Fleet Safety Policy

Purpose

To establish policy governing procedures and safety guidelines for use of vehicles owned, rented or leased by the University (“University vehicles”), and the use of personal vehicles, by Tufts University students, faculty and staff, while on University business.

Authorization to Drive a University Vehicle

Only authorized drivers affiliated with Tufts in the capacity of student, faculty or staff shall be permitted to drive a University vehicle. Use of a University vehicle is restricted to authorized University related activities. Any liability arising out of the unauthorized use of a Tufts owned, rented or leased vehicle is the sole responsibility of the driver and his or her personal auto insurance. In such cases, the driver will be expected to indemnify and defend Tufts against all claims arising out of the unauthorized use of the vehicle.

Operating and Passenger Safety

All authorized drivers must be at least 18 years old and hold a valid license issued by one of the 50 United States at all times when operating a University vehicle, or when operating a personal vehicle while on University business.

The driver shall observe all rules and regulations for safe driving as defined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the state in which the driver is operating the vehicle.

Seat belts must be used at all times. The number of passengers may not exceed the number of seatbelts and no more than 12 passengers may ride in any van. Standing in open bed trucks is prohibited.

Drinking, possession of intoxicating liquor, illegal drugs in vehicles or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited.

For long distance trips, if there is more than one qualified driver, such drivers should consider rotating every 3 hours. No driver may drive more than 10 hours during a 24 hour period. If there are not enough drivers to rotate an overnight stay en-route should be planned.

In the event of severe weather conditions, avoid driving and stay overnight in a safe place.

Use of cell phones while driving is prohibited. In case of emergency, drivers should pull over to the side of the road before using a cell phone, even if the driver is using an ear piece.

All accidents must be reported immediately to the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD), to local authorities where the accident occurred, and to your supervisor. An accident report should be filed with the appropriate local police department.

If you are issued a moving violation while operating, this must be immediately reported to your supervisor. Traffic and parking violations are not considered reimbursable costs. However, failure to pay such citations could result in disciplinary action.

Physical Damage

In cases of at-fault accidents, where Tufts is unable to recover financially from a responsible third party, the Department will assume the first $1000 of any cost associated with the accident.

Vehicle Custodians

Each Department that is responsible for a University vehicle must assign a vehicle custodian who shall be a Tufts employee and have the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Scheduling maintenance and inspection (s) per vehicle specifications
  • Registration of the Vehicle
  • Ascertaining that drivers have the proper license and credentials
  • Reporting all accidents to TUPD
  • Authorize vehicle usage, to include assuring that drivers complete the Drivers Registration Form (pdf).

Use of Personal Vehicles

When employees or students use their personal vehicles on University business, the individual’s personal auto insurance is primarily responsible for any claims arising out of such use, per Massachusetts law. If the individuals liability coverage limits are exceeded, the University’s insurance acts as excess insurance. If you use your vehicle for business purposes, it is strongly recommended that you carry limits of at least $100,000/300,000 for bodily injury and property damage if you use your vehicle for business purposes.

Mileage reimbursement is outlined in the University Travel Policy. This reimbursement is intended to cover the costs to operate the vehicle, including insurance costs.

Under no circumstances will the University reimburse you for damage to your vehicle.

Renting a Vehicle

Should you need to rent a vehicle for University business, you should use a Tufts corporate credit card. By using this card, the collision deductible waiver is included and there is no need to purchase it separately. This provides coverage for the rented vehicle should you have an accident. If you do not have a Tufts corporate card, you MUST purchase the collision deductible waiver as offered by the rental company. If you fail to purchase this coverage, you or your Department may be held responsible for any related expenses.

See the Tufts Business Travel website for additional information on renting a vehicle.

Use of Outside Contractors

If you hire a transportation service, such as a bus company, you must obtain a certificate of insurance from the carrier prior to service. The certificate of insurance must evidence auto liability and excess liability of not less than $ 5 million per occurrence and name the Trustees of Tufts College as an additional insured.

Vehicles in Excess of 26,000 lbs GVW

If your Department uses vehicles in excess of 26000 lbs GVW, certain State and Federal laws apply. Please consult with Risk Management for guidance.

Violation of Policy

Violations of this policy (including falsification of records or other forms of misrepresentation) could result in the revocation of driving privileges, in addition to disciplinary action, up to and including termination or expulsion.

2/13/2006