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safeDRIVE: Driver Safety and Motor Vehicle Use Guidelines

Authorization to Drive a University Vehicle


All drivers of University owned, rented, or leased vehicles


  • As of July 1, 2006, all drivers of University owned, rented, or leased vehicles must be authorized.
  • Prior to driving a University owned, rented or leased vehicle.

All drivers must be authorized, but not all drivers will require training. See Who needs training? below.



  • Minimum 18 years old for operating a University owned vehicle
  • Minimum 21 years old for operating a 12-15 passenger van (owned, rented or leased)
  • Minimum 21 years old for operating a rented or leased vehicle
  • Valid United States driver's license
  • Successfully pass appropriate training for the type of vehicle you are operating (see below)
  • Motor vehicle record check may be required

Who needs training?

  • If driving is indicated as part of the essential functions of your job duties on the Human Resources Job Description Form
  • If driving a 12-15 passenger van (specific for vehicle type)
  • If driving a passenger van (any size)
  • Drivers who routinely drive University owned, rented or leased vehicles (routinely: 6 times per year or greater)
  • All student drivers

What kind of training?

The Insurance Office, x39481, can assist with determining the appropriate training for the type of driving you will be doing.

The online training is made available through the Insurance Office at no charge to University departments. However, if a driver is provided with a user ID and password for the online driver training and does not complete the course within 30 days, the department will be charged a fee of $25.

For drivers operating vehicles owned by, rented, or leased for University business, a motor vehicle record check may be required.

Only authorized drivers affiliated with Brown University shall be permitted to drive a University vehicle. Use of a University vehicle is restricted to authorized University related activities. Any damages and/or liabilities arising out of the personal use, in violation of University policy, of a University owned, rented or leased vehicle is the sole responsibility of the driver. The University will expect the driver's personal auto insurance to respond in the event of an accident or any other event arising out of such personal use.

Driver and Passenger Safety Guidelines

  1. Driver must be at least 18 years old (21 for operating rented or leased vehicles and 12-15 passenger vans) and in possession of a valid United States driver's license at all times when operating a vehicle for University related use.(Special RI license requirements may need to be met for certain types of driving e.g. chauffeur's license or CDL.)
  2. Driver must operate vehicles in accordance with applicable local, state and federal laws and University Policies
  3. Smoking is prohibited in all vehicles.
  4. The number of passengers permitted in any vehicle may not exceed the number of seat belts. All occupants of the vehicle are required to wear seatbelts. (No more than 10 passengers are to be permitted in passenger vans even if they are equipped to seat a greater number.)
  5. Drinking and/or possession of alcohol, other intoxicating substances or illegal drugs in vehicles or driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited.
  6. For long distance trips, if there is more than one qualified driver, such drivers should consider rotating every two hours. No driver should drive more than 10 hours during a 24 hour period. If there are not enough drivers to rotate, an overnight stay should be planned. Avoid driving past midnight.
  7. Front passenger should remain awake to help keep the driver alert.
  8. Avoid conditions that lead to loss of control - driving while sleepy or inattentive, driving too fast for road conditions, or engaging in any other activities that could lead to distraction.
  9. If the weather is inclement, stop and stay overnight in a safe place.
  10. Cell phone use while driving is not recommended and in some states not permitted. Stop the vehicle in a safe area to use a cell phone or have a passenger use the cell phone.
  11. All off-campus accidents should be reported immediately to the local police department. If an accident occurs on campus, Brown Public Safety should be notified. All accidents should also be reported to Brown University Insurance Office (863-1681.)
  12. Turn off the vehicle, remove the keys, and lock the vehicle when it is left unattended.

12-15 Passenger Van Safety Guidelines (in addition to the guidelines above):

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research report reinforces earlier research by that body that 15-passenger vans have a rollover risk that increases dramatically as the number of occupants increases to full capacity. The increased loading of these vans causes the center of gravity to shift higher and toward the rear, thereby increasing the likelihood of rollover. The center of gravity shift also results in less driver control of the vehicle in panic situations.

According to the NHTSA Action Plan for 15-passenger van safety, "...while this plan focuses on 15-passenger vans, the actions identified also related to 12-passenger vans which are similar to vans configured for 15 passengers in terms of design, handling, characteristics, and safety problems."

In accordance with our receipt of this information regarding the safety concerns of 12-15 passenger vans, effective September 2004, Brown University has begun to phase out the use of these vehicles with a goal of removing them completely from the University fleet as vehicles are replaced. This includes short term rentals. In the interim, the following guidelines need to be implemented by departments and offices that own, lease, or rent 12-15 passenger vans:

  1. All 12-15 passenger vans, whether Brown owned, leased or rented, should always be operated by drivers (minimum-21 years old) who have taken the Insurance Office web based driver training course. Drivers need to understand the handling characteristics of vans, especially when fully loaded. (Contact the Insurance Office 863-9481 to sign up for training.)
  2. Vehicle operators should assure that all their passengers are wearing their seat belts. (The NHTSA indicates that the chance of an individual being killed in a rollover is decreased by about 75% just by wearing a seat belt.)
  3. Evenly load the vehicles and load front first. The driver should be advised to implement this guideline.
  4. Limit the occupant number to 10 or less. According to the NHTSA, heavily loaded 12-15 passenger vans - those with 10 or more passengers - have increased chance of rollover.
  5. Luggage should be placed in the rear behind the back seat. Roof racks should be removed. (Roof loads raise the center of gravity, and hence, the risk of rollover.)
  6. Check tire pressure regularly. Excessively worn or improperly inflated tires can lead to a loss-of-control situation and a rollover.
  7. Use charter buses or other contracted transport or minivans for long trips. Use 12-15 passenger vans only for shorter trips - 300 miles or less one way.
  8. Adhere to all speed limits. Avoid extreme panic-like over-steering.
  9. Insurance must be purchased through Rental Agency (supplemental liability and loss damage or collision damage) even if you use your Brown AMEX card.

Exceptions may be requested by sending a memo to the Director of Insurance who will consult with the appropriate Senior Officer.

Click here to see the NHTSA 15 passenger van warning.

Departments that own 12-15 passenger vans should print the informational "hang tag" available on the NHTSA website, and place it in their department's 12-15 passenger van where drivers and passengers can view it. (It is not advisable to hang it from the mirror as it may obstruct the driver's view.)

Additional information on reducing the rollover risk can be found at

Trailer Towing

Towing a trailer adds a significant risk to automobile operations. Important safety information regarding towing vehicles can be found at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website:

Motor Vehicle Records Criteria

The University reserves the right to temporarily or permanently terminate driving privileges on the basis of an individual's driving record, regardless of when incidents occurred.

Department vehicle coordinator should regularly perform a visual check of driver's licenses to assure they possess a valid driver's license. A periodic motor vehicle record check is recommended for those who regularly driver or when violations are suspected.

Driving privileges for operating vehicles on behalf of the University may be revoked and disciplinary action may result, up to and including termination of employment, due to accident or violation experience, falsification of records, or any failure to comply with these regulations.

If involved in three incidents, a driver may lose their driving privileges. (A singular incident that in the judgment of the University is sufficiently severe may also result in a termination of driving privileges.) Reinstatement of driving privileges may be granted upon the completion of further driver training or evidence that other appropriate measures have been taken and approved by the Insurance Office.

Violations are not considered reimbursable costs under the University's Travel Policy. All violations, including parking and speeding tickets, will be the responsibility of the driver, not Brown University.

Use of Personal Vehicles

Mileage reimbursement for use of an employee's personal vehicle to conduct University business is outlined in the University's travel policy. This reimbursement ins intended to cover the costs to operate an employee's vehicle, including insurance costs. The University's insurance is always excess over any personal automobile insurance carried by the employee, who uses his/her personal auto on University business. The University recommends that employees who regularly use their vehicles on University business maintain auto liability insurance with limits of at least $100,000 for bodily injury.

Refer to:

Vehicle Rental Guidelines

Refer to:

If an Accident Occurs

  1. If on or near campus, do not leave the scene of an accident. Call Public Safety for EMS services if there are any injuries and for reporting the accident at 863-4111. If away from campus, call 911.
  2. Contact your supervisor immediately after contacting authorities & EMS personnel.
  3. Make no statement that would assume any obligation or admit liability.
  4. Provide the other party with insurance information contained in the vehicle, as well as your name, address and phone number.
  5. Complete the Brown University Auto Accident Report Form within 48 hours and submit to the Insurance Office, fax 863-1566.
  6. Rental car accidents must be reported to the rental agency as well as the Insurance Office.
  7. If involved in an accident in RI, in which damages in excess of $1,000 are involved, you must file an accident report with the RI Department of Transportation Safety Responsibility Section. (Forms are available online at the Registry of Motor Vehicles website.)
  8. State accident report filings vary and must be submitted accordingly. Ask the investigating officer for details

To file a claim for damage to a University owned vehicle

  1. Complete the Brown University Auto Accident Report Form within 48 hours and submit to the Insurance Office, fax 863-1566 with a copy of the driver's Authorized Driver Form.
  2. Obtain an itemized quote for repair. If the cost is below $500, the department will bear the entire cost.
  3. When the Insurance Office authorizes the repair, the department will proceed with a Purchase Order.
  4. Upon completion of the repair work, the department must provide a copy of the Purchase Order and final invoice from auto repair facility to the Insurance Office after it has been paid.
  5. The Insurance Office will then process an Interdepartmental Invoice (less the $500 deductible) to reimburse the department's account.
  6. All claims must be processed within 90 days of the incident.

Responsibilities for Departments with vehicles and/or drivers

  1. Identify a departmental vehicle coordinator who will:
    • Be familiar with safeDRIVE: Driver Safety and Motor Vehicle Use Guidelines
    • Ensure that the appropriate authorization process takes place for all drivers prior to driving
    • Maintain records of authorized drivers
    • Confirm that all drivers have taken appropriate training
    • Ensure that departmental vehicle rentals follow University Auto Rental Policies
  2. Maintain vehicles in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations for each specific vehicle.
  3. Maintain vehicles and their tires. Worn or under inflated tires can increase the risk of rollover.
  4. Routinely inspect vehicles including, but not limited to:
    1. Oil/fuel levels
    2. Windshield wipers and fluid
    3. Tire inflation/tire condition
    4. Mirrors
    5. Lights
    6. Horn
    7. Leaks (coolant or oil on the ground under vehicle)
    8. Safety restraint systems (seatbelts)
  5. Maintain vehicle logs for records of maintenance, inspection and use. (Vehicle use logs should include a process for reporting damage and/or service issues to the vehicle coordinator.)
  6. Place insurance ID cards, registration and accident report kits in each vehicle.
  7. Adhere to State of RI vehicle inspection requirements.
  8. Remove any unsafe vehicle from service.
  9. Work with Purchasing to surplus, trade in, or acquire new University vehicles.
  10. Report changes in vehicles owned to the Insurance Office so that insurance coverage can be adjusted accordingly.
  11. Pay for the annual cost of insuring the department's vehicles and bear the cost of insurance deductibles in the event of an accident.

Failure to comply with guidelines

Failure to comply with these guidelines, by a department or driver, will result in the department bearing a minimum of $1,000, up to 100% of the financial burden incurred by the University.