The Biology Department maintains two 10-passenger vans, which are treated as scientific equipment in support of our programs in field biology. They are also used for trips related to other Biology courses and for errands in direct support of the program. In order to prolong their dependable life expectancy, we do not make our vans available to groups outside this department.
Van driver certification
All drivers of College vehicles must be on a list of approved drivers maintained by the Office of Public Safety. To be listed, students must fill out a Van Driver Application form, which they can obtain from the Biology Department Office, John Kelly or from the Public Safety Office in the Benjamin West House. The form must be submitted to John Kelly with copies of a valid drivers license and College ID. After the application has been approved, a driving test, administered by John Kelly, must be passed before anyone can be certified.
Information on the applications is cleared by the College's insurer and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Approval of an application typically takes 4 to 6 weeks, so advance planning for class outings, field trips or student field research is necessary.
If Biology students wish to use the vans for an activity related to Biology, they may use them without restriction (assuming availability) if they have an approved driver and a faculty member is included in the trip; if no faculty person is included, they may be used for trips within one hour of the campus.
To reserve a van, sign up on the calendar hanging on the back of the door to John Kelly's office, Martin room 5. Please include the expected departure and return times on the calendar. Keys to the vans are kept in john Kelly's office. Return van keys to John Kelly's office, room 5, immediately after every trip in case others need to use the van.
Safety rules for the use of department vans
- Do not drive a 10-passenger van unless you feel comfortable with its size and with the responsibility you assume for the safety of the passengers.
- Do not drive if you become sleepy; stop to rest or to change drivers if another authorized driver is available.
- Obey all traffic laws and posted speed limits. Other traffic exceeding the speed limit does not sanction our van doing likewise.
- Do not change lanes unnecessarily.
- Keep your eyes on the road and on the traffic surrounding you. Be aware of your blind spots and avoid driving in another vehicle's blind spot.
- If the windshield wipers are on, the headlights should be, too.
- Allow ample room between cars--a van requires more braking distance than a car.
- Always BACK UP VERY SLOWLY. Visibility of the area behind the van is very restricted; so assistance is needed while backing up. If passengers are not available to help, the driver should put the van in Park and check behind it before backing up. In either case, BACK UP VERY SLOWLY!
- Vans are permitted to hold only 10 people, including the driver.
Keeping the vans clean
On return to campus, please ask passengers to remove litter and beverage containers and sweep out the van if dirt or debris has accumulated during the trip. Please close all van windows and lock the doors. Before you return the van, fill the gas tank if the gauge reads below 1/2 full as a courtesy for the next person.. Each van has a Mobil/Exxon credit card.
A cell phone is available for use with each van. It is a good idea to take one with you whenever you use a van in case of emergency. A battery charger, which can be plugged into the cigarette lighter, is also available for use with each phone. Instructions for using the phones are inside each van in the map holder between the front seats. The cell phones are kept in John Kelly's office.