Safety in Student Transportation

April 07, 2011

A Resource Guide for Colleges and Universities

Ian McGregor, Ph.D.
McGregor & Associates

Campus Recreation departments routinely have to make travel decisions weighing factors such as risk, convenience, and cost. While the lowest risk option (and best case scenario) involves the use of buses, trains and planes, this is clearly the costliest option, and few Sport Clubs can afford these modes of transport. Hence the use of vans and private vehicles becomes the only real alternative.

A new transportation resource ‘Safety in Student Transportation’ is the outcome of a joint project of the American Council on Education (ACE), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and United Educators Insurance (UE). This resource guide looks at transportation issues from all angles, and is a must read for those Campus Recreation professionals directly or indirectly involved in overseeing transportation. While the manual addresses a wide range of transportation issues, author Ann H. Franke zeros in on the two most common causes of vehicle accidents:

  1. Poor vehicle maintenance or
  2. Driver error
    (or both)

From a policy perspective, focusing on these two areas becomes critical. On the issue of vehicle maintenance, the author weighs the advantages of van rentals vs. motor pool/ department owned vehicles, and also discusses the use of tracking devices to monitor the condition of vehicles (also search for the article on the ‘CarChip’ program).

A significant section of the manual is devoted to driver error — which typically results from inexperience, fatigue, speeding, eating/drinking/radio, lack of seat belt use (and enforcement), and not being used to driving big vans or towing trailers.

  • Hence the author focuses on critical driver-related policies:
  • Drivers License and/or commercial license requirements
  • Minimum driving experience and/or minimum # years driving
  • Checking DMV records
  • Driver training
  • Establishing Limits: driver’s age; distance traveled; hours traveled; # passengers
  • Conditions for use of personal vehicles (e.g. insurance minimums)

To access this important transportation resource, go to


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