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Vehicle Policy

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Harvard Forest has several vehicles for the use of Harvard Forest and Harvard University employees, collaborators and affiliates. Any questions about using vehicles should be addressed to Lucas (978-756-6190 or lggriff@fas.harvard.edu) or Edythe Ellin, Director of Administration (978-724-3302, ext. 6124 or ellin@fas.harvard.edu).

Who May Drive Harvard Forest Vehicles: All drivers must:

  1. Be Harvard University employees, collaborators or affiliates
  2. Have a current, valid driver's license recognized by Massachusetts
  3. Complete the Harvard Forest Authorized Driver registration process
  4. Complete the defensive driving training as directed by facilities staff
  5. Be approved by Harvard University Insurance which requires a clean driving record, at least 2 years experience driving, and at least 18 years old

Researchers who are not employed by Harvard University may be given permission to use Harvard Forest vehicles if s/he:

  1. Makes prior arrangements with the administrative staff (hfvisit@fas.harvard.edu)
  2. Provides a Certificate of Insurance from their employer's insurance agency made out to "The President and Fellows of Harvard College"
  3. Has a current, valid driver's license recognized by Massachusetts
  4. Completes the Harvard Forest Authorized Driver registration process
  5. Completes the defensive driving training as directed by facilities staff
  6. Is approved by Harvard University Insurance which requires a clean driving record, at least 2 years experience driving, and at least 18 years old

Who May be Passengers in Harvard Forest Vehicles:

Only Harvard University employees, research collaborators, or visiting researchers may ride in Harvard Forest vehicles. Family and friends of the above mentioned authorized drivers are not covered by our insurance and should not be riding in Harvard Forest vehicles.

Major Safety Rules While Operating a Harvard Forest Vehicle:

  1. Seat belt must be worn at all times per MA law and Harvard University Insurance
  2. Passengers may not be transported in the back of pickup trucks
  3. No transportation of alcohol
  4. Drivers and passengers cannot consume any alcohol for 12 hours prior to driving
  5. No smoking in the vehicle
  6. Keep keys with you and lock vehicle

Driver Rules: The facilities staff will review the Harvard Forest Driving Rules during driver's training. There is a copy in every Harvard Forest owned vehicle. These rules are to be adhered to at all times while driving Harvard Forest vehicles. Failure to adhere to these rules may be grounds for loss of driving privileges.

Insurance and Driver Liability: Harvard University has automobile insurance that covers Harvard University employees driving or riding in a Harvard Forest vehicle if it is in an accident. If the driver is at fault in causing the accident, s/he may be required to pay up to $500 as a deductible towards damages. The individual driver is always liable for his/her citations for moving or parking violations.

Sign Out Procedure and Vehicle Log Book: Harvard Forest maintains a sign out calendar (located in the Harvard Forest Copier Room, Shaler Hall) for reserving vehicles. The reservation system must be followed to ensure that vehicle users can expect a pre-reserved vehicle to be available. All vehicles have driver/mileage logbooks - all trips must be recorded in this log (date out, date in, mileage out, mileage in, driver, destination).

Reporting Auto (or any other type of) Accidents: If you are in any type of accident, first contact the police, and make sure everyone is safe. You must then let the facilities staff or Director of Administration know of the accident as soon as possible. The driver of the vehicle and all passengers must fill out an Automobile Loss Notice and if relevant, an (personal injury) Accident Report (yellow form) which is in every vehicle and the Harvard Forest mailroom, as soon as possible and return it to the Director of Administration so the insurance paperwork can be processed.

Overnight Vehicle Use: In general, Harvard University does not allow Harvard Forest vehicles to be taken on overnight trips.  However, they have been willing to authorize specific individuals or particular trips with prior notice.  An Overnight Vehicle Use Request Form, which is in the Harvard Forest mailroom, must be filled out and given to the Director of Aministration ideally 48 hours in advance to allow time to contact Insurance.

Summer Students: Summer students are allowed to drive Harvard Forest vehicles for research purposes only and only when required for their project. In these cases, the Principle Investigator must sign off on student vehicle use prior to having a student take a vehicle out. Additional policies regarding vehicle use by participants in the Summer Student Research Program are distributed during the program orientation.

Using Personal Vehicles for Harvard Forest Business Purposes: It is to the employee's benefit to use Harvard Forest vehicles for all business purposes. If an employee uses a personal vehicle for Harvard University business and has an accident, Harvard Forest and Harvard University will not pay for damages to the employee's vehicle. The Forest only pays reimbursement for mileage.