Memorandum 28a – Vehicle Operator Policy

Revised September 2012

Purpose

This policy is intended to assure that all University drivers drive safely. (For the purpose of these regulations, the definition of a vehicle shall include all motor vehicles and equipment which are required to be registered by the State of Vermont.)

Policy

This policy establishes standards for appropriate use of Norwich University-owned, leased, or rented vehicles (or personal vehicles being used for university related business) designed to

  1. Reduce the cost and frequency of motor vehicle accidents.
  2. Obtain a reasonable standard of control over fleet.
  3. Require training as needed.
  4. Minimize the risk to Norwich University for negligent entrustment and inadequate supervision by ensuring that drivers are validly licensed and trained, and that driving histories are satisfactory.

Responsibility

Transportation Officer

  1. Obtain Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) & responsible for re-checks on an annual basis, processed through HR.
  2. Maintain Approved Driver Listings.
  3. Responsible for oversight of any driver training review programs that may be implemented.
  4. Track vehicle accidents and maintain statistics.
  5. Driver(s) must have a written request form signed 10 days prior to the date of usage. It is not guaranteed that MVR results will be received within this time period.

Department:

  1. Notify drivers of the terms and conditions of this program.
  2. Insure that only duly authorized drivers operate a. vehicle covered under this Norwich University Vehicle Operator Policy.
  3. Department heads must recommend, vouch for and provide character reference for every student requested to be given driving privileges.
  4. Support and enforce the provisions of this and/or subsequent driver programs.

NOTE: it may take several weeks to process student driver applications. Plan accordingly.

Driver:

  1. Assume personal responsibility that the vehicle is in proper operating condition, and clear of snow and ice (in winter months) and that visibility is unrestricted.
  2. At all times obey the laws of the road and abide by the provisions within this program.
  3. Assure all passengers adhere to all safety rules.

Authorized Driver

A member of the Community (student, faculty, or staff) who has been authorized to drive a Norwich University-owned, rented, leased, or personal vehicle for university business. See Driver Qualification.

Driving Regulations

Use of Vehicles

Only properly authorized employees and students may operate Norwich University-owned, leased or rented vehicles, or personally-owned vehicles for official university business. All employees and student drivers must be named on the Norwich University Approved Driver lists maintained by the Transportation Officer and must complete the Driver Safety Training Program. Students and employees are subject to any Norwich University driver policy, which may be in force or subsequently issued. Driving privileges for operating university vehicles (owned, leased, rented or personally owned being used for university related business) may be revoked at any time at the discretion of Norwich University including because of accident or violation experience, falsification of records, or any repeated failure to comply with these regulations.

Note:
For personally owned vehicles, it is the personal obligation of the owner of such vehicle, when used for business travel and for the protection of the traveler and any passengers, to carry auto liability insurance of not less than $300,000 per occurrence (Norwich insurance does not extend to the use of personally owned vehicles) and to assure that such personally owned vehicles are in proper working order and are current with state registrations and safety inspections in the state where registered.

Driver Qualification

All drivers of any vehicle covered by this vehicle operator policy shall at all times hold a valid United States, US military or Canadian driver’s license. Such drivers shall successfully complete all required driver safety programs. Exceptions to completing required driver safety programs may be granted only by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Student drivers will be a minimum of 20 years of age with at least two years of previous driving experience. Each student proposed to be an authorized driver must be recommended, and vouched for, by a department head. The total number of students approved to drive Norwich University vehicles shall be fewer than 40 per year and shall be strictly controlled by the Transportation Officer. Approval is for one academic year only. Department heads should carefully consider a student’s qualifications before recommending him/her as an authorized driver.

Any faculty or staff interested in becoming an authorized driver should contact the Transportation Officer. All student applications must be initiated by a department head who will vouch for the student.

HR, in conjunction with the Transportation Officer, will review the driving experience information on a personal Motor Vehicle Record (MVR). Individuals without suspension or revocation, or violations totaling 4 points or fewer within the prior 24 months, will be considered approved to operate a university-owned, leased, rented or personal vehicle on university business. In order to assure consistency, violations and points accrued from states other than Vermont will be converted to Vermont’s point assessment system. See Exhibit A (below) for criteria.

Driver Disqualification

It is the responsibility of each approved driver to notify the Transportation Officer as well as the driver’s supervisor, or program director, if motor vehicle infractions are assessed to the approved driver’s motor vehicle record (MVR) between the University’s annual re-checks of MVR’s. Students must make such notification upon receiving 5 or more points between annual reviews, and faculty/staff must make such notification upon receiving 10 or more points between annual reviews. In such cases, student driving authorization will be immediately revoked while, with faculty and staff, the Transportation Office will consult with the appropriate Cabinet member. Approved drivers subsequently found, during the annual MVR review process, to not meet the above requirements will be notified by the Transportation Officer that they have been removed from the approved drivers list. These drivers will remain disqualified for a period of one (1) year from date of conviction or license reinstatement. Drivers removed from the list of qualified drivers will not be permitted to drive a university-owned, leased, rented, or personal vehicle on university business. Individuals whose position is dependent upon approved driver status will be subject to personnel action administered by Human Resources.

A disqualified driver may reapply for authorization after the one year period and after successfully completing a state approved point reduction program. Contact the Norwich University Transportation Officer for re-authorization information.

Vehicle Operation

  • Vehicle keys will be issued only during normal business hours so the responsible person can complete required paperwork and, if required, consult with the Transportation Officer. Vehicle keys will be issued to authorized students ONLY with advance authorization sent by the appropriate department head to the Transportation Officer.
  • Drive with diligence at all times, following State of Vermont regulations or regulations for the state within which you are traveling.
  • The number of passengers may not exceed the number of seat belts. All occupants of the vehicle are required to wear lap/shoulder seat belts.
  • Use turn signals.
  • Exercise extra caution when backing up vehicle.
  • Use headlights 1/2 hour before sunset and after sunrise and during periods of reduced visibility. (i.e., rain, fog, snow, etc.)
  • Reduce speed according to weather and road conditions.
  • Turn off the ignition, remove key and lock the vehicle when unattended.
  • When traveling on unfamiliar roads, acquaint yourself thoroughly with routing/road map prior to departure.
  • Allow plenty of time for contingencies when planning the time to arrive at your destination thereby avoiding the need for speeding.
  • The driver assumes all responsibility for any fines resulting from traffic or parking violations arising out of the use of a university vehicle.
  • Smoking is not permitted in Norwich University vehicles.
  • DO NOT drive while under the influence of controlled substances such as alcohol, drugs, or medications that could adversely affect driving performance.
  • The use of alcoholic beverages and the use/transportation of illegal/banned substances are STRICLTY PROHIBITED in any vehicle owned, rented, leased, chartered or used by Norwich University at any time.
  • DO NOT pick up hitchhikers or unauthorized passengers.
  • DO NOT use cell phones, any type of earphone equipment while driving.
  • Drivers may not eat while driving if this will prove distracting in any way.
  • If you feel that conditions are unsafe, DO NOT DRIVE. The final decision rests with the driver.

Accident Reporting

At the scene of an accident; regardless of the severity:

  • Call 911 if there are injuries.
  • If no injuries, call the police and obtain the name of the investigating officer.
  • Obtain all information for the Accident Investigation form provided with the vehicle registration.
  • Make no statement that would assume any obligation or admit liability.
  • Provide the other party with insurance information contained in the vehicle, as well as your name, address and telephone number.
  • State accident report filings vary and must be submitted accordingly. Ask the investigating officer for details.
  • As soon as practical, contact your immediate supervisor AND Norwich University Security at 802-485-2525, to report the accident. Norwich University Security will contact appropriate Norwich University officials as required.

See Contact below for questions concerning:

  • Vehicle Accidents
  • Driver Policy/Exceptions
  • On & Off Highway Equipment
  • Insurance
  • Vehicle Registrations
  • All other matters concerning this Vehicle Operators’ Policy

Contact Offices

  • Norwich University Transportation Officer at x 2153

Exhibit A

Motor Vehicle Records Program

Persons with a Motor Vehicle Record that includes any of the following will not be permitted to operate their own vehicle or a Norwich University vehicle for University business:

  • Accumulated violation points totaling five (5) or more within a rolling 24-month period. (Note: violation points accrued from states other than Vermont will be converted to Vermont’s point assessment system).
  • License suspension or revocation within the 24-month period.
  • At-fault vehicular accidents resulting in damage to a university vehicle in excess of $2,000 (bodily injury or property damage).
  • Manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.

Other infractions that will preclude persons from operating their own vehicle or a Norwich University vehicle for University business:

  • Conviction of a felony in which a motor vehicle is used.
  • Non-completion of the university-sponsored Driver Safety Review Program.
  • Failure to comply with the Norwich University Policy on Alcohol and Illicit Drugs.
  • Falsification of records, or any repeated failure to comply with these regulations.
  • Historic driving experience will be taken into consideration.

Driver Checklist for University-owned Vehicles

  1. Vehicle registration card.
  2. Insurance identification card.
  3. Instructions for emergency repairs.
  4. Instructions for collisions, including campus contact numbers.
  5. Collision report form and pencil or pen.
  6. Cellular telephone is recommended.
  7. Jack and spare tire.
  8. Flashlight.
  9. Fire extinguisher.
  10. First aid kit.
  11. Triangle reflectors.
  12. Disposable camera.
  13. Snow brush and ice scraper.
  14. Trip leaders should carry enough cash or credit to resolve problems that arise. Trip leaders will present all receipts for these problems to the Norwich University official coordinating the trip.

Driver Guidelines

Individuals certified by Norwich University as an official Norwich University motor vehicle operator (driver) must adhere to the following guidelines. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in the immediate revocation of driver status.

  1. All drivers and passengers must use lap/shoulder belts.
  2. Drivers are not permitted to use cell phones or any type of earphone equipment while driving.
  3. Drivers may not eat while driving if this will prove distracting in any way.
  4. Smoking is not permitted in Norwich University vehicles.
  5. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in Norwich University vehicles.
  6. For road trips greater than 50 miles (one way), a travel route(s) will be planned in advance.
  7. Each driver must plan his/her own trip route(s) and coordinate rendezvoused/rest points with the other driver(s).
  8. Traffic and parking tickets are the responsibility of the driver, not the university.
  9. Drivers must allot generous amount of time for travel, in order to avoid the need for vehicle speeds in excess of the posted speed limits.

The following are prohibited:

  1. Unauthorized drivers.
  2. Hitchhikers
  3. Family members or other people not involved with the activity.
  4. The use of alcoholic beverages and the use/transportation of illegal/banned substances are STRICLTY PROHIBITED in any vehicle owned by, rented by, leased by, chartered by, in the custody of Norwich University at any time. Vehicle operators (drivers) and passengers are responsible for ensuring that no alcohol is carried onto any vehicle under their control. This includes, but is not limited to, kegs, cases, cans, bottles, coolers, etc.

    Drivers must report all incidents, including attempts to bring alcohol onto university vehicles, to the Transportation Officer who will, in turn, report the incident to the department head, supervisor, activity coordinator, Office of the Commandant and/or Dean of Students as appropriate.

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