Fleet Safety and Vehicle Use/Rental
Effective: Moved to Policy Library from UPM 8.5
Updated/Revised: January 12, 2024
Contact: Specialty Business Services & Cultural Arts
Approved Vehicle Uses
Operating a University Vehicle - Drivers and Passengers
Operating a University Vehicle - Engine Idling
Operating a University Vehicle - Alcoholic Beverages
Loss or Suspension/Restriction of Driver's License
- Suspension of University Driving Privileges
- Termination of Employment for Failure to Maintain Driver's License
- Other Restrictions of University Driving Privileges
Loss of License - Failure to Pay Child Support
Transportation services offers a wide range of safe and economical rental vehicles to assist Iowa State University faculty and staff in conducting university business. Vehicles include compact and mid-size sedans, hybrids, flex fuel vehicles, seven, nine, twelve and fifteen passenger vans, small, one-half, three-quarter and one-ton pickups/trucks, cargo vans and specialty vehicles.
The number of vehicles operated by Iowa State University generates both significant concern for passenger safety as well as the need to minimize university loss exposures. Exposures can be from third party liability, property damage, workers compensation injuries, or business interruption. This policy establishes rules regarding driving on official university business and reflects Iowa State University's commitment to:
- Provide and monitor appropriate operator authorizations
- Develop and implement related training programs
- Determine specific safety requirements and recommendations
- Define effective driving standards, consequences and corrective actions
Iowa State University vehicles may be used only for university related business purposes and driven by qualified and authorized persons. All vehicles used to conduct university related business must be operated in compliance with applicable policies, rules and regulations. Drivers who fail to adhere to vehicle policies and procedures may have their university driving privileges suspended and are subject to disciplinary action according to the severity of the infraction.
Vehicles rented from Transportation Services are for official business only and are to be used by authorized faculty, staff and approved student organizations. University vehicles may not be used for vacations or for transporting family members, and are not to be used for personal errands, except for occasional incidental events, such as incidental travel when out of town for meals or other reasonable activities associated with university business.
University vehicles are easily identifiable. Common sense must be used, public perceptions of where vehicles are operated and parked considered, and state law accommodated, which does not permit personal use of university vehicles. Employees who use university vehicles for personal purposes are potentially liable for fuel costs, accidents, injuries, and damages which occur during unauthorized use.
A university vehicle may be driven to a private residence and parked overnight when the driver is departing early in the morning or returning from meetings/travel late at night; when offices are located in areas where leaving vehicles may expose them to vandalism; or when the safety of personnel leaving or arriving after normal business hours is a concern. When possible, the vehicle should be parked off the street and should always be locked.
University vehicles may not be taken into Canada or Mexico without the prior written consent of Transportation Services. University vehicles may not be taken into Mexico without obtaining Mexican insurance, which must be coordinated through the office of risk management.
Other than short-term travel, i.e., a day or less, all faculty and staff are to use either private transportation or the approved one-way rental car contract through Procurement Services to access the Des Moines airport, as it is neither economical nor good use of a university vehicle to leave it in an airport parking lot.
All drivers must display a valid and current U. S. operator's license for the vehicle being rented, have reasonable experience driving the type of vehicle being driven, and be at least 18 years old. The driver is expected to operate the vehicle in a safe and prudent manner. Compliance with Iowa law is required by all drivers to be allowed to use a university vehicle. If a violation occurs while operating a university vehicle, all fines are the responsibility of the driver.
Unauthorized passengers are not permitted to ride in university vehicles.
Smoking is not allowed in university vehicles.
All operators of university vehicles are required to wear seatbelts while operating the vehicle. The driver is responsible for ensuring all passengers are wearing seatbelts.
Drivers of any vehicle belonging to the university must turn the engine off when the vehicle will be stopped for more than 30 seconds, with the following exceptions:
- When stopped in traffic
- To provide for the safety of vehicle occupants, such as extreme cold conditions (e.g. to run the heater when it is below 20 degrees)
- To use lift equipment or other equipment necessary to accommodate individuals with one or more disabilities, or loading and unloading products or goods
- When specific vehicles are being used for traffic, safety, or emergency situations
No alcoholic beverage containers (empty, full, open or closed) are allowed in university-owned vehicles. This policy is intended to encourage driving safety and limit the liability of the university and the driver should an accident occur.
One exception regarding alcoholic beverages would be university-affiliated organizations and departments which possess dram shop licenses. During the normal course of these operations, it is necessary to acquire the stock to sell. These organizations may transport full and unopened containers as cargo only. Any situation that may be considered an extenuating circumstance must be described in writing and approved by the manager of Transportation Services before the vehicle is used.
Any one of the following circumstances may be considered grounds for the university to take corrective action:
- An individual is involved in two or more accidents in a 12-month period where the university driver is considered at fault. For purposes of vehicle use policies, fault includes contributory negligence.
- Two or more complaints are received in a 12-month period about an individual's driving or inappropriate use of a university vehicle.
- Any complaint involving the use of unauthorized equipment such as a radar detector. Use of radar detectors is considered as intent by the driver to circumvent traffic laws.
- Any university driver involved in two or more at-fault accidents in university vehicles in a 12-month period will be required to complete a recognized and approved defensive driving class at the driver's expense. This class must be completed before the employee may again drive a university-owned vehicle.
- Any university driver who is the subject of two or more verified complaints within a 12-month period will be subject to the following:
- If the complaints concern driving technique or incidents that would be subject to a moving violation citation, the driver will be required to complete a recognized and approved defensive driving class at the driver's expense. This class must be completed before the employee may again drive a university vehicle.
- If the complaints concern improper use of the university vehicle, appropriate action will be taken through the driver's department.
Eligible drivers include all university employees, graduate assistants, volunteers conducting programs for the good of the university, and members of eligible affiliated organizations. Drivers must have a valid and current U.S. operator's license for the vehicle being driven and have an acceptable driving record. Volunteers or agents may be considered employees for vehicle liability coverage, provided the vehicle is used for university-related business.
The following persons are not eligible drivers: employees of contractors, consultants or vendors, visiting faculty or staff from non-Iowa regent universities, visiting artists or speakers, special event groups, government representatives, visiting athletic teams, student groups or clubs (except as noted below) or community organizations.
Transportation Services is authorized to deny a vehicle to anyone if, in its sole opinion, there is any reason to believe this vehicle may not be operated safely. Individual departments may impose additional standards, restrictions, driver education or training requirements.
University vehicles may not to be driven by an undergraduate student unless he/she is doing so as an ISU employee or accompanied by an authorized faculty or staff member, or as provided in the special circumstances described below. All undergraduate student drivers must meet university driving requirements and receive prior authorization to drive. See "student drivers" in the Resource section below for further information.
The following are special circumstances whereby a student may be authorized to drive a university vehicle:
- Class field trips - A student may drive the university vehicle if an authorized faculty or staff member is in the vehicle. This rule is intended primarily to prevent driver fatigue on long trips. It is recommended that drivers rotate every 2 hours. Due to limited number of faculty or staff, students may drive unaccompanied in caravan with another vehicle in which a faculty or staff is driving. Prior approval is required by transportation services.
- Summer field camps - These are considered class field trips of a longer duration. It is sometimes necessary, due to logistics and/or the limited number of faculty or staff members, that a student be allowed to drive unaccompanied. The frequency and duration of these occurrences will be held to a minimum. Prior approval is required by transportation services.
- Special programs benefiting the university - A program that involves students who are performing a specific assignment, e.g., recruitment of prospective students, serving as tour guides, etc., may be authorized to allow unaccompanied student drivers as a special circumstance. Prior approval is required by transportation services.
- Special vehicle needs - Student organizations needing special vehicles to pull large trailers may use university vehicles. Drivers must complete a special defensive driving class offered by transportation services before driving a university vehicle.
- Student organizations - Approved student organizations may rent university vehicles to travel on behalf of their organizations.
All undergraduate students who may be allowed to drive university-owned vehicles are subject to a review of their past driving history before being allowed to drive. This review is accomplished by completing the student driver motor vehicle record request form. The student's department is responsible for maintaining information on whether or not the individual student is allowed to drive university-owned vehicles.
An undergraduate student driver is required to have a valid and current U.S. driver's license. A student will not be allowed to drive a university-owned vehicle if the driving history record shows any of the following:
- Two citations for a moving violation within the last 12 months.
- Two accidents within the last 12 months where the student driver was at fault.
- One accident where the student driver was at fault and one moving violation within the last 12 months.
- One accident where the student driver was at fault or one moving violation in combination with a cautionary notification letter from the department of transportation in the last 12 months.
- One citation for blood alcohol content within the last 12 months. Cases not yet resolved in the courts will be considered grounds for temporarily denying permission to drive a university vehicle.
- A licensing requirement for specialized motor vehicle insurance (i.e., SR-22 automobile liability Insurance) to operate a vehicle.
- Conviction for reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, hit and run, leaving the scene of an accident, license suspension or other crime(s) that results in license suspension.
- Conviction(s) or charges pending due to a violation of statutes that affects his/her driver's license;
- Suspension, revocation or barring of driving privileges for violating statutes, including but not limited to operating while intoxicated (OWI), vehicular homicide, habitual violations;
- Any driving offense punishable as a felony.
University drivers must report any accident or incident of damage involving university vehicles within one business day to transportation services. Accidents resulting in $1,000 or more of damage or involving personal injuries must be reported to the local law enforcement agency and transportation services as soon as possible.
The university driver, regardless of who was hurt, what property was damaged, where it occurred, or who was responsible, must report the incident to transportation services.
Failure to report an accident or incident of damage will be considered in assessing fault to a driver and may result in loss of vehicle, restricted use, or assessment of repair costs or insurance deductibles to the driver's department.
All regent institutions participate in a vehicle self-insurance program that provides liability and collision for damages where fault rests with the university driver. When damage to a vehicle is a result of gross negligence, or where accidents are reasonably avoidable, a charge of up to $500 may be assessed to the department responsible for authorizing use of the vehicle. In cases of gross negligence, or where the driver is clearly at fault, transportation services may further assess to the driver's department part or all of the cost of repairing the vehicle.
Iowa State University has many job classifications and positions that require a valid driver's license and/or special driving certification (e.g. commercial driver's license) as a condition of employment. In addition, many other positions occasionally require employees to drive for purposes of conducting university business. This policy identifies the steps the university will take upon the loss or suspension of a driver's license. The policy reflects regents policy manual 2.1.4 P and Iowa code chapters 321J and 252.
An employee who has been charged with a violation of statutes that affects his/her driver's license, or who has his/her driving privileges suspended, revoked, or barred for violating such statutes, including but not limited to operating while intoxicated (OWI), vehicular homicide or habitual violations, shall not drive any vehicle (personal, rented, or university-owned) for university business for a minimum period of six months or until such time as the Iowa department of transportation or appropriate state licensing agency restores the employee's privilege to drive (e.g., reinstatement of a full driver's license, special driving certification, or permit to drive to and from work and for work-related purposes), whichever is greater.
The suspension of university driving privileges shall take effect upon the university's notice of the charge against the employee. Upon completion of the minimum period of six months, an employee who has been issued a temporary permit to drive to and from work and for work-related purposes by the court or department of transportation may use his or her personal vehicle for university business, but is prohibited from using university or rented vehicles for university business.
An employee who is issued a temporary work permit and intends to use his or her personal vehicle for university business must provide proof of auto liability insurance and evidence of a work permit to the office of risk management for review and approval.
An employee whose job classification or position requires the possession and maintenance of a driver's license and/or any required special driving certifications in order to perform the essential functions of that position's assigned duties and who has that license revoked, rescinded, suspended, or renewal denied, may be, after the exhaustion of all administrative contested case proceedings before the licensing agency, terminated from employment for failure to maintain the necessary qualifications required for that position. (regents policy manual 2.1.4 P)
"Requires the possession and maintenance of" means as stated in the qualifications provisions for the job class or positions.
Other restrictions of university driving privileges may be applied by the manager of transportation services upon a determination of an employee's unsafe driving behavior (e.g., responsibility for an accident, speeding, reckless driving) that would affect the safety, health and welfare of the driver, passengers, or the general public. Other restrictions of university driving privileges while on university business may include, but are not limited to, prohibiting the transportation of passengers, placing geographical limits on vehicular use, establishing limits on the times vehicles may be driven, or preventing the use of university-owned vehicles.
When a job requires the employee to drive, employees whose driving privileges are restricted by a temporary driving permit that requires the installation of an ignition interlock device will make alternative arrangements. An ignition interlock device shall not be installed on any vehicle owned by regent institutions or the state. Employees with this restriction may not use another vehicle with an interlocking device to transport individuals while conducting university business.
An employee who has had his or her driving privileges suspended, revoked or barred for failure to satisfy court ordered child support payments, but to whom the court or department of transportation issues a temporary permit to drive to and from work and for work-related purposes, is prohibited from using university or rented vehicles on university business, but may use his or her personal vehicle for university business after providing proof of auto liability insurance and evidence of a work permit to the office of risk management for review and approval.
Employees or departments may appeal vehicle use restrictions to the fleet safety review board. A written request for appeal should include information on any special circumstances to be considered. Requests should be forwarded to the office of risk management.
The decision of the fleet safety review board may be appealed to the assistant vice president for business services. The decision of the assistant vice president may be appealed to the senior vice president for university services.