Vehicle Use Policies and Procedures

Revised – June 3, 2009

Purpose:
Loyola's vehicle use policy has been established to provide information and guidelines to all Loyola employees and students regarding their responsibilities for the safe operation of vehicles on University business. This document includes instructions and procedures for driving, renting, and leasing University vehicles. We are committed to providing a safe environment for Loyola's students, staff, faculty and visitors. Please contact the Risk Management office for additional information, questions, and clarifications.

Background:
This policy was developed from the former rules governing the use of vehicles on University business. With the assistance of risk management consultants, insurance companies, universities from throughout the United States, and the LA Department of Public Safety, Loyola has established this policy as a guide to protect its community.

 

Requirements for Vehicle Use:

Driver Requirements
Those authorized to drive a vehicle on university business will possess a valid driver's license, preferably from the State of Louisiana. They will be conscientious and courteous drivers. They will be cautious and will understand the importance of driving safely. They will conduct themselves as representatives of Loyola and will honestly report any accident or damage that may occur involving a vehicle under their care and control. They will be evaluated on an on-going basis to assure they maintain a safe driving record.

Driver Authorization
No one is permitted to drive a University vehicle, or any other vehicle on University business, without authorization. Authorization to drive a vehicle may be obtained by submitting a completed Driver Authorization Request to the Risk Management office. The driver and their supervisor or advisor must sign this form. 

Approval is granted for one calendar year, after which time the driver may be removed from approved driver database. Renewal of driving privileges is not automatic, however most permanent employees will be renewed each year. MVR reports will be obtained and reviewed for renewed drivers at random.

A list of the authorized drivers is sent to our automobile insurer on an ongoing basis. Each name is entered into the Motor Vehicle Registry in order to identify high-risk drivers. If it is determined that an individual has a poor driving record, he or she will be notified and may be suspended from driving Loyola vehicles. The University reserves the right to request an MVR at any time. If the MVR reveals that a driver does not meet the acceptable guidelines, that person will no longer be allowed to drive University vehicles. Records of authorized drivers will be retained in the Risk Management office.

The following criteria are used in considering authorization:

  • No major violations in the last 3 years (major violations include, but are not limited to DUI, vehicular homicide, reckless driving, drugs, leaving the scene)
  • Maximum of 2 moving violations in the last 3 years with one at-fault accident
  • Maximum of 3 moving violations in the last 3 years with no at-fault accidents
  • Maximum of 2 at-fault accidents in the last 3 years with no moving violations

If a driver will be driving a vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds, or designed to transport more than 15 persons (including driver) he/she must have a valid Commercial Driver's License.

Job Applicants
Any offer of employment made to job applicants whose work will require driving for the University must be made contingent upon the applicant's meeting the above requirements. A driver authorization request should be made to Risk Management and the applicant's record obtained prior to an offer of employment.

Student Drivers
Loyola students are subject to the same authorization procedures, and behavioral expectations, as employees. Although inexperienced drivers may be authorized, they will be subject to additional training and/or evaluation at the discretion of the Risk Management office. Additionally, Loyola's insurers always retain the right to refuse to insure individual drivers. Should they decline coverage of any student, that student will not be authorized to drive.

Supervisor's Responsibility
It is essential for those faculty and staff members who are charged with supervising both student and employee drivers to take an active role in assuring the safe operation of motor vehicles on official business. Supervisors are in the best position to observe and correct inappropriate or unsafe behavior. Any report of unsafe operation of a vehicle received by the Risk Management office will be communicated directly to the supervisor, department head or vice president of the area involved. Supervisors should be aware of all trips taken and driving assignments made.

Supervisors are also responsible for assuring that driver authorization forms are completed properly and signed and for completing and reporting accidents.

 

Use and Maintenance of University Vehicles:

Assigned vehicles
University vehicles, with vice presidential approval, are assigned to individuals, academic departments, and administrative departments. Unless otherwise specified, assignment of a vehicle to an individual or department does not give the individual or department exclusive use of the vehicle, except wherein vehicle use has been deemed so frequent or unique that the dedication of a vehicle to the department makes sense.

However, individuals or departments with assigned vehicles will have "first choice" use of assigned vehicles. All other users will have to secure permission to use assigned vehicles from the individual or department responsible for the vehicle. Individuals and departments may develop their own guidelines, approved by their vice president, for the use of assigned vehicles.

Use of assigned vehicles by others should not be allowed until it is established that the vehicle will be operated by an authorized driver and it is determined that the vehicle will be used in compliance with the entire vehicle use policy. Personal use of University vehicles is prohibited. Vehicles are not to be used for personal errands, nor should they ever be taken home unless written authorization from the appropriate Vice President is on file with the Risk Management office.

All vehicle policy rules with respect to driver eligibility and vehicle use apply equally to department assigned vehicles. Assigned vehicles are to be used only for the express purpose of University business.

Cooperation from individuals and departments with assigned vehicles is expected so that individuals and departments without assigned vehicles can have access to transportation when needed.

All vehicle assignees are responsible for the maintenance, licensing, permitting and safe operation of each vehicle under their management.

Vans / motor coaches
Vans represent one of the most versatile and useful vehicles on the road, however they can also be very dangerous, especially when operated by inexperienced or careless drivers. For this reason, Loyola requires anyone driving a University van or a van rented for University business to successfully complete a computer-based training course on van driver safety. Specific instructions for accessing the course are available in the Risk Management office and on the Risk Management office's website.

Some general guidelines to consider when driving a van are:

  • Whenever driving a van, please maintain extra vigilance.
  • Vans, when loaded with cargo or passengers are much heavier than the passenger cars we are most familiar with driving. Thus, acceleration and braking times are increased considerably.
  • When loading a van, be sure to distribute weight evenly side-to-side and front to back, as this will greatly affect the vehicle's handling.
  • Visibility in vans is also restricted and drivers should take caution and seek assistance when backing, changing lanes and turning.
  • The height of most vans is also much greater than that of most passenger vehicles and attention to this fact should be considered when entering low-clearance garages and similar structures.
  • Because vans are tall, their center of gravity causes them to be unstable in sharp turns at moderate speed. Use extreme caution care when making quick or sharp turns.

Short-term rental vehicles
If departments and organizations find it necessary to rent vehicles on a short-term basis from a rental agency, rent the vehicle under the name of the University. The rental agency may require the driver's name to be on the form. In this case, write "Loyola University New Orleans/(Driver's Name)."

It is recommended that all Loyola employees rent vehicles using Loyola's contract with Enterprise.  Rental rates include liability insurance and a collision damage waiver so no other insurance purchase is necessary.  Unfortunately, these rates are not available to Loyola students traveling on official business for the university.  

To ensure that the insurance provisions of Loyola's contract with Enterprise apply, renters must report any/all accidents to Enterprise at the branch where the rental originated.  This can be easily found at the top of the rental contract.  Renters should obtain a police report if possible.  Upon return of the rental, Enterprise will do a Damage Loss Report to collect information about the accident and document damages to the car.  The Collision Damage Waiver will cover all damages to the rental.  If not at fault, Enterprise asks that renters get the insurance information of the at fault party so Enterprise can pursue them for damages.  

If an employee chooses not to rent using the Enterprise contract, the University carries full automobile liability insurance coverage (including rented cars) for the University and its drivers. It is not necessary to purchase liability insurance offered by the rental agency. Departments may choose whether they wish to purchase collision insurance (collision damage waiver).  Please note that repairs for any damages to rented vehicles not made through Loyola's contract with Enterprise must be funded from the Department's budget. Loyola's automobile insurance policy does not cover damages to rented vehicles. 

University insurance is only available on vehicles rented for approved University functions/business.

Some credit card companies also provide vehicle insurance coverage when renting a vehicle and paying with their card. However, the insurance coverage is only effective when the cardholder is driving the vehicle.

Personal vehicles used for university business
Personal vehicles may be used on University business ONLY with the permission of the employee/student's department head or advisor and proper authorization from Risk Management.

When using a personal vehicle for University business, the owner of the vehicle must carry automobile liability insurance. The owner's automobile liability insurance coverage is the primary coverage.

There is no physical damage coverage through the University on a personal vehicle. The employee is responsible for the deductible portion of the personal collision coverage and is responsible for any increased personal automobile insurance premiums as a result of the accident.

The owner's automobile liability insurance card received from their insurance agent must be in the driver's possession when using personal vehicles for University business.

For current information regarding Loyola's policy regarding reimbursement for mileage or expenses, view Loyola's Travel Policies & Procedures.

Maintenance
At a minimum, vehicle assignees should follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule for all vehicles under their management. Oil changes should be conducted no less than every 3,000 miles (unless synthetic oils are used, then follow manufacturer's guidelines). Other fluids, brakes, tires, etc. should be inspected by an appropriate technician at each oil change.

Assignees should inspect vehicles routinely to ensure that tires, lights, horn and other critical components are functioning and in good repair. Ideally, drivers should inspect the vehicles prior to and after each use, to ensure that they are in proper operating condition.

Assignees should also ensure that a proper spare tire, jack and lug wrench are kept in the vehicles at all times. Also, vehicles should have emergency highway equipment, such as jumper cables, flashlight, safety flares and/or reflectors.

Under no circumstance should vehicle maintenance be deferred due to budgetary constraints. If funds have not been budgeted to cover a necessary expense, the vehicle should be garaged until funds can be allocated to effect repairs and/or maintenance.

Vice presidents are responsible for allocating funds for replacement of assigned vehicles when necessary.

The University reserves the right to rescind driving privileges when it is determined that a vehicle has been improperly used or not properly maintained. The University also reserves the right to reassign vehicles that have not been properly used or maintained.

Registration and inspection
Each assignee is responsible for ensuring that assigned vehicles are appropriately registered with the State of Louisiana. Brake tags are also the responsibility of each assignee.

 

Vehicle Insurance:
The University maintains extensive business automobile insurance coverage for its vehicles and vehicles rented for its use. This coverage includes liability, physical damage and uninsured motorist components. All authorized drivers are covered. Loyola's insurer reserves the right to remove any driver from coverage based on their MVR. Specific information regarding this insurance is available in the Risk Management Office.

Personal vehicles used for authorized University business must be insured by the owner. The University recommends that the owner carry $100,000 bodily injury liability, subject to $300,000 limit per occurrence, and $100,000 physical damage liability coverage. Physical damage (collision and comprehensive) limits and deductible are at the discretion of the owner.

Automobile liability insurance identification cards
All University-owned vehicles must carry an automobile liability insurance identification card indicating proof of insurance. Each year the cards are distributed by the Risk Management Office upon purchase of the policies in August. Please place this card in the vehicle's glove compartment. Authorized drivers of personal vehicles are responsible for possessing appropriate proof of insurance.

 

Safety Issues:

Alcohol and Drug Use
No alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, or controlled substances are to be used or consumed by the driver or any passenger at any time while in possession of University-owned, leased, or rented vehicles, including personal vehicles used on University business.

Mobile Devices
Drivers must use good judgment in the use of mobile phones, computers and navigation systems while operating a vehicle. Mobile phones should only be used in conjunction with hands-free devices. Text-based messaging should only be used after the vehicle has been safely parked.

Seat Belts
Use of seat belts is required for all persons occupying the vehicle. It is the driver's responsibility to ensure that all persons are properly secured before the vehicle is put in motion.

Smoking
Smoking is not permitted in University-owned, leased, or rented vehicles.

Hazardous Materials
Hazardous materials should not be transported in University-owned, leased, or rented vehicles unless approved by the Risk Management office in advance.

Traffic Laws
The driver is required to obey all state and federal traffic laws pertaining to the safe operation of a vehicle. The driver is personally liable for any fines, traffic or parking violations received. All moving violations must be reported to Risk Management by the driver.

Driver Training
Drivers may be required to view a driver safety video and/or complete driver training before being permitted to drive.

Safe Operation:

All authorized drivers are expected to operate vehicles safely and with great care. Especially when transporting passengers, the driver must make a concerted effort to provide for the safety and well-being of those aboard. When weather conditions and road hazards require special attention, ask your passengers to help you by being quiet and observant.

If a driver is found to have committed any unsafe acts while driving, disciplinary action may be initiated. Intentional reckless or unsafe driving could result in immediate termination or expulsion from the University.

 

Accident Procedure:

Each on campus accident, however minor, must be reported to University Police (ext. 3434) immediately. Each off campus accident must be reported to the local police department having jurisdiction as soon as it occurs. In all cases, however, each accident must be reported to the Risk Management office (ext. 3141) within 24 hours.

Each accident, however minor, must be recorded by the completion of the Report of Accident form at the scene of the accident. This form should be located in the glove box of every vehicle. The completed form is to be sent or taken to Risk Management, Box 11, 105 Marquette Hall.

Do not hesitate to call the police. They will usually respond even if the accident involves only property damage. While the police may not make a determination of responsibility, they will at least document the obvious facts.

The police will ask you for evidence of liability insurance. This information can be found on the Louisiana Auto Insurance Identification Card which should be located in the glove box of every Loyola vehicle.

If you or the occupants of your vehicle sustain injury, however minor, have an examination by Student Health Services, a personal physician or at the emergency room of a nearby hospital.

However responsible you may feel for the accident, do not admit to liability. Such an admission will seriously compromise the ability of your insurer to defend any ensuing claim, particularly because Louisiana has comparative negligence laws, and very often neither party is 100 percent at fault.

It is usually not in your best interest to accept an offer to settle from the other party in the accident without involving the insurance carriers. Such offers are usually withdrawn when the amount of the damage is determined, and can only lead to complications.

If a Loyola vehicle has sustained damage, it is best to have it taken to a shop where repairs will be made. The insurance carrier prefers to inspect the car at the place where the work is to be done so that the adjustor and the shop can agree upon the scope of work and the related cost.

The driver will be held personally responsible for all costs of the accident if the driver is found to be operating the vehicle in a reckless manner due to the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, and/or controlled substances. The University has the right to require drug/alcohol testing in the event of an accident caused by an employee.

If the University driver is found to be at fault, the driver or the department will be charged the insurance collision deductible if there is damage to the Loyola vehicle.