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Becoming a DOC Driver

Summary: If you want to drive vehicles for DOC activities, talk to Julie in 119 Robinson.

The Dartmouth Outing Club believes strongly in enabling students to plan, organize, and run their own trips and activities. Crucial to this process is making sure students can get themselves safely to their destinations. The College has a vehicle fleet available for student trips, but students need to get approved before they can use them.

There are three levels of student driver certification at the College:

Sedan/minivan (ie. car/minivan) certification is required before you can become van or microbus certified, but van and microbus are not prerequisite for each other. Most DOC trips and activities will require either a van or microbus certification.

First-year students are not allowed to drive for DOC activities (the College has its own restrictions on first-year students driving which make it too difficult for us), but we recommend that first-year students, who are active with the club and expect to continue taking on more responsibility in the club, get their van and/or microbus certifications completed by the end of their first year, so that they’ll have it when they need it (especially if you might want to be on one of the summer crews). It’s annoying wanting to lead a trip and not being able to because you’re waiting for your paperwork to clear. Start at the Outdoor Programs Business Office in 119 Robinson Hall.

Driver certification at Dartmouth is handled by the Driver Safety Program (usually just called Driver Safety), but the DOC can streamline many of the tasks for you — so start with us.

Driver Talk

Additionally, in order to use OPOs fleet of vehicles (currently two busses, two pickups and a 12 passenger van), you must attend a Driver Talk. The text of the talk, which is a useful reference, can be downloaded here.

Driver talks are held periodically by OPO. To schedule one, contact Brian, Julie or Rory.

Sedan/Minivan Certification

The College has a number of sedans (cars) and minivans available for use. Sedans hold four or five, and minivans can hold up to seven passengers (including the driver).

There are three things you need to do to become sedan/minivan certified to drive for DOC activities:

  1. submit an office or department-sponsored (ie. DOC-sponsored) Driver Application to Driver Safety (including a copy of your driver’s license). See Julie Bell for the application.
  2. complete an online Defensive Driver course, and
  3. get your sedan/minivan DOC driver card ONLY IF you do not plan on becoming van or bus certified (if you do plan on becoming bus or van certified, complete those requirements before getting your driver card).

Start at the Outdoor Programs Business Office in 119 Robinson Hall. The Reservations Coordinator there (Julie) has copies of the Driver Application and she’ll help you fill it out and let you use the photocopier to make a copy of your license. Julie will then send your paperwork to Driver Safety to get the process started.

When your Driver Application is submitted to Driver Safety, they will request a Motor Vehicle Report from the state in which your driver’s license was issued. They’ll check to make sure your driving record is (reasonably) clean. Once your Motor Vehicle Report has cleared, Driver Safety will also check with the Dean’s Office to make sure you are in good standing with the College. This can all take a few weeks, depending on your state. When Driver Safety finishes checking your record they’ll blitz you and tell you to take an online Defensive Driver’s course.

Driver Safety keeps records of student drivers online and available to all offices, but for DOC activities students need to be able to pass vehicles off to other students in the field where they can’t check the Driver Safety list to make sure they’re giving the vehicle to someone authorized to use it. So the DOC has its own system of keeping track of drivers: driver cards. These are cards issued by the Outdoor Programs Office which says that this student is approved to drive College vehicles for DOC activities. These cards can be checked in the field. So the last step to drive vehicles for the Dartmouth Outing Club is to stop back and see Julie in 119 Robinson — she will check that you are on the Driver Safety list and then issue you a driver card.

Van Certification

Many DOC trips and activities will require a vehicle larger than a sedan or minivan. In addition to microbusses (see below), the College has sprinter vans (diesel vans which hold ten passengers).

Students must get their sedan/minivan certification before they can get their van certification. Once students have their sedan/minivan certification, the only thing they need to do to become van certified is to take a van road test. To take a van road test, contact Driver Safety (driver.safety@dartmouth.edu or by phone at (603) 646-9876) to arrange a time. There’s a fee for the test, but the DOC will cover it for you (see Julie for the form to give to Driver Safety).

Once you’ve completed your van test, head back to see Julie to get issued a van-approved driver card.

Microbus Certification

There are more steps to get microbus certified, but microbusses can hold up to fifteen people so they are more useful for trips and activities than vans or minivans which can only hold seven or eight people. Microbusses are like short school busses.

Students must get their sedan/minivan certification before they can get their microbus certification. To get your microbus certification, you need to do two things:

  1. Sign a statement of good health with Driver Safety
  2. Take your road test

To sign your statement of good health, contact Driver Safety (driver.safety@dartmouth.edu or by phone at (603) 646-9876). They'll give you the information you need.

To take a bus road test, contact Driver Safety (driver.safety@dartmouth.edu or by phone at (603) 646-9876) to arrange a time. There’s a fee for this too, but the DOC will cover it for you (see Julie for the form to give to Driver Safety).

When you’ve completed these steps, stop by the Outdoor Programs Business Office to pick up your microbus driver card from Julie.

Loss of Certification

Your DOC driver card has an expiration date on it, the same date as your state-issued driver’s license expires. Usually by the time your driver card expires, you’ll have your new driver’s license. Bring your new driver’s license to Julie in 119 Robinson Hall and she will issue you a new DOC driver card.

You can also lose your driver certification from Driver Safety — by getting into an accident or getting moving violations (like speeding tickets, warnings, etc.), or a few other bad things we really shouldn’t have to tell you not to do. If your driver certification is revoked by Driver Safety, you will not be able to drive vehicles for the Dartmouth Outing Club or any other office or department on campus. An appeals process is available if you need to challenge the revocation of your certification (you would appeal to Driver Safety, not to the DOC).

Use of Personal Vehicles

In order for students to use non-College vehicles for College activities, they must be College-approved drivers (at least sedan/minivan certified) and they must file an Owner Approval Form with Driver Safety for the vehicle to be driven (they must register their vehicle with the college). The legal owner of the vehicle must consent to the use of their vehicle for College activities (so if you’re driving a car registered in your parent’s name, they’ll have to sign the Owner Approval Form). You can get the form from Julie in 119 Robinson Hall and she will help you fill it out.

If you want to use your own car on a DOC trip, you have to be an approved driver and you have to file the form.

 

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