Van Use & Defensive Driving for SNS Faculty & Staff

This page is for SNS Faculty & Staff needing information on van driving for SNS.



You must read this entire web page.

SNS vans are California State vehicles. There are strict guidelines that must be followed when using a State vehicle. Below you will find guidelines for reserving, driving, and operation of the vans, as well as the correct forms needed for student participation.

The use of SNS State vans is restricted to SNS faculty, staff, and designated personnel under direct supervision of the Division Chair. They are to be used only for official state business. Under no circumstances are State vehicles to be used for personal transportation.

In general, SNS vans will only be available for SNS class activity use. Please communicate your class requests early, and schedule changes promptly, so we have time to work through any potential conflicts.

Before you will be permitted to drive a van, all van drivers must have a current approved driving status through Driving on University Business, and be on file with the SNS driving certification coordinator, who can be reached at:

Keys will not be released to drivers unless all the correct driver paperwork is complete. We will update drivers directly about forms and other requirements.

Defensive driver eligibility

Step 1:

Submit all the required paperwork (Volunteer Form not needed for staff and faculty) per the instructions on the Driving on University Business (DUB) web page.

Where applicable, please include the SNS "Dept ID": 1027.

Send forms and documents as PDF attachments to :

Step 2:

Driving on University Business will email you a link to the DGS Defensive Driving course. Upon completion of the course, print your completion certificate, sign, and either turn in to the plastic file inbox marked "Van Driver Forms" outside room S314 (SNS department office), Chapman Science Academic Center (bldg. 53), or email it as a pdf attachment to

All paperwork will be processed as quickly as possible.  Please submit paperwork early in the semester to ensure driving privileges.

How to reserve a van

As soon as an instructor knows their field trip schedule, contact the tech for your class to reserve a van.

Reservations must include:

  • Name of class, or event.
  • Instructor’s name(s).
  • Number of vans needed.
  • Trip destination.
  • Pick up and return dates and times.

Notify the tech for your class of any cancellation or any change in van use schedule as soon as possible so that the van(s) will officially be available for use by others.

Van driver responsibilities

Paperwork in vans

  • Fill out the Daily Operator's Checklist before you leave. For safe usage, all vehicle functions and safety features including: brakes, lights, tire pressure, horn, gas, oil, First-Aid kit, and fire extinguisher should be checked before leaving on your trip.
  • Fill out the Monthly Travel Log (STD 273) each time you drive a van. You must enter: the date; initial and final odometer readings; total trip miles; origin and destination; time; and print your full name (not your initials or signature). Two lines on the log should be used for each trip - one for departure and one for return.


  • Seat belts and shoulder harnesses must be worn at all times when driving or riding in SNS vans.
  • If you will be traveling to a remote location, it is advisable to take a radio or cellular phone along in case of emergency.
  • Remember: off-road travel in SNS vans is strictly prohibited!
  • If you have an emergency, you will need to contact your Instructional Support Tech and the Science Operations Coordinator (Margaret Geissler, 831-582-4213).

Safety Concern Report


Each van has a State gas card attached to the key chain. Each van must be refueled with its own gas card; if you have multiple vans out on a field trip, you must use each van's designated gas card for fuel. A State gas card cannot be used to fill up a private vehicle. Fill the van with gas when the fuel gauge is at or below half full. To see how to use the gas card, click here.

  • Gas stations such as Chevron, Exxon, Citgo, Mobil, Shell, Texaco accept the gas card. Make sure that the card is accepted and authorized before you pump the gas! Authorization procedure is here.
  • Fill the van with regular (87 octane) unleaded gas at self-service pumps. The purchase of premium grade (89 or 92 octane) unleaded gasoline is prohibited.
  • No full service is allowed.


  • Check the fuel gauge (and fill if necessary), and complete the Daily Operator's Checklist and Monthly Travel Log.
  • Park the vans in the Building 13 parking lot in their designated spaces.
  • Return the keys to the key drop box located outside the east entrance to the Chapman building (53), unless specifically instructed otherwise by your support tech.
  • Return vans and keys at the scheduled date and time as the next user may be waiting for the vans. Inform your Instructional Support Technician immediately if you are returning late.
  • Clean up after the trip, removing all trash, personal belongings, and field equipment.

Instructor Responsibilities


  • Verify that you and anyone else operating a State vehicle has completed the Defensive Driver training and that all paperwork has been filed and is up to date (not expired).
  • Your Instructional Support Technician, Van Coordinator, or Driving Certification Coordinator will contact you regarding field trips and driver eligibility.


  • Confirm that both the Daily Operator's Checklist and Monthly Travel Log are filled out legibly and completely.


  • Return the keys to the key drop box located outside the east entrance to the Chapman building (53), unless specifically instructed otherwise by your support tech.


  • Check fuel levels in all vehicles used and make sure that the tanks are more than half full upon return.
  • If student drivers have not refueled a vehicle and the tank is half full or less, it is the instructor’s responsibility to get gas before another class uses the van.
  • If gas was purchased during your trip, make sure that the receipt has been put into the case with the gas card.

In case of breakdown or accident

During normal business hours, contact your Instructional Support Tech and the Science Operations Coordinator (Margaret Geissler, 831-582-4213) immediately for instructions. State vehicles have to be repaired at State-approved service stations. If you have a van repaired at a garage without approval, you will not be reimbursed for the expense.

  • For Enterprise Fleet leased vehicles (#156, 157, 158; Ford Transit): To obtain Roadside Assistance 24 hours a day, call 1-800-450-2500 and select option 4. The Enterprise Roadside Assistance Program provides prompt mechanical first aid, towing, battery service, wheel change, gasoline delivery and lock-out service for your company vehicle.
  • For Department-owned vehicles (#36, Ford Econoline): call the National Automobile Club 24-hour roadside service number 1-800-600-6065. They can provide emergency road assistance and if necessary, towing to the nearest state-approved garage.


  • If you are involved in an accident, remain calm.
  • Call the local police or California Highway Patrol to the scene of the accident. Contact the Van Coordinator and the Science Operations Coordinator (Margaret Geissler, 831-582-4213) as soon as possible.
  • Do not discuss fault or attempt to determine liability with the other party or representative.
  • Obtain the name, address, phone number, insurance carrier, and policy number of all people/vehicles involved. Provide them with the same.
  • If safe to do so, take photographs at the accident scene to include damages to the state vehicle, the other parties vehicle/property, etc.
  • Fill out the SNS Accident/Incident Report form, form STD 269 "Reporting of Automobile Accidents", and form STD 470 "Vehicle Accident Report". Within 2 business days, review the information on the "Vehicle Accident Report" with your supervisor/health and safety coordinator and have them sign it. The information on these forms will be transferred later to form STD 274 "State Driver Accident Review – Supervisor’s Review Form", which is to be submitted to several State agencies within 2 business days after the accident.

SNS Accident/Incident Report form

Information binders in the van

In each van, there is a binder containing:

  • State Vehicle Accident Report forms (STD. Form 269, 270, 274) and SNS Accident/Incident Report forms
  • Emergency contact numbers
  • State Motor Vehicle Liability Self-Insurance Letters
  • Details on how to use the gas card and a list of participating gas stations

Fort Ord back country access

Each van is equiped with a current Fort Ord back country pass. The passes are taped on the sun visor (sun shade) on the driver’s side in each van. Flip the visor down when in the backcountry, and the pass will be visible from outside. Please do NOT remove this pass, and inform BLM regarding the field trip before entering. The pass authorizes driving on the following roads:

  • Eucalyptus Road
  • Parker Flats Road
  • Parker Flats Cutoff Road
  • Hennekin’s Ranch Road
  • Watkins Gate Road (east and west)
  • Barloy Canyon Road (north and south)
  • BLM Project Office and Parking Area

For any roads or areas not listed above, the BLM requires you to contact its office at 394-8314 for permission.

Please drive slowly and carefully when in the back country.