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UW Vehicle Regulation & Policies

University Official Vehicle Policy FAQs

When does the University Official Vehicle Policy take effect?

The policy will take effect on July 1, 2011.  The motor vehicle record checks for individuals who were employed with the University prior to July 1, 2011 will be phased in as determined by Risk Management beginning after July 1, 2011. 

Why are privately-owned vehicles part of the University Official Vehicle Policy?

The Policy governs privately-owned vehicles only when they are being used for University business.  During business use, the University retains a level of responsibility to ensure the safety of employees and authorized drivers or passengers and may, in accordance with the policy and state law, retain liability for their actions.  The University's Risk Management program is designed to mitigate the exposure of the University to litigation arising from accidents involving University personnel whether traveling in University or private vehicles while on University business.  Insurance carriers who provide coverage to the University have recommended changes to our policies that will help protect the University from claims and minimize any financial losses.  These changes will require a departure from long standing practices which were allowable in an earlier era in which legal actions against the University were less prevalent than the current environment in which we operate.     

Why does an employee have to be age 18 to drive a University Vehicle or University Personal Vehicle?

The age requirement ties directly to the skills that are achieved through hands-on driving experience, the requirement to have had a valid license for at least a year, and to various state laws (including Wyoming) that provide only provisional licenses for younger drivers. Age restrictions for drivers are common in public entity vehicle policies including, the State of Wyoming, Utah State, the University of Utah and many others

What if a department employs someone who has not held a US or Canadian Driver's License for a year, but does have one year of driving history from another country?

The employee may submit a copy of their driving record from the foreign jurisdiction to Risk Management with the request to become a Qualified Driver.

Do I need to have a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) check done if I drive on University business occasionally?

Yes, all individuals who drive on University business need to have this process completed in order to be a Qualified Driver and drive a University Vehicle or University Personal Vehicle. This includes student employees and volunteers.  Current employees will be phased in beginning July 1, 2011 and employees hired after July 1, 2011 should request driving privileges at the time of hire or as soon as it is apparent the employee will drive on University business.  MVR checks will be processed as part of the hiring procedure for employees who drive as a requirement of their position.

Will my department have to pay for MVR checks?

No, the University's Risk Management Department will cover these costs.

How long will it take for the MVR check process once the information has been submitted?

It should take no more than 48 hours for the Risk Management Department to complete the process.  The Risk Management Department requests that individuals who are seeking Qualified Driver status submit the request with as much advance notice as possible. 

Could I lose my job as a result of the new vehicle policy?

Yes, for example:  If after July 1, you lose your license or are convicted of certain offenses (for example DUI, motor vehicle homicide, etc.) you will no longer be qualified to drive on University business.  If you drive on University business for your job, upon your conviction your Department will make a determination whether your status as unqualified to drive requires a special arrangement, discipline, or termination.  Factors Departments will likely consider in determining any job implication of your change in status include, but are not limited to, whether or not driving is a requirement of your position, the frequency with which you are required to drive for your job, and the availability of arrangements that are not a burden on the Department or other employees.

Is carpooling with community members and community college associates for travel to joint functions or travel to professional meetings allowed in University Vehicles or University Personal Vehicles?

Individuals from other public entities and individuals related to University business are authorized riders under the policy.  The Policy states, "Transportation of individuals who are relevant to University business (e.g., contractors, employees of other public entities, University clients, participants in University programs, University volunteers, etc.)" is permitted. Assuming the passengers are in the same profession and attending the same professional meeting, they would fall within the authorized riders' category.

If the passengers are simply obtaining a ride to the location but not a participant in the professional meeting, they would not be an authorized rider in a University vehicle. They could ride in a private vehicle, but they would need to follow the waiver process for guests who are unrelated to University business.

Can I transport family members or friends in a University Vehicle?

Generally the answer is no, family members and friends cannot be transported in a University vehicle.  If the family member or friend is needed for a business purpose or there is an extenuating circumstance such as accommodation of a medical condition, an exception may be granted by Risk Management in accordance with the policy.  Otherwise, if there is a desire to have family members or friends along on a business trip, employees must take their personal vehicles and follow the procedures outlined in the Policy, including having the family members or friends sign a waiver (or having the appropriate adult sign a waiver for minors).  Employees may request travel reimbursement provided they have complied with the requirements of the Policy.

Where do I find the waiver for non-University related persons traveling in my personal vehicle?

The waiver and instructions will be found on Risk Management's web site.  

Is it acceptable to use a University Vehicle if I'm combining my business trip with a side trip such as a recreational visit to a ski area? 

There is currently no allowance to use University Vehicles for personal use as described in this example. Employees would need to use their personal vehicle for the trip if they intend to combine vacation/personal activities with University business or need to find alternate transportation from the work location to the recreational area. 

The University Vehicle can be used to travel to reasonable activities associated with University business such as obtaining meals while on travel status.

What is the definition of off-road driving and is it allowed? 

Generally, the definition of off-road driving is driving that occurs away from public roads, particularly on rough terrain or terrain not generally used or marked for driving.  If the path you are taking is an established road, whether on a map or not, driving that path would not be considered off-road for the purposes of the policy.  Further, off-road driving is allowed provided the off-road driving is necessitated by the work required for the University.  What is not allowed is driving off-road in a University Vehicle for fun or entertainment without a business purpose.

Does the MVR process apply if I am performing services for the University under a basic contract such as a Personal Service Agreement?

Individuals who are working under the University Personal Services Agreement or another similar contract do not need to complete the MVR process as they are independent contractors and contractually obligated to indemnify the University for any liability associated with their efforts.

Does the MVR process apply if I'm an employee of an outside agency that is performing services for the University?

Individuals who are employees of another agency or organization and are on work time during their efforts for the University do not need to go through the MVR process. Although the University may be reimbursing the employee or their employer for their expenses, their actions are still the responsibility of their employer and governed by their employer's rules and therefore the employer, not the University, retains ultimate responsibility for their actions.

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