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The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Drake to require safety training for drivers of golf carts, utility vehicles

Photo+by+Olivia+Klassen+%7C+Assistant+Photography+Editor
Photo by Olivia Klassen | Assistant Photography Editor

Next semester, anyone that drives a golf cart or utility vehicle will be required to complete both an in-person safety training and an annual online training module before they can operate the vehicle on campus. 

The Risk and Insurance Office, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, released an article in the OnCampus newsletter on March 29 that outlined the details of a new campus vehicle safety program.

“This program will make navigating campus safer for drivers and pedestrians, while helping to ensure drivers are equipped with the information they need to operate these vehicles effectively,” the newsletter said. 

Along with the newly-required training and videos, the other important addition to the safety policy included the creation of a “Fleet Route” map, according to Drake Environmental Health and Safety director Chris Nickell.

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Nickell said he hoped this map would encourage drivers to use his department’s preferred and safest routes of travel across campus.

“For example, driving carts on grass frequently or other areas with narrower sidewalks… can lead to damage of the grounds and extra work for our Grounds Crew,” Nickell said in an email. “While this is sometimes required to carry out job tasks, it shouldn’t be the default norm.”

According to Nickell, this safety policy is not completely new. He said Drake has had a golf cart safety policy since 2010, but it needed revamping.

“This current policy will better articulate what is required and link back to other relevant policies,” Nickell said in an email.

According to Kelly Foster, a business and insurance manager at Drake, there are currently 35 golf carts and utility vehicles on campus. 

Foster said in an email that the carts are assigned across several organizations, including Facilities Planning and Management, Athletics, Public Safety and Information Technology Services and Postal Operations. Additionally, some campus groups rent vehicles from outside vendors.

“Many people may not have driven a golf cart before and might not know the dangers associated,” Foster said. “Our hope is to make awareness to faculty, staff and students that golf carts can be dangerous if not driven appropriately.”

First-year student Aubrey Williams, a member of the Student Alumni Association (SAA), said she is “definitely a proponent” for the new training policies.

“One time, we were driving around campus to promote the SAA All-in fundraiser, and we unknowingly exceeded the capacity limit of two people,” Williams said. “We were actually stopped by a campus safety officer.”

Williams said the experience made her and her fellow SAA members feel terrible, even though they weren’t aware of the rules before they were reprimanded by Public Safety.

“Knowing the rules and guidelines of driving a golf cart beforehand definitely would have prevented the whole incident from happening,” she said.

Foster said that, in the coming weeks, all previously-registered drivers will receive an email from durisk@drake.edu which will provide the information on how to gain access to the online training module.

She encouraged anyone who wants to use a golf cart on campus that is not already registered to submit an application to the Risk and Insurance Office before the end of the semester.

“We have many people visiting and walking on our campus on a daily basis, and… everyone’s safety is our priority,” Foster said.

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