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Vehicle Use Policy

Introduction
Definitions
General Rules
Univeristy-Owned/Leased Vehicles
Personal Use of University Owned Vehicles
Non-University Owned Vehicles
 
Introduction:

This policy and procedure document addresses the proper use of vehicles in the conduct of University business and activities. The University expects vehicles to be used safely and in accordance with appropriate laws, codes and ordinances at all times. The Controller’s Office maintains the records on all University vehicles and authorized drivers. It is responsible for the creation and monitoring of these policies. Questions regarding the procedures can be directed to the Controller’s Office at extension 6005.


Definitions:

Authorized Drivers: No person, other than a "designated driver", may operate any University owned or rented vehicle, either on or off campus. The designated driver must be a member of the faculty, staff, administration, or student body. There are two categories of designated drivers:

  • Job Related: Those persons required to operate a vehicle or piece of equipment in performing their day-to-day jobs, as designated by the job description. (Note: Loss of designated driver status may affect employment.), and
  • Program/Function Support: Those persons who operate a vehicle in support of a department, organization or club's function, program or event. (Note: Loss of designated driver status may affect support to the organization.)

Vehicle: Vehicle is defined as any University or privately-owned car, truck, bus, van or other licensed mode of transportation which is allowed by law to be operated upon any public highway, street, road, or freeway.
 
Employee: An employee for the purposes of these procedures and policy is any person who is on one of the University payrolls (faculty, staff or student).
 
Volunteer: Any person who is providing services to the University without compensation and is acting at the specific request and direction of an authorized University employee. A volunteer also includes students participating in an approved program of service to the University or the community on behalf of the University.

University Business: Travel that is conducted with the knowledge and approval of the University for the benefit of the University.


General Rules:

Compliance with the Law: Drivers shall at all times operate vehicles in full compliance with the law and shall exercise good driving practices (e.g. defensive driving). Drivers shall also be familiar with the University's rules regarding driving and parking on-campus. Every driver should ensure that the vehicle's registration and proof of insurance are in the glove compartment and should look over the vehicle periodically to ensure that it is safe to drive (e.g. inspect the tires and headlights) and has no obvious damage (e.g. dents).
 
Compliance with University and Departmental Policy & Procedure: Use of any vehicle for University business or activities shall be in full compliance with these policy guidelines and with any individual departmental policies.

Safety: It is the responsibility of all vehicle operators to drive in a safe manner and to conform to all applicable laws and regulations. In addition, vehicle operators are responsible for the safe conduct and actions of all passengers riding in their vehicle. Vehicle operators will:

  • Obey all state and local laws applicable to the operation of motor vehicles.
  • Drive defensively, maintaining alertness, foresight, good judgment, good driving skills and courtesy at all times. Be cautious of parked vehicles and pedestrians. Take extra precautions to adapt driving to changing weather, road and traffic conditions.
  • Be knowledgeable and skilled in the operation and maintenance of the particular vehicle being used.
  • When backing up passenger vans whose view might be obstructed, walk around to visually inspect the area into which the vehicle will be traveling and back out slowly. If there is a passenger in a van or truck, they can get out to guide the vehicle operator while backing.
  • Ensure that driver and passengers are secured with a seat belt installed by the manufacturer.
  • Know what to do in the event of an accident.

Driving Record: The University reserves the right to obtain copies of employees’ driving records through the appropriate state DMV.  University departments planning to authorize staff, student or volunteer drivers must submit a copy of a valid driver's license to the Controller’s Office for a routine driving record check.   The following guidelines shall be used when designating authorized drivers. Any violation of these guidelines will be cause for review of the driving record and/or revocation of University driving privileges:

  • All designated drivers must possess a valid driver's license and must be familiar with the Rhode Island Motor Vehicle Code.  Students and employees must be 21 years of age to drive university-owned vehicles.  15-passenger van drivers must have a RI chauffeurs license or out-of-state equivalent license.  In exceptional circumstances where the driver is under the age of 21, please inform the Assistant Controller.
  • The Rhode Island laws governing activation and suspension of driving privileges will be enforced. A driver with a suspended license will not be allowed to drive a University vehicle.
  • The University’s insurance carrier annually audits the driving records of designated faculty, staff, student employees and volunteers who drive frequently in the course of their employment or on behalf of the University by requesting information on their driving records from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Drivers with multiple moving violations and more serious convictions, such as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs will not be allowed to drive a University vehicle.
    The Controller’s Office insurance department shall be notified of all actions taken as a result of supervisory discussions. The purpose of the supervisory discussion is to make the driver aware of the risks into which they place themselves, the University and the public when driving in an unsafe manner. Suspension of University driving privileges may result from continued violations or unsafe driving practices and may affect the employees’ job categorization.
  • If an employee is warned regarding unsafe driving practices and then maintains a clean driving record for 12 months from the last violation, the University will consider any new violations as beginning from point 1.
  • Generally, drivers must not have any conviction for DUI or under the influence of drugs within the last three years. Two DUI convictions within this time period are grounds for permanent denial of University-related driving privileges.

Accident Reporting: In the event of an accident, the following guidelines will expedite proper notification of all parties, including insurance carriers. These guidelines will help assure compliance with the law.

  • Appropriate first aid should be rendered to all injured persons and police and/or fire personnel should be immediately notified.
  • When making statements, answer all questions from police officers truthfully and directly, but otherwise refrain from casual comments or admissions of any kind.
  • If no police officer is present (as many law enforcement agencies do not investigate non-injury accidents), exchange driver, vehicle and insurance information.  Failure to identify yourself or leave identifying information (for any attended or unattended vehicle) violates University policy and Rhode Island law.
  • Most states and Rhode Island state law requires that drivers complete accident reports in the city/town the accident occurred within two weeks of the accident date.
  • For insurance purposes, all accidents should be reported within 24 hours to Public Safety and the Controller’s Office. A Public Safety incident report will be completed with all the pertinent information regarding the accident in the absence of a police report.    When contacting the Controller’s Office, please give the Police report number or send a copy of the report, if any, to the person taking the information.
  • Advise the other party to contact the Controller’s Office at 401-232-6005 for any further information.

Driver Training:  Drivers of University owned vehicles must undertake a defensive driving training course on a periodic basis.  This is required by the University’s insurance carrier.  Defensive driver training will be scheduled by the Controller’s Office.
 
Hazardous Substances shall not be transported on public highways without the written authorization of the Facilities Department and the Controller’s Office Risk Management Department.
 
Violations: The authorized employee or volunteer driving a vehicle on University business is personally responsible for ALL MOVING VIOLATIONS, and is personally responsible to the University for all PARKING TICKETS.

Smoking: Rhode Island State Law requires that employers provide a smoke-free working environment for its employees.  Smoking is prohibited in all vehicles owned and/or operated by the University.  Non-smokers, regardless of when they enter a vehicle shall not be subjected to the effects of second hand smoke.


University-Owned/Leased Vehicles:

Authorized Use: University vehicles shall be used only in the conduct of University business and activities (with the exception of individually assigned vehicles to certain approved personnel who should then comply with the below noted personal use policies) and only when such use is the most economic and efficient transportation option available.  The driver is also responsible to the University for any PARKING TICKETS incurred while using the vehicle. The Purchasing Department will ensure collection of any fines that would impede the registration of the vehicle.

Authorized Drivers: Only University employees, volunteers and agents shall be authorized to drive University vehicles with the consent of the appropriate University official. A list of vehicles and assigned drivers is maintained in the Controller’s Office. Notice of changes of assigned drivers or vehicles must be forwarded to the Controller’s Office Department immediately.
 
Purchasing: The purchasing policies related to vehicles are contained in the University's Purchasing Procedures. Please see those policies for related information.
 
Passengers shall be limited to employees engaged in University business, registered students engaged in University sponsored activities, or employees of other agencies who are traveling to meetings in association with University staff.  This requirement does not apply to drivers who are authorized to use University owned vehicles for both personal and business use.

Maintenance: A driver to whom a vehicle is assigned shall ensure the proper maintenance and upkeep of the department's vehicle. Such maintenance shall be performed in accordance with the vehicle's maintenance schedule in the vehicle's owner's manual. Additional maintenance checks may be authorized as deemed necessary by the authorizing supervisor.
 
Routine maintenance to University vehicles shall adhere to specifications in the Owner's manual and are limited to oil and tire maintenance. Only qualified mechanics or repair shops shall perform any other type of repairs or maintenance. Also, disposal of any hazardous material or fluids shall be done in accordance with the law.
 
Authorized drivers shall inspect and report any vehicle deficiency or unsafe condition to an authorized automobile mechanic before driving the vehicle. The mechanic shall inspect the vehicle to determine whether it shall be driven under existing conditions. A cracked windshield, inoperable brake lights, faulty seat belts, and worn tire tread are examples of reasons for placing a vehicle out of service.
 
Animals: Animals may not be transported in University vehicles without the permission of the department supervisor having responsibility for the vehicle. Animals will be transported in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local laws. No personal pets shall be transported in University vehicles.  This requirement does not apply to drivers who are authorized to use University owned vehicles for both personal and business use.

Insurance: The University carries blanket liability insurance to protect the University and the authorized driver for any accident involving either bodily injury or damage to the property of others.
 
The University does not carry collision insurance on University vehicles over five years old. The University budget funds the cost of physical repairs or replacement. The department assigned the vehicle is subject to a deductible expense for collision damage.
 
The University reserves the right to seek reimbursement from the employee or volunteer if an investigation shows that there was negligence or misuse of the vehicle.
 
Parking Off-Campus Overnight: University vehicles may be parked overnight at an authorized driver's home when the driver is departing on, or returning from, an official trip away from the driver's workplace under circumstances which make it impractical to use other means of transportation. When such situation occurs, if possible, the vehicle shall be parked in the employee or volunteer's driveway, garage, or other location that removes it from the public street.
 
Registration: The Purchasing Department shall be responsible for all registration and related DMV paperwork regarding all University-owned vehicles.  Refer to the University Purchasing Manual.

Misuse: University-owned or leased vehicles are to be used only for University related business, sponsored events and other authorized purposes. Any driver who is not in compliance with this policy may be held personally responsible for any damage incurred during such use.


Personal Use of University Owned Vehicles:

Based on contractual agreements, certain employees are authorized to use university owned vehicles for both business and personal use. Such personal usage of vehicles is considered as taxable income.  The University uses the annual lease valuation method for calculating personal use of university owned vehicles.

All employees who are authorized to use a university owned vehicle for personal purposes are required to maintain a business mileage use log (sample copy attached) which must be totaled and attached to a quarterly summary report  of business use of university owned vehicles (form attached).  Downloadable versions of the mileage log and summary forms are also available at the Controller’s Office’s website.  The completed form must be submitted every quarter to the Controller’s Office no later than March 10, June 10, September 10, and December 10.  This form must also be completed upon employees’ separation from the University.  Please note that travel between the University campus and the employee’s residence cannot be reported as business mileage on this form.  Such travel is considered as personal mileage by the IRS.  Information provided on this form will be utilized to compute the supplemental income which is reported on an employee’s paycheck quarterly/annually (depending on reporting option selected by employees,) as well as on their W-2s.  Quarterly reporting is undertaken so that withholdings on such income are smoothened out through out the year. 

A sample copy, provided below, shows how the Controller’s Office computes the income that is to be added to the paycheck.

Paycheck Income Sample Sheet

The value for used cars is obtained from the NADA web site.  Values for brand new cars are obtained from the check request which is filled in when the car is purchased.  Annual Lease Value (ALV) which is based on NADA values is obtained from tables in Treasury regulation § 161-21.

The annual lease value method does not incorporate the value of gasoline purchased on the University’s credit card for personal use of a university vehicle. The university recognizes that a single tank of gasoline is probably utilized for both business and personal usage of the vehicle.  When the employee utilizes the University P-Card for purchasing gasoline which is used for both business and private use, employees are required to reimburse the University for the value of gasoline purchases pertaining to personal use.

If the University P-Card is used exclusively for all gasoline purchases (business or personal), the reimbursable value of gasoline paid by the University for personal use of a university owned vehicle is computed by the Controller’s office as follows:

(Personal miles driven) x (Avg. Market rate of cost per gallon) ÷ (Average miles per gallon).

Market rate of cost per gallon is obtained from the Department of Energy’s web site.

The quarter’s average cost for the New England area is computed by taking the average of the weekly gas prices for regular grade gasoline from the downloadable spreadsheet available at the DOE web site.
 
The average miles per gallon is obtained from CarsDirect’s website.

Average miles per gallon is computed by taking the average of the highway and city fuel economy for a particular car brand, model and year.

Utilizing the example for the above 2004 Ford Taurus driven for 3,000 personal miles in the quarter whose average mileage is 22.5 mpg and where the average cost of gasoline in New England was $2.01, the reimbursable value of gasoline used for personal use of a university owned vehicle would be as follows:

3,000 miles x $2.01 per gallon ÷ 22.5 miles = $268.

Employees must reimburse the college for the value of the gasoline within 30 days of notification from the Controller’s Office of the amount payable.

If an employee uses a combination of their own credit card as well as the University P-Card for gasoline purchases which is for business and personal use, the reimbursable value of gasoline paid by the University (or owed by the University to its employees) for personal use of a university owned vehicle is computed by the Controller’s office in a manner differently than outlined above:  Utilizing the amounts in the example for the 2004 Ford Taurus, the information is computed as follows:

P-Card / Personal Credit Card Usage Sample

The average miles per gallon is obtained from CarsDirect’s website.

Cost per gallon is computed from actual cost incurred for gasoline purchased on P-Card.  These cost are tracked on the quarterly gasoline purchase tracking form. In the absence of actual cost information, the cost per gallon rate is obtained from the Department of Energy’s web site.

The quarter’s average cost for the New England area is computed by taking the average of the weekly gas prices for regular grade gasoline from the downloadable spreadsheet available at the DOE web site.
 
If the dollar amount in column Q is positive, it denotes that the employee purchased gasoline on the University’s P-Card which was used for personal purposes, and therefore the employee owes money to the University.  Employees must reimburse the University within 30 days of notification of amount due.  If the dollar amount is negative, it denotes that the employee purchased gasoline for business use on their personal credit card, and the university owes funds to the employee.  Employees can file a business reimbursement form to request funds owed to them.


Non-University Owned Vehicles:

Private Vehicles

  • Authorized Use: Private vehicles shall be used in the conduct of University business and activities only when such use is the most economical and efficient transportation option available. The appropriate University official shall authorize all such use of private vehicles.
  • Authorized Drivers: Only employees and volunteers shall be authorized to drive private vehicles on University business or activities.
  • Insurance: Private vehicles used on University business must be covered under the owner's insurance as required by law. The vehicle insurance policy need not be classified for commercial use, but if the extent of University business goes beyond incidental use, it shall be the responsibility of the employee or volunteer to check and resolve these issues with their insurance company.
    The individual's insurance covering the private vehicle used on University business pays first and, if that insurance is exhausted, the University insurance pays second to the extent of the policy. Claims made against the private insurance for personal injury and physical damage, including any deductible costs, for accidents occurring from the operation of privately owned vehicle when used on University business are not reimbursable from University funds or University insurance.
  • Mileage Reimbursement: Mileage reimbursement is available to cover the cost of operation of private vehicles used for University business. Mileage reimbursement rates are generally similar to the allowable mileage rate set by the Internal Revenue Service.  For questions regarding the University's current reimbursement rate, please contact the Controller's Office.

Rented Vehicles

When signing car rental agreements, employees are to sign their name along with the words Bryant University.  Omission of Bryant University next to one’s name voids any University Insurance coverage on the rental.

  • Authorized Use: Vehicles may be rented by employees and volunteers only with the prior approval of an appropriate University official.
  • Insurance: Authorized drivers of commercially rented vehicles shall NOT purchase any insurance from the rental agency on domestic rentals. All domestic insurance requirements are met by the University's auto insurance policy. Rental agency insurance should be purchased on all rentals in foreign countries.

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