.
2.6 Driver Improvement Training
Employees may be required to attend driver improvement class after any vehicle incident. However, drivers will be required to attend driver improvement class for any one of the following situations.
- Driver involved in two or more accidents regardless of fault or severity of damage or extent of injuries. For example, a person involved in two unclaimed fender benders with no injuries must attend a driver improvement class.
- A person is injured during an accident.
- Total damage to vehicle and/or property exceeds $1000 per accident.
The department that the employee was driving for at the time of the incident may pay the class fee. There are some PLU departments that require the employee pay the class fee.
PLU insures each PLU-owned vehicle separately. Insurance coverage follows the vehicle; not the driver. If you are driving your own vehicle, your insurance is primary. If you are driving a PLU vehicle, the university’s insurance is primary. If you rent a vehicle for PLU business independent of the Campus Safety office, make sure you follow the insurance coverage instructions provided in Appendix A. Sponsoring departments are responsible for paying deductibles after an accident.
Drivers who operate an assigned vehicle should make sure that the insurance packet is in the glove box of their vehicle. The PLU Mechanic will check all PLU vehicles when they are fueled and serviced to verify that the accident reporting/insurance information is located within the vehicles. Please see Appendix A. Traveling on PLU Business and What to do in the Event of a Vehicle Accident (or Crisis) While on PLU Business.
Campus Safety shall have authority to stop all drivers on the PLU campus when observed driving unsafely or otherwise in violation of this program. Members of the PLU community are encouraged to report erratic, irresponsible, or unsafe incidents or accidents to Campus Safety.
3.0 Vehicle Condition
Any person assigned to drive a university vehicle or golf cart is responsible for all matters pertaining to the safe operation of the vehicle. Motor vehicles, including golf carts, shall not be modified in any manner that affects the recommended mode of operation, speed or safety of the vehicle.
The driver is encouraged to conduct an inspection of the vehicle before operation. The PLU maintenance mechanic may be called upon to teach drivers how to inspect their vehicles.
Use the inspection form in Appendix B to guide the inspection and log any deficiencies or defects found. Defects or needed repairs must be reported promptly to your supervisor and to Facilities Management. The vehicle shall be removed from service for any problem that warrants the vehicle unsafe to drive until repairs are made.
It is the driver’s responsibility to keep the vehicle interior clean and free of loose tools and other debris. The windshield must be kept clean for good visibility.
PLU drivers who have been assigned a specific vehicle and are the primary user of that vehicle are responsible for minor maintenance activities. Any vehicle maintenance beyond that stated here is the responsibility of Facilities Management. It is the driver’s responsibility to submit a work request to Facilities Management when service is required.
Drivers are responsible for fueling the vehicle in a safe manner.
- Do not smoke or conduct fueling operations near a source of ignition.
- Do not spill fuel.
- Do not inhale fuel fumes.
3.4 Vehicle Loads and Loading
Loads must be properly distributed and not piled too high. Loading must be such that the driver has clear vision to the front, sides and rear. When necessary, loads must be blocked, tied, flagged or padded to prevent shifting or damage.
All loads transported on trucks and/or truck trailers must be properly secured and distributed, and limited to a safe operating load for driving conditions.
When it is necessary to unload from the street side of the vehicle, extra care and precaution should be used. Whenever possible, work should be done from the curbside.
4.0 Vehicle Operation
University vehicles represent Pacific Lutheran University and should be driven in a manner so as to create a favorable impression on the public. Show more than ordinary courtesy and consideration for other drivers and pedestrians.
Secure all doors, end gate enclosures, and equipment before driving. Drivers or passengers must not throw objects from the vehicle. All materials being transported must also be secured to prevent material from being blown off the vehicle.
If one must eat or perform other potentially distracting functions, please find a place to safely stop in order to do so. Consistent with PLU’s tobacco free policy for buildings and grounds, the use of tobacco products is not permitted in PLU vehicles. Washington State Industrial Safety and Health Regional Directive 84-4 and RCW 46.37.480 prohibit wearing radio headphones while operating a vehicle. Cell phones are prohibited while driving.
It is the driver’s responsibility to open and shut campus gates in order to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering the campus.
Do not drive on areas not intended for vehicle traffic. In rare cases it may be necessary to drive or park on areas not intended for vehicle traffic. Use special care while taking into account the weight of the vehicle and damage that might result. Extra courtesy must also be used in these instances.
PLU Vehicles shall not be used for personal or non-PLU related purposes.
Drivers must operate equipment at a safe speed for roadway conditions.
The on-campus speed limit is 5 miles per hour. A good “rule of thumb” is to drive at a fast walking pace. On campus drivers of vehicles and golf carts shall stop at blind intersections and then proceed slowly while looking for pedestrians or other vehicles.
Off campus drivers of vehicles must also comply with the following Vehicle Code requirements governing speed regulations:
Basic Speed Law requires a speed that is safe for all conditions including traffic, surface and width of roadway, weather conditions, and visibility.
Observe Speed Limits established by Code for certain situations such as blind crossings, business and residential districts, and other special zones established by the posting of speed limit signs, as well as Special Speed Restrictions as established to cover various types of vehicles, trailers or combinations.
The campus is a pedestrian – not a vehicle – zone. Campus pedestrians do not expect vehicles to be on site. They are, therefore, less aware of the presence and danger of vehicles. Always give the pedestrian the right of way. Do not sound the horn to warn a pedestrian unless it is necessary to prevent an accident or injury. While the campus vehicle speed limit is 5 mph, drivers are expected to slow to a walking speed when in crowded pedestrian areas.
Vehicles must remain on paved paths and absolutely avoid taking short cuts through grass, gravel, and other inappropriate driving areas.
4.3 Right of Way
Drivers must drive courteously at all times and should yield the right-of-way to other vehicles or pedestrians as outlined in RCW 46.61.180-220.
4.4 Backing the Vehicle
Accidents are more likely to occur when backing a vehicle. Whenever possible, drivers should drive and park the vehicle so as not to require backing up.
Recognizing that this will not always be possible, the driver should station a spotter at a point giving a clear view of the rear of the vehicle and the driver when backing a vehicle where vision is obstructed.
If the driver is alone, the driver shall get out of the vehicle to check the clearance and then resume backing the vehicle slowly out of the area. The driver should get out of the vehicle to check the clearance as many times as necessary to back up safely.
Drivers must comply with State and County parking regulations and PLU parking designations except when exemption is granted for work involving construction, operations, entrance or egress.
At any time a university vehicle is parked, it is the driver’s responsibility to make certain that the:
- Wheels are turned into the curb when parked on an incline.
- Vehicle is taken out of gear and put in park position in those vehicles having automatic transmission. Whenever possible, vehicles with standard transmission will be left in gear.
- Parking brake is set.
Drivers shall not park vehicles:
- In fire lanes
- On soft surfaces.
- In front of building entrances, stairways, ramps, or main thoroughfares or other no parking zones.
5.0 Golf Cart Operation
Golf cart operators must follow the general vehicle driver requirements of this program. In addition:
- Golf carts should be operated on campus grounds only. Carts can cross perpendicular to County roads. Carts should not be driven on public roads.
- Golf carts that will be used between dusk and dawn shall be equipped with headlights.
- Golf cart drivers shall be responsible for the security of the ignition keys for the period that the cart is assigned to them.
- Golf carts shall not be modified in any manner that affects the recommended mode of operation, speed, or safety of the vehicle.
- Golf carts shall be parked on hard surfaces.
- PLU driving certification is required to qualify as a golf cart driver.
6.0 Vehicle Safety Equipment
6.1 Seats & Seat Belts
When driving or riding in a university vehicle or other vehicle used to conduct PLU business, one must sit in a seat designed for this purpose and seat belts must be worn in accordance with state regulations. Seatbelts are not standard equipment on golf carts and are, therefore, not required.
Persons may not ride in the back of trucks, golf carts, vans, trailers or in other parts of a vehicle that do not have seats. If there are not enough passenger seats for all passengers, then some people must walk or the driver can make more trips to transport all of the passengers.
The seat belt must be adjusted so that it is snug enough to afford the maximum protection without being uncomfortable. Fasten the seat belt before moving the vehicle. Do not attempt to fasten the seat belt while the vehicle is moving.
When maneuvering a vehicle into a position that requires backing into a location at a job site or dock area, the seat belt may be unfastened temporarily while such maneuvering is in progress.
Please use headlights on vehicles that are equipped with lights whenever driving on campus.
7.0 Student Use of PLU Vehicles
Students who wish to drive PLU vehicles may do so for activities or events related to student club, athletic, or study programs, but must be certified. See section 2.
If an individual uses his or her privately owned vehicle to transport others for activities related to PLU business, the vehicle owner is responsible for providing insurance coverage. See section 2 and Appendix A.
7.1 Driving a PLU Vehicle
When reserving a vehicle through Campus Safety for trips in duration of 24 hours or more the driver should complete and return form Appendix C to the sponsoring department’s office. The advisor or instructor sponsoring the trip should endorse and date the form authorizing use.
7.2 Itineraries & Contacts
An itinerary shall be created before the trip and include the route, arrival and departure dates and times, planned rest stops, boarding accommodation phone numbers, and destination points.
Travelers shall provide to the sponsoring office a contact list of all travelers and emergency contact names and numbers for each traveler. The sponsoring office should provide to travelers the designated PLU contact’s home, work, and cell phone number.
7.3 Driving Conditions & Times
Advisors, coaches, instructors, and or trip leaders are responsible for assessing the conditions for safe driving. It shall be the responsibility of the driver and the advisor, coach, instructor, or trip leader to cancel the trip, if the conditions indicate that it is unsafe to proceed. The following are some of the factors that should be evaluated prior to travel.
- Physical fitness of the driver. Is the driver sick, tired, or injured?
- Weather conditions. Is it icy, snowy, or foggy with poor visibility?
- Driver skill. Is this a young or new driver or a driver that has seldom driven a large vehicle?
It is the driver’s responsibility to be fully rested and alert before driving. The driver should ask the passenger who is riding in the front seat position to watch the driver for signs of decreased driver ability, such as nodding off during the trip. The passenger must also be fully rested and alert.
It is recommended that the driver stop every 90 minutes of travel for a rest period and exchange with a different certified driver for the next 90 minutes.
Driving is prohibited between 12:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. for all drivers less than 25 years of age. A PLU certified driver who is 25 years of age or older, and is well-rested and alert may drive during these restricted hours provided the driver complies with the other conditions of this program. Early departures are authorized within the prohibited period providing they are departing from the PLU campus. The team or group is required to stay overnight when they cannot comply with these conditions.
All student groups who use a PLU vehicle must have among them at least one cell phone or other two-way communication device for emergency purposes. It is up to the individuals in the group or department to provide this communication.
8.0 Vendors and Contractors
The contracting PLU Department should provide a map to each contracted vendor that illustrates appropriate campus routes for vendors to use. Campus Safety may pre-authorize certain departments, such as Construction Management, Dining Services, and Facilities Management, to issue vendor or contractor passes. Vendors and Contractors shall observe approved vehicle routes and avoid heavy pedestrian zones. The vendor may request permission from Campus Safety to deviate from the approved vehicle routes.
9.0 Moving Violation or Parking Tickets
The driver is responsible, including payment of fines, for all moving violations and parking tickets. Unpaid parking tickets (including Sno-pass and other permit violations) issued to the university will be traced back to the department and charged to the department. The department is encouraged to seek reimbursement from the driver.
Immediately call local authorities to report an accident that occurs off campus. Follow that by notifying Campus Safety. Follow the instructions in the insurance packet located in the vehicle glove box.
On campus accidents, regardless of severity, must also be immediately reported to Campus Safety and to your supervisor or advisor.
10.1 Medical Care
It is the trip leader’s responsibility to determine whether individuals involved in a vehicle crash must be evaluated at a medical facility. This shall be determined based on the severity of the accident, consultation with emergency response personnel, and potential for injury.
10.2 Driving Privileges
Drivers who are involved in an accident shall discontinue driving a PLU vehicle or their own vehicle when conducting PLU activities, until an investigation of the accident is complete. The Risk Manager will notify the driver and driver’s supervisor or advisor when driving privileges are restored. Driver improvement training may be required for drivers involved in a vehicle accident. See section 2.6.
Drivers who are off-campus at the time of an accident must follow accident reporting procedures in Appendix A. Upon return to campus, the driver must provide the police report and statements to Campus Safety and the Risk Manager (Finance and Operations Office).
Student drivers meeting any of the criteria described in 2.6 will not be permitted to resume driving privileges.