Memorandum 28a – Vehicle Operator Policy

Reviewed and approved May 2017


This policy establishes standards for the appropriate and safe use of NU vehicles resulting in

  1. Reducing the cost and frequency of motor vehicle accidents;
  2. Obtaining a reasonable standard of control over fleet;
  3. Requiring training as needed; and
  4. Minimizing 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.

Definition of “NU vehicle”

  1. Vehicle: all motor vehicles and equipment which are required to be registered by the State of Vermont.
  2. NU vehicle: any vehicle that is part of the transportation or maintenance fleet whether owned by the University or leased or rented by the Transportation Officer as a supplement to the fleet. Leased or rented vehicles other than defined above are not considered part of the fleet.
  3. Authorized Driver: a member of the Community (student, faculty, or staff) who satisfies the Driver Qualifications and has been authorized to drive an NU vehicle for university business.


This policy establishes standards for the appropriate use of NU vehicles 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.


Transportation Officer

  1. Obtain Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) and responsible for re-checks as needed.
  2. Maintain Approved Driver Listings.
  3. Responsible for oversight of any driver training 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.


  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.


  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 an NU vehicle for university business. See Driver Qualification.

Driving Regulations

Use of Vehicles

Only properly authorized employees and students may operate NU vehicles. 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 an NU vehicle be revoked at any time at the discretion of Norwich University including, but not limited to, accident or violation experience, falsification of records, unsafe driving, poor decision-making while driving or any failure to comply with these regulations.

Use of Personally-owned Vehicles

For personally owned vehicles being used for University business, it is the personal obligation of the owner of such vehicle, 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 NU 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. A background check of each driver will review the driving experience information on a personal Motor Vehicle Record (MVR).
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. Approval is for one academic year only. 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.

The requirements for training and review of MVR’s is as follows:

Drivers of any NU vehicle:

  • Faculty/Staff: initial safety training. Initial review of MVR.
  • Students: initial safety training. Annual review of MVR.

The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) or Transportation Officer may require additional safety training and/or obtain an updated MVR as deemed prudent. Exceptions to completing required driver safety programs may be granted only by the CAO or the Transportation Officer.

Upon successful completion of required training and prior to approving an individual to drive, the MVR will be reviewed. 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).

A disqualified driver may reapply for authorization after one year.

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 2149

Exhibit A

Motor Vehicle Records Program

Persons with a Motor Vehicle Record that includes any of the following will not be permitted to operate an NU vehicle:

  • 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.
  • Violation points that, upon review and judgment by the Transportation Officer and/or the CAO, conclude that the application should be denied or previously issued approval should be revoked.

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.
  • Falsification of records, or any repeated failure to comply with these regulations.
  • Historic driving experience will be taken into consideration.
  • Failure to inform the Transportation Officer of any points issued by authorities which will be reflected in the driver’s MVR.

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 and banned/illegal substances 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 STRICTLY 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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