UTS 157 Automobile Insurance Coverage for Officers and Employees and General Requirements for the Use of Vehicles

Sec. 1 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline the responsibilities and procedures for the safe operation of motorized Vehicles while conducting Official University Business, meeting legal requirements for operating Vehicles, and to meet insurance and claims reporting requirements. Each Institution's Chief Business Officer (CBO) is responsible for implementing the requirements outlined within this policy.

Sec. 2 Principles

It is the policy of The University of Texas System (University) to protect students, faculty, staff, and the public, as well as the physical and financial assets of the University, while operating vehicles on Official University Business.  To this end, this policy is designed to ensure the safe operation of Vehicles, to fulfill our legal obligations, and to have a risk finance program in place to fund our liabilities.

All staff who drive on Official University Business must observe all applicable laws and have a valid driver’s license issued in the state where they permanently reside that is not currently suspended or revoked. Any driver who operates a Vehicle for Official University Business at a time when his or her license was suspended or revoked, shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

Sec. 3 Institution Fleet Safety Programs

To reduce the risk of accidental loss associated with the use of vehicles by the University, each institution shall adopt a comprehensive fleet safety program to include policies and procedures that at a minimum contain the following elements: minimum driver standards; driver's Motor Vehicle Record checks for Authorized Drivers and potential drivers; post-accident reviews and remedial actions; driver training; drug and alcohol testing for drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles; use of cell phones and mobile devices; and other policies and procedures consistent with this policy, the State Vehicle Fleet Management Plan, and state and local laws.

Sec. 4 Requirements for Authorized Drivers

4.1 Authorized Drivers.  The CBO shall ensure that any approval given to operate a University-Owned Vehicle (including long-term, greater than six months, lease vehicles) meets all requirements of an Authorized Driver as described in this policy.  Authorization of drivers for the use of University-Owned Vehicles for Official University Business shall be limited to Employees of the University unless otherwise approved in writing by the CBO or the U. T. System Office of Risk Management as specified in Section 4.6 below.

4.2 Authorized Driver List.  Each institution shall maintain a list of all Authorized Drivers to include all of the following:

a) driver's name (as it appears on his or her license);

b) driver's license number;

c) date of birth;

d) driving status (acceptable or not acceptable);

e) notation if license is a Commercial Drivers License (CDL)

f) date of last training/counseling; and

g) notations regarding any misconduct with a Vehicle, any reprimands concerning his or her driving, or any positive remarks regarding his or her safe driving.

4.3 Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Checks.

a) Before employing a person as an Authorized Driver, each institution shall request a Motor Vehicle Report showing a history going back at least thirty-six (36) months that lists all convictions for traffic violations issued to the potential employee and a verification that the person has a valid driver's license issued by the state in which the person permanently resides. Incumbent Authorized Drivers will have their MVR checked by their respective Institution:

i. at least every twelve (12) months after initially authorized; or

ii. promptly after the employee has been involved in an automobile accident while driving on Official University Business; and

iii. promptly after the employee receives a moving traffic citation while on Official University Business.

If an employee currently lives or previously lived outside the state of Texas or recently moved to Texas, the institution should obtain the Motor Vehicle Record check from the appropriate state or states as required.  The total number of months included in the review history should total at least thirty-six (36).

b) Authorized Drivers and persons seeking a position that requires authorization to operate a University-Owned or rented Vehicle for Official University Business will be evaluated on the most recent thirty six (36) month history reflected on their MVR and points will be assigned by the Institution according to Appendix B. If the total points equal four (4) or more for the immediately preceding thirty-six (36) months, the person shall not be authorized to operate a University-Owned or rented Vehicle for Official University Business. As noted above, if an Institution is unable to obtain a driving record for the preceding thirty-six (36) months, the Institution's CBO may use his/her discretion to authorize the employee to operate a University-Owned or rented Vehicle for Official University Business.

4.4 Reporting Responsibilities.

a) Authorized Drivers shall immediately report to their supervisor a suspension or revocation of their driver's license or any Type A violation as listed in Appendix B including the nature of the charge, the pleas entered by the driver, the scheduled court date, and the findings of the court. An employee who fails to provide required notice shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Additionally, an Authorized Driver shall promptly report to his or her supervisor if the driver has been involved in a Type B violation as defined by this policy or an at-fault automobile accident.

4.5 Driver Training. Each Institution shall require driver training for each Authorized Driver at least every thirty-six (36) months. Driver training may include, but is not limited to:

a) defensive driving;

b) one-day seminars on driving improvement;

c) driver training videos on specific driving skills in which the driver may be deficient; or

d) hands-on, behind-the-wheel training.

4.6 Allowances. Authorization of drivers for use of Vehicles for Official University Business shall be limited to Employees of the University, unless otherwise approved in writing by the CBO or the U. T. System Office of Risk Management as specified below.  If authorization is granted, these individuals will be treated as Authorized Drivers per Section 4 of this policy.  The CBO may use his/her discretion to approve the limited use of any University-Owned, leased, or rented motor Vehicles (subject to UT System preferred supplier agreement for car rental services) for Official University Business. The CBO’s approval authority applies only to:

a) third-party contractors utilizing University-Owned Vehicles for the purpose of meeting their responsibilities under a University contract. All contracts that may allow the use of University-Owned Vehicles by non-employees shall be reviewed by U. T. System Office of Risk Management to ensure that adequate transfer of liability is included in the contract language; and

b) use of University-Owned Vehicles by nonstudent volunteers. 

Sec. 5 Operation of 12 and 15-Passenger Vans

5.1 Requirements. Institutions shall ensure the following regarding the use of 12 and 15-passenger vans:

a) require that 12 and 15-passenger vans be operated only by experienced, Authorized Drivers who understand and are familiar with the handling characteristics of the vans, especially when the van is fully loaded. This shall include having all operators of 12 and 15-passenger vans attend van-specific training, including behind-the-wheel on-the-road training. Each institution shall require specialized driver training for each driver of University-Owned, rented, or leased 12 and 15-passenger vans at least every thirty-six (36) months;

b) 12 and 15-passenger vans shall not be used to carry more than nine (9) occupants (including the driver) at any one time, except as provided in the following sentence. At the discretion of the Institution's CBO, an Institution may use a 12 and 15-passenger van to carry between ten (10) and a maximum of fifteen (15) occupants (including the driver) on inner-campus, nonpublic streets only, provided that: (1) the van does not cross over or travel on public streets; and (2) the van is not driven at a speed in excess of the posted campus speed limit, or in excess of 15 mph if there is no posted campus speed limit;

c) require seat belt use at all times by all occupants of 12 and 15-passenger vans;

d) require proper loading of Vehicles. Consult the owner's manual to determine the maximum load for the Vehicle and the proper distribution of that load. Passengers shall be seated only in recognized seats and in an arrangement designed to spread out the load. Luggage shall be placed in the rear behind the last seat and shall not be allowed on the roof when the van is being operated;

e) require that tires be inspected to assure they are properly inflated and not worn before each trip;

f) limit the number of total hours a driver may operate the Vehicle to no more than 10 hours in any 24-hour period. Trips requiring more than 10 hours driving time to reach a point of destination will require overnight lodging;

g) van drivers shall take a mandatory 30-minute rest break every four hours; and

h) for trips scheduled for longer than two hours, assign a navigator to assist each driver. The navigator must stay awake while on duty.

5.2 Special 12-Passenger Van Provisions for Newer Vehicles. Institutions that purchase or rent a 12-passenger van that meets all of the following criteria may forgo the nine (9) passenger only limitation:

a) 12-passenger vans must not be a converted, modified, or otherwise altered 15-passenger van;

b) 12-passenger vans must have a wheel base of approximately 135 inches or more;

c) 12-passenger vans must not have the ability to seat more than 12 passengers including the driver and have assigned seatbelts for each seat;

d) 12-passenger vans must be equipped with an Electronic Stability Control (ESC) or Traction Control System (TCS); and

e) 12-passenger vans should also be equipped with other safety features, such as front and side curtain air bags, antilock brakes, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Sec. 6 Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

6.1 A CDL is required of Authorized Drivers who operate Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) for Official University Business if one of the following conditions is met:

a) has a gross combination weight rating of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more) inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds);

b) has a gross vehicle weight rating of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more);

c) is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or

d) is of any size and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials as defined in 49 U.S.C. 5103 and is required to be placarded under 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 172, Subpart F.

6.2 In accordance with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, 49 CFR Parts 40 and 382, employers shall test drivers holding a CDL for drugs and alcohol. The regulations call for pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, random, return-to-duty, and follow-up drug and alcohol testing.

Institutions with Authorized Drivers who are required to hold a CDL shall adopt a drug and alcohol-testing program that meets the regulatory requirements.

Sec. 7 Automobile Liability Insurance Coverage

7.1 Overview. The University of Texas System Office of Risk Management provides automobile liability insurance coverage for University drivers conducting Official University Business through the Systemwide Automobile Insurance Program. 

7.2 University-Owned Vehicles (including long-term, greater than six months, lease vehicles)

a) University-Owned Vehicles must be scheduled in The Office of Risk Management’s Risk Management Information System (RMIS).   Each Institution’s fleet contact is responsible for updating all University-Owned Vehicle information (additions, deletions, and changes) in RMIS.  When performing updates, the fleet contact shall assign a Vehicle Classification Rating to each vehicle in accordance with the Motor Vehicle Classification Schedule that appears on Appendix A. Fleet contacts shall update their Vehicle information as soon as possible after receiving information requiring an update.

b) Per the terms of the Program, the insurance company will periodically audit the inventory of University Owned Vehicles.

c) If driving a University-Owned Vehicle for use in the country of Mexico, please refer to Sections 7.6(b) of this policy.

7.3 Rental (Hired) Vehicles [including short-term (less than six months) lease vehicles].

a) With limited exceptions, when an employee rents a Vehicle from a rental company under The UTS Rental Agreement, liability, comprehensive, and collision insurance coverages are automatically provided. The Traveler or Travel Coordinator should refer to the list of exceptions/non-participating locations (Rental Cars) and, as applicable, purchase the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW); (this is a reimbursable expense).

The Hired/Non-Owned insurance coverage is in excess of the insurance secured through the rental agreement.

b) When a provider under the UTS Rental Agreement is not used, employees should purchase the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). This is a reimbursable expense. Please contact the U. T. System Office of Risk Management for an explanation of other coverage options, as some of these coverages are not reimbursable. 

UT System has agreements in place with Avis, Enterprise, Hertz and their affiliates, i.e. Alamo, Budget and Dollar. These companies all include CDW or LDW on passenger vehicles as a part of their daily rental rate when the rental is reserved in advance by the institution. They will also provide the CDW or LDW on vehicles that are not classed as passenger vehicles, i.e. Box Trucks, at an extra cost to the institutions. UT System requires the purchase of this insurance. When an employee (institution) does not purchase the CDW or LDW the Hired/Non-Owned insurance coverage will provide excess liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage after applicable deductibles. In the event of a loss, funds disbursed in excess of applicable deductibles up to $50,000 will be repaid by the Institution over a five (5) year period. This repayment will be waived if the institution contacts The UT System Office of Risk Management at least 48 hours in advance of the rental to discuss options for risk control.

c) Institutions must notify the U. T. System Office of Risk Management at least 48 hours prior to the trip if any rental Vehicle is to be taken off road or if a vehicle is being rented or leased for extensive travel (travel outside of the 48 contiguous states or rented or leased for more than 30 days). The following information must be provided with the notification:

i. dates insurance coverage is needed;

ii. city and state where the vehicle is being rented;

iii. name, address and phone number of the rental company;

iv. make, model, license number, vehicle identification number, and value of vehicle;

v. names of the individuals that will be driving the vehicle; and

vi. purpose of the rental.

d) If renting a Vehicle for use outside of the United States of America, please refer to Section 7.6(a).  If renting a Vehicle for use in the country of Mexico, please refer to Sections 7.6(b) of this policy.

e) If a leasing company requires a copy of the Certificate of Insurance before releasing the Vehicle, then the Institution needs to notify the U. T. System Office of Risk Management. The U. T. System Office of Risk Management will then notify the insurance company to request the certificate. Institutions shall develop internal procedures for centralizing these requests.

7.4 Rental (Hired) Charter Bus Vehicles (including short-term, less than six months, lease vehicles). Chartered buses have inherent and unique exposures that require the contract charter company and any subcontractor bus companies to follow certain guidelines and insurance requirements. Institutions entering into agreements with charter or bus companies should follow the contract requirements as outlined in Appendix C under Item 5. Any questions about the guidelines and insurance requirements should be directed to the Office of Risk Management.

7.5 Personal (Non-University-Owned) Vehicles.

a) Employees are strongly discouraged from using personal Vehicles for conducting Official University Business. Each Institution is responsible for informing employees that their personal auto insurance will be primary at all times when the employee utilizes their own Vehicle to conduct Official University Business. Additionally, each employee should be informed of the following:

i. that they must carry auto liability insurance that meets the minimum requirements in their state of residence; and

ii. that the U. T. System Hired/Non-Owned insurance coverage is secondary to the employee’s personal auto liability insurance in the event of any claim or litigation.

b) The Hired/Non-Owned insurance provides liability-only coverage for employees using their personal vehicles while conducting Official University Business. This coverage is secondary to any personal auto insurance the employee has, and is only for property damage or bodily injury to third parties. It does not provide any physical damage coverage for damages sustained to the employee’s vehicle. If an employee using his or her personal vehicle for Official University Business is involved in an accident, the Institution shall notify the U. T. System Office of Risk Management by the next business day. Institutions and employees shall follow Section 9, Post Accident Claims Procedures, of this policy. 

7.6 Travel Outside of the United States of America.

a) The Office of Risk Management purchases a Foreign Package Policy that provides coverage for Vehicles used outside of the United States of America, its territories and possessions, Puerto Rico, and Canada. This policy provides liability and physical damage coverage for both University-Owned Vehicles and Hired/Non-Owned Vehicles. Most rental car agencies in foreign countries will require that their insurance be purchased in order to rent their Vehicles. The foreign business auto liability insurance would be excess over the coverage that is purchased from the rental agency.

b) Institutions that plan to drive in Mexico should contact the Office of Risk Management to inquire about coverage under the Mexico Tourist Policy, as coverage is not automatic. Mexican law requires that University drivers must have in their possession a vehicle-specific Mexico auto identification card and a copy of the Mexico Tourist Policy.  Drivers may be subject to criminal prosecution in Mexico for failing to follow the law.   

Sec. 8 Physical Damage Insurance Coverage

Insurance covering physical damage to a University-Owned Vehicle (including long-term, greater than six months, lease vehicles) is also available to Institutions. The fleet contact can add physical damage coverage for a Vehicle when scheduling it in RMIS.  The Office of Risk Management recommends that Institutions purchase physical damage insurance coverage for Vehicles that are two (2) years old or newer, or when lease terms require physical damage insurance.

Sec. 9 Post Accident Claims Procedures

Reporting procedures shall be established by each institution to ensure that drivers understand their post-accident claim handling and reporting responsibilities and to ensure that the CBO or their designee is immediately made aware of any incidents that could lead to a claim under any automobile insurance policy purchased by or for the benefit of the institution.

An ACORD Automobile Loss Notice Report Form should be completed for each accident.

The Office of Risk Management will assist with processing claims and may request additional information needed from the institutions related to claims processing after an accident.

9.1 Driver Responsibilities.

a) While at the scene of the accident, University drivers shall attempt to obtain as much information as possible, including the license plate number of any vehicles at the scene, and insurance information from the other parties involved in the accident. As soon as possible, the University driver shall provide this information to his or her Institution's fleet contact.

b) University drivers should advise other parties involved in the accident that the accident will be reported to the University's insurance company who will be in contact with the claimant. University drivers should not make any representations regarding insurance coverage or admit fault to other parties involved in the accident, because the insurance adjuster will make the determination of coverage available under the insurance policy and assess liability.

9.2 Institution Responsibility.

a) Institutions should immediately report all claims to the U.T. System Office of Risk Management.

b) The current procedures for reporting Domestic, International, and Mexico Auto claims (or possible claims) to the insurance carrier can be found here:  ACORD Form.

c) It is important for the insurance company to know clearly and as soon as possible, all factual information about the accident. If the facts lead the driver or the fleet contact to the opinion that the University is not at fault, clearly state that information when submitting the claim. If fault is questionable, the driver or fleet contact should provide supporting information to assist the insurance company with its investigation.

d) The U. T. System Office of Risk Management or the insurance company may request additional information needed for their files or for further processing.

e) Authorization for repairs will not be given until the claim is reviewed by the insurance company. 

Definitions

Authorized Driver - an Employee of The University of Texas System (University) who is eligible to operate a University-Owned or rented Vehicle for Official University Business is an Authorized Driver. Please refer to Section 4 of this policy for eligibility requirements.

Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) - the U.S. Department of Transportation -Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines a CMV as any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle

a) has a gross combination weight rating of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more) inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds);

b) has a gross vehicle weight rating of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more);

c) is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or

d) is of any size and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials as defined in 49 U.S.C. 5103 and is required to be placarded under 49 CFR, Part 172, Subpart F.

Employee - a person employed in the service of the University under an appointment or oral or written express contract for hire whose name appears on the payroll of a U. T. System Institution or U. T. System Administration.

Institution - these include The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Texas at El Paso, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, The University of Texas at San Antonio, The University of Texas at Tyler, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, and U. T. System Administration.

Official University Business (as it relates to operating a motor vehicle) - driving a Vehicle during the course and scope of employment for the University regardless of the frequency of driving or operating duties.

University-Owned Vehicle - a Vehicle to which the University holds title or a Vehicle leased by the University for more than six months.  This includes golf carts, utility vehicles, tractors, and other equipment covered under the University’s insurance program.  All staff who drive on Official University Business must observe all applicable laws and have a valid driver’s license issued in the state where they permanently reside that is not currently suspended or revoked.  

Vehicle - equipment of a motorized, vehicular nature; This includes golf carts, utility vehicles, tractors, and other equipment.  All staff who drive on Official University Business must observe all applicable laws and have a valid driver’s license issued in the state where they permanently reside that is not currently suspended or revoked.