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Guidance for Implementation of Vehicle Use Policy

Who does the Policy apply to?

The Policy applies to ALL employees (including faculty), volunteers, and students.  The Policy will become part of the Student Handbook. 

What does the Policy cover?

This policy governs use of university vehicles.  It also covers personal and rental vehicles used for: 

1.   university business or

2.   "university-related activities." 

The policy gives examples of university business and university-related activities.  Commuting to work does not count as university business. 

What does the Policy do?

The policy provides some common-sense safety standards.  It has information about insurance and liability coverage.   It also creates new documentary requirements and imposes some other obligations: 

New Obligations for University Vehicles:

1.   Drivers must be authorized in order to drive any university vehicle.  This requires completion and submission of an authorization form to supervisors or department heads.  We have provided two standard Driver Authorization Forms, one for use by employees or volunteers and the other by students. 

2.   Effective August 15, 2009, in order to drive any van -- whether a university vehicle or one personally owned or rented -- on university business  or for a university-related activity ALL employees must complete the safety course offered by W & M Police.  We are arranging to have additional courses scheduled to accommodate demand.  Individual departments are responsible for the training fee of $15.00 per person.  If an employee has significant experience driving these or similar vehicles, supervisors can exempt them from the procedure; this should be documented by a short note placed in the employee's personnel file referencing the policy.

New Obligations for Personally Owned Vehicles:

1.   Personally-owned vehicles may be used for university business or university-related activities only if the driver is covered by a valid insurance policy. 

2.   Employees and students must complete an authorization form to use their personal vehicles for university business or a university-related activity if they (1) are using a personal vehicle for any trip for which reimbursement is sought or (2) will be transporting other students or employees.   

New Obligations for Renting Vehicles:

1.    Employees are encouraged under State travel regulations to use rental vehicles in many circumstances. 

2.    Employees, students, and volunteers must complete an authorization form to use a rental vehicle for university business or a university-related activity if they (1) will seek reimbursement from the College for the trip or (2) will be transporting other students or employees.  

I don't drive university vans. Do I need to complete a form?

Unless you think you will never drive another employee or a student on business (remember that commuting doesn't count) or for a university-related activity, it probably makes sense to become an authorized driver.

How do I know whether I need to make students sign a form?

A Driver Authorization Form is always required to give students access to university vehicles.  For use of personal vehicles, it is required only where (a) the university is approving, organizing, or funding the trip, and (b) the student is driving other students.  Departments are free to require the form in other situations; the Policy establishes minimum requirements. 

Does the policy cover field trips?

Yes, required academic field trips supervised by university faculty or staff are "university-related activities."  This means (for example) that if a student is driving other student(s) in his or her car, the driving student must complete a driver authorization form prior to doing so.  The vehicle use policy addresses only certain transportation elements of field trips; a broader field trip policy is currently under development. 

How do I make sure my staff or students sign a form when they need to?

We recognize that in many cases involving personal vehicles, it is practically impossible for a faculty member or supervisor to  be sure that, for example, each student who will be driving another student on a field trip has completed the form.  The policy makes clear that obligation to complete the form is the driver's, not the faculty member's or supervisor's.  What you are expected to do is make reasonable efforts to promote awareness of the policy among your staff or students. 

What if a student or employee discloses a moving violation or other driving history?

When driving history raises significant doubt as to a person's ability to drive safely, driver authorization should be declined.  In each unit, this decision is made by an individual(s) designated for this responsibility by the unit head.

The decision will be determined based on all information provided, including

  • The total number of moving violations and accidents
  • The severity and circumstances of the violations or accidents, and
  • How long ago they occurred.

The University's Risk Manager may be consulted in helping to make this determination.  Generally, authorization will be withheld if a driver's history indicates:

1.   A DUI or DWI violation

2.   2 or more moving violations in the last 12 months or

3.   An accident for which the employee, student or volunteer was at fault in the last 24 months.

These guidelines do not cover all instances in which authorization should be denied; for example, authorization should also be withheld for an employee who has had five moving violations in the past 24 months, even if only one of them was in the past 12 months. On the other hand, some situations covered by the above guidelines would not necessarily merit denial of authorization - such as, for example, a driver for whom the only item of concern is a fender-bender that occurred 18 months prior. 

Do authorization forms need to be updated?

A driver only needs to sign a form once.  There is an obligation on the part of the driver, however, to report changes in the information provided in the form to the relevant supervisor or department. Failure to report changes may result in disciplinary action and/or the driver may lose their privilege to operate a university or rental vehicle.

Where do I go with questions? 

Kristen Fagan, the university's Risk Manager, can be contacted at 221-2742 or [[kdfaga,by email]].

 

Last updated 7/6/09.