Tufts University Fleet Policy

Purpose

To establish policy governing procedures and safety guidelines for use of vehicles owned, rented or leased by Tufts University (“University vehicle” or “University vehicles” or “special equipment“), 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 students, faculty or staff shall be permitted to drive a University vehicle. Becoming an authorized driver and using a University vehicle is a privilege and not a right. An authorized driver may have his or her authorization revoked at any time. Use of a University vehicle is restricted to University related activities only. Any liability arising out of the unauthorized use of a University 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.

In the event of a campus closure (i.e. snow, evacuation), university vehicles cannot be driven unless the employee is designated an essential employee and is driving in the course and scope of their essential job duties.

Personal Vehicles

Students

When using a personal vehicle for University business, the vehicle owner’s personal auto insurance is exclusive and is solely responsible for any and all claims arising out of such use. Tufts does NOT provide insurance coverage or indemnification for any accident or mishap involving students, their passengers, or any third party stemming from the use of privately-owned vehicles, even when they are used in connection with Tufts sponsored programs and activities. The driver (and/or the vehicle owner) of the private vehicle is wholly responsible for any litigation, financial exposure, or other repercussions that may result from its use. Passengers should realize that they are not covered by any Tufts indemnification program or insurance policy while riding as a passenger in a private vehicle operated by a Tufts student.

Faculty/Staff

When using a personal vehicle for University business, the faculty/staff personal auto insurance is primary and is responsible for any claims arising out of such use. In the event the faculty/staff’s automobile liability coverage limits are exceeded, the University’s insurance acts as excess insurance. It is strongly recommended that faculty/staff carry limits of at least $100,000/$300,000 for bodily injury and property damage if you use your vehicle for business purposes.

Driver Approval Process

Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Faculty and Staff

GENERAL VEHICLE OPERATION AND SAFETY RULES

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. http://www.massrmv.com/rmv/dmanual/chapter_4.pdf

In the absence of specific laws, rules, regulations, etc., the driver shall exercise caution and good judgment such a reasonable person would exercise under like circumstances. Seat belts must be used at all times. The number of passengers must not exceed the number of seatbelts and no more than 12 passengers (including the driver) for faculty and staff, or 10 passengers (including the driver) for students, may ride in any van. Standing/sitting in open bed trucks is prohibited. Students are NOT permitted to drive any vehicle that is designed to hold 13 or more passengers, regardless of the number of seats available in the vehicle. Students are NOT permitted to tow a trailer of any size behind a University vehicle, unless previously authorized by the fleet manager. Tufts Drug and Alcohol Policy shall be strictly adhered to. Drinking, possession of intoxicating liquor, illegal drugs in vehicles or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (illegal and prescription or over-the-counter medicines that warn against driving) is prohibited. Trips in excess of 200 miles (400 roundtrip) from Tufts requires an overnight stay, unless a second authorized driver shares the driving responsibility and drivers rotate every three (3) hours. No more than 400 miles may be driven in any one day regardless of the number of qualified drivers that share the driving responsibilities. Driving between midnight and 6am is strongly discouraged. If you need to drive any portion of your trip during these times, please seek prior authorization from the vehicle custodian. In the event of severe weather conditions or driver fatigue, cease driving and stay overnight in a safe place. Please contact TUPD and advise them of your whereabouts and new return time. Use of hand-held or hands-free devices by the driver while operating a University vehicle is prohibited. In case of emergency, drivers should pull over to the side of the road before using a hand-held or hands-free device if passengers are not present to operate such devices. If you are issued a moving violation or parking ticket while operating a University vehicle, this must be immediately reported to the vehicle custodian. Any fines or fees (including attorney fees) resulting from the moving violation or parking ticket are the driver’s sole responsibility and are not considered reimbursable costs. University assumes no responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged property of the driver and passengers of a University vehicle or personal vehicle.

VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

  • Regardless of the severity, call 911 or the local emergency phone number
  • If it is safe to do so, provide aid to injured parties
  • Cooperate with local law enforcement
  • Do not speak or write of fault or assume liability
  • Provide what is needed to the other party in order for a claim to be filed (insurance information contained in the vehicle, as well as your name, address, telephone number and driver’s license number)
  • Report accident to the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) at 617 627 3030. They are available 24/7.
  • Complete accident report and ask for copy. Send copy to Tufts Fleet manager (who will share with TUPD and Risk Management). Failure to report an accident while operating a University vehicle, whether at-fault or not, may result in disciplinary action.
  • In cases of at-fault authorized-use accidents by a Tufts driver, where Tufts is unable to recover financially from a responsiblethird party, the driver’s department, school or program will assume the first $1,000 of any cost associated with the accident.

Vehicle Contact

Most departments or student groups have a contact for all vehicle-related needs. Vehicle contacts are liaisons between Fleet Management and department employees, and perform a number of vehicle-related duties.

They include:

  • Forwarding titles for University vehicles to Fleet Management
  • Developing department-specific procedures when necessary
  • Ensuring that University vehicles are maintained in safe operating condition
  • Ensuring that vehicle registration, insurance identification cards (for CT vehicles only) and at least one blank copy of the MA or CT state accident report are kept in each vehicle,
  • Notifying Fleet Management of the purchase, lease, trade-in, transfer or disposal of a University vehicle.

Vehicles in Excess of 26,000 lbs GVW

If your Department uses vehicles in excess of 26,000 lbs. GVW, certain State and Federal laws apply. Please consult with Fleet Management for guidance. All drivers must be certificated and properly licensed beforehand.

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.

In order to drive a university vehicle you must read this policy.