Policy Number: 205
Automobile Insurance Coverage for Employees and Requirements for the Use of University Owned or Operated Vehicles
I. POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT
This policy outlines insurance policies covering the authorized use of vehicles owned and operated by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ("university"), procedures for updating the inventory of vehicles and related information, requirements for the use of vehicles, requirements for authorization of drivers and procedures for reporting vehicle accidents or occurrences.
At-Fault Accidents: Each at-fault accident counts as two (2) points. If a moving traffic violation conviction appears on a driving record along with an accident on the same date, this usually means that person was at-fault in the accident. Accidents shall be reviewed by the insurance company and Risk Management and Insurance shall make a determination if there is an at-fault question. Accident reports may be obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Authorized driver: An employee of the university who is eligible to operate a university-owned vehicle for official university business and who has been authorized to use vehicles for official university business in accordance with this policy. To be eligible an employee must hold a valid driver's license issued by the State where the employee permanently resides, have an acceptable driving record, and have the necessary driver training.
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:
- has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 11,794 kg or more (26,001 pounds or more) inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 4,356 kilograms (10,000 pounds) ; or
- is designed used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver); or
- 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, 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 university's payroll.
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.
Type A Violations: Convictions for Type A violations count as four (4) points against an authorized driver's or applicant's record. Type A violations include:
Criminal negligent homicide - 1st or 2nd degree
Murder - with motor vehicle
Driving while intoxicated ("DWI")
Driving while under the influence of drugs ("DUI")
Fleeing from police officer
Drag Racing / Speeding Contest
Felony use of CMV - controlled substance
Aggravated Assault with motor vehicle
Felony use of CMV
Driving while license suspended
Driving while license disqualified - CMV
For the purposes of this policy, the definition of a DUI/DWI conviction means: being convicted, receiving a probated sentence, or pleading no contest for driving a commercial or non-commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or while intoxicated.
Type B Violations: Convictions for Type B violations count as one (1) point against an authorized driver's or applicant's record. Type B violations are all moving traffic violations not listed above as a Type A violation. Type B violations do not include non-moving administrative offenses (examples: out-dated inspection stickers, no proof of insurance, license plate missing).
University-owned vehicle: A vehicle to which the university holds title or a vehicle leased by the university for more than one year.
Vehicle: Equipment of a motorized, vehicular nature, which requires a State driver's license to operate. This does not include riding lawnmowers or other vehicles that normally operate off public thoroughfares, except for incidental crossing of a public roadway.
A. INSURANCE COVERAGE
1. University-Owned Vehicles (including long-term (>1 yr.) lease vehicles)
Under the provisions of Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 101.027 and Texas Government Code Section 612.002, liability insurance has been purchased for employees of the university covering liability arising from the use and operation of university-owned and operated vehicles while on official university business.
Automobile liability coverage is provided for authorized drivers of university-owned vehicles through The University of Texas System-wide automobile liability policy. Under the terms of the policy, the insurance company will periodically audit the inventory of vehicles covered.
Risk Management and Insurance shall update all vehicle information (additions, deletions and changes) through the UT System Risk Management Information System in accordance with UT System Policy 157 Automobile Insurance Coverage for Officers and Employees and General Requirements for the Use of Vehicles.
2. Rental (Hired) Vehicles (including short-term (<1 yr.) lease vehicles)
When an employee rents a vehicle from a rental company under contract with the Building and Procurement Commission ("contracted company"), liability, comprehensive and collision insurance coverage are automatically provided. The "Hired/Non-Owned" policy provides coverage that is in excess of the insurance secured through the rental agreement.
When a contracted company is not used, employees should not waive the supplemental liability and physical damage insurance coverage offered by the non-contract company. However, when an employee inadvertently waives insurance, the Hired/Non-Owned policy will provide liability, comprehensive and collision coverage on a primary basis.
Departments must notify Risk Management & Insurance 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:
- Dates insurance coverage is needed;
- City and state where the vehicle is being rented;
- Name, address and phone number of the rental company;
- Make, model, license number, vehicle identification number and value of vehicle;
- Names of the individuals who will be driving the vehicle; and
- Purpose of the rental.
If renting a vehicle for use within the country of Mexico, refer to Section E of this policy for additional information.
If a rental or leasing company requires a copy of the Certificate of Insurance before releasing the vehicle, the employee needs to notify Risk Management & Insurance. The same information listed above is needed. Risk Management & Insurance will notify the UT System Office of Risk Management.
If a rental vehicle is involved in an accident, the driver shall follow the post-accident claims procedures in this policy.
3. Rental (Hired) Charter Bus Vehicles [including short-term (<1 year) 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. Employees having a need to rent a chartered bus should contact Risk Management & Insurance as the agreement with the charter or bus company must follow certain contract requirements.
4. Personal (Non-University Owned) Vehicles
Employees are strongly discouraged from using personal vehicles for conducting official university business. The employee's personal auto insurance is primary at all times when the employee utilizes their own vehicle to conduct official university business. The "Hired/Non-Owned" policy provides liability coverage only 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.
Employees using personal vehicles for conducting official university business must have a valid driver's license issued by the State where they permanently reside that is not currently suspended or revoked and they must carry auto liability insurance that meets the minimum requirements in their state of residence.
If an employee using his or her personal vehicle for official university business is involved in an accident, the employee must notify Risk Management & Insurance immediately by calling 713-500-8100. Employees shall follow the post accident claims procedures in this policy if a personal vehicle is involved in an accident while being used for official university business.
5. Travel Outside of the United States of America
The UT System Office of Risk Management has purchased an "International Package Policy" that provides coverage for autos 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 owned private passenger vehicles and hired/non-owned vehicles. Most rental car agencies in foreign countries will require that you purchase their insurance in order to rent their vehicles. The international auto insurance would be excess over the coverage that you purchase from the rental agency.
The UT System Office of Risk Management has also purchased a "Mexico Tourist policy." When traveling into Mexico on official university business, UT Drivers must have in their possession a Vehicle specific Mexico auto ID card and a copy of the "Mexico Tourist Policy." These documents are required to be carried by Mexico law. The "Mexico Tourist Policy" provides liability and physical damage coverage for owned private passenger autos and hired vehicles, and liability for non-owned vehicles.
Each year prior to renewal of the "Mexico Tourist Policy," the university must advise the UT System Office of Risk Management of any university-owned vehicles that will be used for Mexico travel throughout the year. Departments must provide the year, make, model, and vehicle identification number of the vehicles they want listed on the policy to Risk Management and Insurance for reporting to UT System. These departments will be given a Mexico auto ID card for these vehicles as well as a copy of the policy. If a university-owned vehicle that was not submitted for the renewal is being used, contact Risk Management & Insurance and provide the year, make, model, and vehicle identification number of the vehicle. Risk Management & Insurance will obtain a Mexico auto ID card and a copy of the policy from the UT System Office of Risk Management.
Additionally, the UT System Office of Risk Management has obtained approval from AVIS and Enterprise Rent-A-Car allowing the university to use its "Mexico Tourist Policy" to cover their rented vehicles when traveling into Mexico. When renting a vehicle in Texas for use in Mexico from either of these two vendors, the employee making the reservation for the rental vehicle should contact the UT System Office of Risk Management at (512) 499-4447 with the name of the driver(s) and the dates they will be using the rental car in Mexico. The UT System Office of Risk Management will provide Risk Management and Insurance with a Mexico auto ID card. The spaces on the card for the vehicle description and identification number will be blank. The driver(s) needs to ensure that they enter the vehicle description and identification number of the vehicle they are renting on the Mexico auto ID card before leaving the rental agency. The UT System Office of Risk Management will also provide Risk Management and Insurance with a copy of the university's approval letter from either AVIS or Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The employee should take the Mexico auto ID card, the "Mexico Tourist Policy," and the approval letter with them to the rental counter. The driver(s) should keep the rental contract, Mexico auto ID card and "Mexico Tourist Policy" in the rental car at all times while in Mexico.
B. REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AUTHORIZATION OF DRIVERS
Authorization of drivers for the use of vehicles for official university business shall be limited to employees of the university unless otherwise approved in writing by the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating and Financial Officer ("EVPCOFO") or designee as specified below.
The EVPCOFO or designee may use his/her discretion to approve the limited use of any university owned, leased or rented motor vehicles for official university business. This approval authority applies only to:
- Third-party contractors utilizing university owned vehicles for the purpose of meeting its responsibilities under a university contract. All contracts that may allow the use of university owned vehicles by non-employees shall be reviewed by the UT System Office of Risk Management to ensure that adequate transfer of liability is included in the contract language.
- Use of university owned vehicles by non-student volunteers.
The EVPCOFO or designee shall ensure that any approval given to operate a university owned or leased vehicle must meet all requirements of an Authorized Driver as described in this policy. Students shall not be granted authority to drive.
Risk Management & Insurance shall maintain a list of all authorized drivers of university-owned vehicles (listed alphabetically) to include:
- Driver's name (as it appears on his or her license)
- Driver's license number
- Date of birth
- Driving status (acceptable or not acceptable)
- Date of last training/counseling
- Notations regarding any misconduct with the vehicle, any reprimands concerning his or her driving, any positive remarks regarding his or her safe driving.
Motor Vehicle Record ("MVR") Checks.
Before employing a person as an authorized driver of a university-owned vehicle for official university business, each department shall request from Risk Management & Insurance an MVR showing a history going back at least 36 months which 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 Risk Management and Insurance:
- at least every twelve months after initially authorized;
- promptly after the employee has been involved in an automobile accident while driving on official university business; and
- promptly after the employee receives a moving traffic citation while on official university business.
Authorized drivers and persons seeking a position that requires authorization to operate a university-owned vehicle for official university business will be evaluated on the most recent three-year history reflected on their MVR and points will be assigned by Risk Management & Insurance according to the definitions in this policy for Type A Violations, Type B Violations and At-Fault Accidents. If the total points equal four or more for the immediately preceding 36 months, the person shall not be authorized to operate a university-owned vehicle for official university business. As noted above, if the Risk Management & Insurance program is unable to obtain a three-year driving record history, the EVPCOFO or designee may use his/her discretion to authorize the employee to operate a university-owned vehicle for official university business.
An authorized driver of a university-owned vehicle shall immediately report to his or her supervisor a suspension or revocation of the driver's license or any Type A violation as defined in this policy, 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 termination of employment. 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 while operating a university-owned vehicle for official university business.
An employee who operates a university-owned, rented, leased, or personal vehicle for official university business at a time when his or her license is suspended or revoked, shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
Authorized drivers of university-owned vehicles must attend training at least every three years. A driving exam is administered by Risk Management & Insurance.
OPERATION OF 12 and 15-PASSENGER VANS
12 and 15-passenger vans can 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. All operators of 12 and 15-passenger vans must attend van-specific training, including behind the wheel on the road training at least every three years.
12 and 15-passenger vans shall not be used to carry more than 9 occupants (including the driver) at any one time, except as provided in the following sentence. At the discretion of the EVPCOFO or designee, the university may use a 12 and 15-passenger van to carry between 10 and a maximum of 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.
Seat belts must be used at all times by all occupants of 12 and 15-passenger vans.
12 and 15-passengar vans must be loaded properly. Employees must 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.
Tires must be inspected to assure they are properly inflated and not worn.
A driver may operate the vehicle no more than ten hours in any twenty-four hour period. Trips requiring more than ten hours driving time to reach a point of destination will require overnight lodging.
Van drivers shall take a mandatory thirty-minute rest break every four hours.
For trips scheduled for longer than two hours, a navigator must be assigned to assist each driver. The navigator must stay awake while on duty.
Special 12-passenger Van Provisions for Newer Vehicles
12-passenger vans that meet all of the following criteria may be used to carry more than 9 passengers (including the driver):
- 12-passenger vans must not be a converted, modified, or otherwise altered 15-passenger van.
- 12-passenger vans must have a wheel base of approximately 135 inches or more.
- 12-passenger vans must not have the ability to seat more than 12 passengers including the driver and have assigned seatbelts for each seat.
- 12-passenger vans must be equipped with an Electronic Stability Control ("ESC") or Traction Control System ("TCS").
- 12-passenger vans should also be equipped with other safety features, such as front and side curtain air bags, anti-lock brakes, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Commercial Drivers License (CDL)
A CDL is required of authorized drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles ("CMV"s) for official university business if one of the following conditions is met:
- 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); or
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more); or
- Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or
- 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, Part 172, Subpart F.
In accordance with the US 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. Risk Management and Insurance is responsible for adopting a drug and alcohol-testing program that meets the regulatory requirements.
C. POST ACCIDENT CLAIMS PROCEDURES
While at the scene of the accident, authorized 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 authorized driver shall provide this information to Risk Management & Insurance.
Authorized drivers of university-owned vehicles 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. Authorized drivers should not make any representations regarding insurance coverage or admit fault to other parties involved in the accident, because the insurance company's adjuster will make the determination of coverage available under the insurance policy and assess liability.
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