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Driver Safety and Motor Vehicle Use Procedure

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Related Files

» Accident Reporting Form (12/2019)

» Fleet Vehicle Sign-Out Sheet Sample

» Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Checking Procedure (12/2019)

» Motor Vehicle Record Check Acknowledgement Form

Effective 04-01-16

    To establish guidelines for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution employees and students and others who may be given the privilege of driving vehicles owned by the Institution, including shuttle vehicles and vehicles purchased for specific WHOI scientific projects. This procedure is intended to protect people, preserve equipment, and reduce the frequency and severity of accidents involving Institution vehicles.
    Approved Driver:
    Anyone who drives vehicles owned by the Institution must meet the following requirements to be an approved driver:
    1. Be at least 21 years of age
    2. Possess a valid driver’s license and have a copy on file with the Institution. Drivers who have their license suspended or revoked will have their WHOI driving privileges suspended. If the issuing state then reactivates a driver’s license, WHOI driving privileges will be restored after WHOI receives documentation of the reactivation
    3. Have an acceptable driving record in accordance with the motor vehicle records (MVR) criteria described in Section III. All drivers who submit their license may be subject to a MVR check (see Section III) and must complete a Motor Vehicle Record Check Acknowledgement Form (see Related Files on this page)
    4. Submit a copy of their driver's license and completed Motor Vehicle Record Check Acknowledgment Form to the Institution's Risk Coordinator prior to signing out or driving a vehicle
    5. Successfully complete WHOI’s EH&S Driver Safety Training prior to signing out or driving a vehicle
    6. Any variation from these requirements must be approved by Human Resources and Legal Departments
    Driver and passenger guidelines are as follows:
    1. Drivers and passengers are required to wear seat belts at all times, even while driving in and around parking lots
    2. Drivers must obey all traffic rules, drive courteously and practice defensive driving techniques
    3. Every driver is required to maintain an Approved Driver status to drive which includes a valid driver’s license and a satisfactory motor vehicle driving record at all times
    4. Any change to an Approved Driver status involving any item described in Section III of these procedures, including suspension, revocation or restrictions, such as medical restrictions, or loss of a driver’s license must be reported to their supervisor and report to the Institution’s Risk Coordinator at 508-289-3517 as soon as possible
    5. Drivers are required to report the following to their supervisors as soon as possible:
      1. Traffic violation(s) they receive during working and nonworking hours while driving on Institution business
      2. Accidents that occur while driving on Institution business in vehicles that are owned by WHOI
    6. Drivers may not operate Institution vehicles or drive during business hours after having consumed alcohol and or drugs, including legal drugs or medications that may impair their ability to operate a motor vehicle
    7. Drivers may not offer rides to unauthorized passengers (including pets) not related to WHOI business
    8. Payment of all violations, including traffic violation payments, parking tickets and/or speeding tickets, are the sole responsibility of the driver, not the Institution
    9. Only Approved Drivers may drive a WHOI vehicle. Passengers, even if they are WHOI employees, may not drive a WHOI vehicle unless they are an Approved Driver as noted above
    10. Drivers are required to observe all rules and regulations for safe driving as defined by the state in which they are driving
    11. Avoid conditions that lead to loss of control: driving while drowsy or distracted, driving too fast for road conditions, texting while driving, etc.
    12. Texting while driving is illegal in Massachusetts. As of February 23, 2020 cell phone use may ONLY by conducted with Bluetooth engaged according to Massachusetts law. Personal calls should NOT be conducted while driving an Institution vehicle or while driving your personal vehicle for Institution business. Should you need to engage in a conversation, stop the vehicle in a safe area to take or make the call 
    13. Always perform an inspection of the vehicle both before and after use. Approved Drivers are responsible for reporting any damage and/or any needed maintenance while in your possession
    14. Drivers whose licenses have been suspended are responsible for working with their supervisor(s) to determine if there are other means of fulfilling their job duties related to driving and are responsible for managing their own alternative transportation to and from work. If no alternative work arrangements are possible due to the essential job duties related to driving for the position, additional action may be required including termination of employment for failure to perform essential job duties
    15. Drivers who are unable to drive due to medical reasons must provide written documentation from a physician to the Human Resources department and are responsible for working with their supervisor(s) and Human Resources to determine if there are other means of fulfilling their job duties
    1. It is the practice of WHOI to obtain motor vehicle records (MVR) annually for people who operate Institution vehicles as part of their job. Those who sign out an Institution vehicle for any reason are also subject to annual random MVR checks. MVRs will be obtained prior to employment for individuals seeking positions that require driving as part of their job duties
    2. Any disciplinary action(s) taken as a result of failure to maintain Approved Driver status will be documented and applied to all drivers who fail to comply with this program
    3. For drivers who are found to have a suspension or revocation of their driver’s license or are involved in an accident or do not report damage to a vehicle as required and/or are involved in any of the following, WHOI reserves the right to suspend or withhold WHOI driving privileges, reassign to a non-driving position, as well as disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment:
      1. Driving under the influence of alcohol (DWI, DUI)
      2. Negligent homicide
      3. Operating without a valid driver’s license
      4. Operating with a suspended license
      5. Using a motor vehicle for commission of a felony
      6. Aggravated assault with a motor vehicle
      7. Operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent
      8. Permitting an unlicensed driver to drive
      9. Reckless driving
      10. Involvement in a hit-and-run accident
      11. Three or more moving violations (including, but not limited to, speeding, failure to stop, failure to use equipment properly, etc.) in a one-year period
    4. Turning in a damaged vehicle without proper notification and/or explanation

    Maintenance of WHOI vehicles is performed in-house at our Vehicle Maintenance Facility located in the Quissett Warehouse area. Our Vehicle Mechanic performs routine and emergency maintenance on the WHOI fleet. On occasion, major component work is handled by a few, select, outside vendors.

    Vehicle Maintenance staff are not responsible for pre/post operational inspection after each use. This is the responsibility of the Approved Driver who has signed out the vehicle. It is also the responsibility of the Approved Driver to report any need for maintenance or repairs to Vehicle Maintenance.

    In addition to performing maintenance of the WHOI fleet, our Vehicle Maintenance department handles the registrations and annual inspections of all vehicles.

    Please contact Vehicle Maintenance or (508) 289-2415 if you have any questions regarding maintenance or registration of WHOI vehicles.

    1. If an accident occurs, follow these procedures:
      1. If there are injuries, call 911
      2. Notify local police. If the accident occurs on WHOI property, also notify Security at 508-289-1401
      3. Obtain the following information:
        • Driver’s name, address and phone number
        • Driver’s date of birth
        • Driver’s insurance carrier and policy number
        • Driver’s license number and state of issuance
        • Make, model, color and tag of vehicle
        • Damage to all vehicles
        • If possible take photographs of any and all damage to vehicles
        • Injuries
        • Date, time and road and weather conditions
        • Names and addresses of other vehicles’ occupants and any other witnesses
        • Use the Accident Reporting form found inside the vehicle and submit the completed form to the Risk Mgt. Coordinator at or MS # 14
    2. Do not argue or make statements or discuss who is at fault
    3. Notify your supervisor and submit an accident/incident report as soon as possible after the accident
    4. If you are determined to be at-fault for the accident, you will be required to re-take and successfully complete WHOI’s EH&S Driver Safety Training and you may lose driving privileges if your employment status continues as active
    Failure to meet the conditions of this procedure and maintaining Approved Driver status, including maintaining an acceptable MVR, may result in revocation of driving privileges, reassignment to a non-driving position, as well as disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment

Last updated: December 18, 2019

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