Motor Vehicle Administration and Guidelines
Motor vehicles are an accepted part of everyday life and essential to the accomplishment of the goals of the University of Maine System (University). However, by their very nature, vehicles on and off University locations pose a significant risk to University faculty, administration, staff, students, visitors, and the general public. In response to this risk, the University has developed Administrative Practice Letter (APL) Section II-B outlining the University’s motor vehicle administration and required guidelines.
The vehicle procedures outlined in APL Section II-B apply System-wide. However, APL Section II-B represents the minimum policy guidelines or requirements of the University. Each university (henceforth “campus”) can elect to incorporate additional restrictions or requirements to serve the best interest of the individual campus or its employees.
The University of Maine System remains committed reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Therefore, as vehicles are purchased, alternative energy sources and energy efficient options will be explored.
The System Office reserves the right to audit compliance to this APL and to change either System or campus procedures when necessary to respond to an ever changing risk and insurance environment.
II. University vehicles and vehicle administration defined
A. University Vehicles
“University Vehicles” include all vehicles owned or leased by the University, as well as all vehicles rented or borrowed for University use. All such vehicles fall under the authority of the Campus Vehicle Administrator and University System Risk Manager, as defined below, including vehicles controlled by individual campus departments or colleges. In addition, personally owned vehicles used to conduct University business must be driven in compliance with this APL where applicable.
Important: Due to safety risks, use of motorcycles and mopeds are prohibited for use in conjunction with University related business.
B. Campus Vehicle Administrator
Each university must designate a campus “Vehicle Administrator” with explicit authority and responsibility for the administration of all vehicle standards, including the requirements outlined in this APL. The name of that individual should be provided to the University System Risk Manager. The Vehicle Administrator may designate one or more employees to carry out the functions of vehicle administration; however, ultimate responsibility lies with the Vehicle Administrator.
The Vehicle Administrator will maintain records on University drivers and vehicles. Such records should include but are not limited to the following: approved and prohibited drivers, driver license information (for class C drivers), pertinent information on vehicles (year, make, model, identification number, plate number, date of purchase), maintenance records, vehicle usage, and vehicle accidents and misuse. The decision of whether or not an individual’s record is acceptable lies with the Campus Motor Vehicle Administrator based on established criteria. Driver record review criteria will be determined by the University System Risk Manager (see Attachment I).
C. University System Risk Manager
The University System Risk Manager (Risk Manager) is the System-wide authority for all University vehicle administration and guidelines. The University System Risk Manager has the authority to ensure that all System vehicle policies and procedures are adhered to, and acts as a resource for consultation to the campuses regarding University vehicle issues. Any exceptions to System vehicle policies and procedures need to be approved by the University System Risk Manager. This role also has authority to change a campus decision regarding vehicle issues, including vehicle use or drivers, whenever it is in the best interest of the University. The University System Risk Manager will resolve any issues or conflicts regarding vehicles, including interpretation of this APL.
The University System Risk Manager is also responsible for overseeing University vehicle insurance and claims. Information regarding University vehicles and accidents or misuses must be submitted to the Risk Management department by the campus in accordance with Section XII of this APL.
All drivers of University vehicles are subject to University and insurance company verification of their driving record.
III. Vehicle acquisition & registration; rentals & private vehicles
A. Owned and Leased Vehicles
The following regulations control the acquisition and registration of vehicles owned or leased by the University of Maine System:
- All purchases and leases must follow procedures outlined in APL Section VII-A University of Maine System Purchasing Procedures.
- All campuses should plan and coordinate their vehicle purchasing strategy with Strategic Procurement to ensure the best possible value. A number of options are available and each one’s cost will be analyzed based on the business case for the campus.
- All vehicle purchase, sales, and lease agreements, titles and registrations must be in the name of the University of Maine System, 46 University Drive, Robinson Hall, Augusta, ME 04330.
- All University owned and leased vehicles must carry University (300 series) license plate.
- The campus Chief Financial Officer or designee may sign purchasing contracts and leases for 300 series plate vehicles. Purchasing contracts and leases for all other vehicles must be signed by the System Treasurer or designee.
- All registrations must be processed by Risk Management in the System Office. Original titles and copies of registrations are maintained at the System Office.
- New vehicles should be purchased or leased instead of purchasing or leasing used vehicles whenever possible. New vehicles typically meet higher safety and environmental standards and benefit from manufacturer assistance to dealers for governmental agencies. The purchase of a used vehicle must be approved by the University System Risk Manager. The University System Risk Manager reserves the right to allow campuses to purchase used vehicles for maintenance and operations purposes.
B. Rented or Borrowed Vehicles
- Campuses may contract for the rental of vehicles, not to receive 300 series plates, for a period not to exceed six months; for longer periods, rentals will be considered as leases and be subject to all lease requirements. Consecutive rentals to avoid compliance with this requirement are not allowed.
- No vehicle may be rented or borrowed that contradicts any requirement found in this APL, without specific prior approval from the University System Risk Manager.
- No vehicle may be rented or borrowed when the campus has knowledge of safety problems or concerns, such as vehicles with a U.S. Department of Transportation Advisory or Warning. An exception may be made if adherence to the recommendations of any U.S. Department of Transportation Advisory or Warning fully corrects or addresses all safety problems or concerns.
- It is the renter’s responsibility to purchase physical damage insurance coverage for rented vehicles.
- If a rental vehicle will be used for personal use, such as side trips, the vehicle must be rented in the individual’s name.
- Refer to APL Section IV-B Travel and Expense Procedures on use of rental vehicles for University Travel.
C. Private or Personally Owned Vehicles
It is ordinarily in the best interests of the University to use University-owned vehicles for conducting University business. If this is not possible or practical, personally owned vehicles may be used. Such use is solely at the discretion of the vehicle owner and vehicle driver. Personally owned vehicles used for University-related business should be properly registered, inspected, insured, and appropriate for such use, as determined by the vehicle driver. No private vehicle may be used for University business if the vehicle or usage contradicts this APL. The University will not reimburse an employee, student, or other private owner, or other insurer, for any deductible or liability claim paid by their auto insurance or for any damage to a personally owned vehicle. See Attachment II for additional information. Privately owned vehicles drivers must meet the requirements of APL II- B section IV regarding University Approved Drivers.
IV. University approved drivers
Only University approved drivers are permitted to drive University vehicles, whether owned, rented or leased. A “University Approved Driver” is a driver who has requested the privilege to drive on University Business and the Vehicle Administrator has approved the request. Requirements for approval are outlined in this section.
- All University drivers must be made aware of University requirements regarding vehicle use as outlined in this APL.
- The University reserves the right to deny driving privileges to any individual.
- University approved drivers may drive vehicles from another campus subject to approval verification, availability, and guidelines of the campus that controls the vehicle.
- All persons driving University vehicles must be properly licensed to drive in Maine. State law requires residents who drive University vehicles to have a Maine license, but allows nonresidents to drive on a valid license from their home state or province. Drivers from countries other than the U.S. or Canada must have a valid and verifiable driver’s license to drive legally in Maine. Drivers must have their license in their possession when operating a University vehicle.
- Failure to comply with this APL will result in disciplinary action, and/or may result in suspension or termination of University vehicle driving privileges. Potential drivers may be required to satisfactorily complete driver training or testing, at the Vehicle Administrator’s discretion, based on campus guidelines and the vehicle being driven.
- Except in an emergency situation, or evaluation on a case-by-case basis by the University System Risk Manager, no one is allowed to drive a University vehicle if they are not a University approved driver, including co-workers, contractors, visitors, friends, spouses or other family members. It is the University approved driver’s responsibility not to permit any unauthorized person to operate a vehicle assigned exclusively to them or their department. The University System Risk Manager may coordinate this decision with the Chief Business Officer or other University leaders on a case by case basis.
- Any exceptions to these guidelines must be approved through the University System Risk Manager.
The campus Vehicle Administrator will obtain the official driving record of drivers with Maine licenses. Unless the campus has internal means to check records, drivers with licenses from another state or country must provide proof of their driving record; acceptable proof can be a copy of the state or country’s official Motor Vehicle Record. Failure to adhere to the criteria may jeopardize the University’s insurance; in such instances, the campus permitting the usage without System Risk Manager approval, may be required to fund any costs resulting from that usage.
A University vehicle driver will not be allowed to continue to drive for University business and may be subject to disciplinary action for the following violations:
- Operation of a University Vehicle when ones license has expired, been revoked or suspended;
- Operating a vehicle while utilizing a mobile device, including texting;
- Violation of Operating Under the Influence (OUI) laws or other major traffic violation (major violations are determined and defined by the State);
- Misrepresentation of a driving record;
- Misrepresentation of the reason and/or authority to operate or use a University Vehicle;
These violations can suspend driving privileges for at least 3 years. If an abundance of incidents continue to occur while utilizing a motor vehicle, driver training may be required before the driver can use a vehicle on University Business.
An approved University driver must report immediately to the Vehicle Administrator any change in license status, such as license suspension. Any citation or violation received while operating a University vehicle must be reported. In addition, all moving violations and at-fault accidents must be reported, even if the violation or accident occurred while operating a vehicle other than a University owned vehicle. The Vehicle Administrator will use Attachment 1 of APL IIB to determine if the driver’s record is acceptable. Any exceptions will be determined by the University System Risk Manager.
Both the driver and the department or employee requesting the driver’s approval will be notified, in most instances, if it is determined that a driver is not approved for driving for University business.
V. Age requirement
- No one under 18 years of age shall be permitted to drive for University business.
- Drivers aged 21 years old and over may drive 12 passenger vans with proper training administered through the Motor Vehicle Administrator or approved designee.
- All student drivers must complete the United Educator’s Driver Safety Course: https://learn.ue.org/6B4PJ894216/MaineDriverSafety
The affiliation ID for participation is 6B4PJ894216.
Proof of completion shall be submitted to the Motor Vehicle Administrator.
Note: New registrants will be required to create an account with United Educators.
- Exceptions to age requirements must be approved through the University System Risk Management department.
VI. Buses, vans, trucks
- University buses, mini-buses, vans, mini-vans or trucks may be driven only by persons with an appropriate license and whose ability to handle such vehicles has been demonstrated, through a test-drive of the type of vehicle involved.
- The University System strictly prohibits the use of 15-passenger vans.
VII. New Hires
If driving is a documented job duty and requirement, Human Resources will conduct, during their initial background screen, a Motor Vehicle Record check. Any adverse employment decision will require the review of the Motor Vehicle Report by the University System Risk Manager to understand if the applicant can utilize a motor vehicle on University business as a University Approved Driver. Reference APL II B Attachment 1.
Human Resources will inform Campus Vehicle Administrator of any drivers approved through the hiring process. Only vehicle records for employees whose primary job function involves driving shall be maintained in the employee file.
VIII. Student drivers
If necessary and appropriate to fulfill the mission of the University, it may be permissible to have enrolled students drive University vehicles, but only for University related and sponsored business.
- The student must become an approved University driver.
- The University System Risk Manager has the authority to make the final decision regarding student drivers.
- University faculty or staff person responsible for the activity and with the authority to approve, must authorize the student to drive and such authorization must be identified at the time the vehicle is signed out.
- Whenever possible, a staff or faculty member should be in the vehicle during usage.
- Students employed by the University are still considered students and not employees with regard to driving privileges.
IX. Volunteer drivers
In special circumstances, the University System Risk Manager can approve University volunteers as drivers if it is in the University’s best interest. Volunteer drivers must be a University-approved volunteer and meet the requirements established to become a University approved driver.
X. University guests
If a visiting speaker, performer, lecturer or other guest of the University is to be provided with transportation:
- The guest is responsible for renting the vehicle in his or her name from an outside rental firm.
- Charges should be reimbursed or included in the contract value, if appropriate, by the hosting University campus or campus department.
- The University guest is responsible for liability and physical damage coverage. The University guest will be responsible for any claims that result from his or her usage of the vehicle.
XI. Vehicle use guidelines
The following guidelines control the use of all University vehicles:
- University Vehicles are to be used only for University business and activities.
- Drivers must operate University vehicles in accordance with these guidelines and rules of the State of operation.
- The Vehicle Administrator has the authority to deny or revoke an individual’s authorization to use University vehicles if that individual does not comply with University policies, or exhibits poor judgment of any kind while operating a University vehicle.
- Departments with vehicles under their control must abide by the System and campus guidelines and requirements. Departmentally-controlled vehicles fall within the scope of the authority granted the Vehicle Administrator.
- Except in rare instances, all passengers must be participating in University business or a University-sponsored activity at the time they are traveling in a University vehicle. Passengers should be limited to employees and students of the University, others on University business, and individuals engaged in courtesies by or for the University. Any exceptions must be approved by the University System Risk Manager.
- No University vehicle can be used to carry passengers for a fee (public livery). Such action may void the University’s insurance. Discovery of this will result in disciplinary action, including revocation of driving privileges
- Employees must follow the safety and security guidelines outlined in APL Section VII-D Cellular Telephone Acquisition, Use and Reimbursement. Only hands-free mobile devices may be used while operating a vehicle. Reference 4 MRSA § 20. Refer to APL Section VII-D for additional details.
- Distracted Driving is a major safety hazard. Refrain from any activity considered distracting while operating a motor vehicle.
- Hitchhikers are not permitted in University vehicles.
- No driver shall transport more passengers or a heavier load than the vehicle is designed to carry. In order to evaluate this, the Vehicle Administrator should be made aware and shall approve before commission of the load.
- University vehicles must not be loaned, rented or leased to University employees, students or others for non-University use or activities. Also, the use of University vehicles for personal gain, such as delivery of goods or services, is prohibited.
- Prior to operating a University vehicle, drivers or the person responsible for signing out the vehicle should inspect the vehicle for safety concerns, such as checking tires, wipers, horn, lights and other safety equipment for observable defects. Any defects should be reported immediately to the Vehicle Administrator to determine if the vehicle is safe to operate. The responsibility of inspecting the vehicles prior to use may also be assumed by the Vehicle Administrator.
- Drivers must protect University vehicles and property from theft or vandalism.
- The University is not responsible for personal articles lost or stolen from a University vehicle.
- No vehicle with University (300- ) plates may be kept overnight at the home of a University employee or student. The driver’s supervisor may approve an exception for a specific trip in the case of an early morning departure or a late day return, which will be shortened by leaving from or returning to the home location. Such permission may be granted to increase safety, efficiency and reduce University costs. Individual campuses may require additional approval by the Vehicle Administrator.
- All operators and passengers of University vehicles must wear seat belts whenever seatbelts are available. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure that all passengers wear their seat belts.
- Violators of this APL are subject to disciplinary action by the University.
- No animals are allowed in University vehicles, except in instances where this is an appropriate intended use of the vehicle. An exception is also made for Service Dogs (such as for the visually or hearing impaired) accompanying a passenger; however, proof of certification may be required.
- University vehicles are only to be used for their intended purposes. Any off- road use should be approved by the Vehicle Administrator and be with a vehicle appropriate for such use. Off-road use of the vehicle, in the event of damage, will be at the sole expense of the department operating the vehicle.
- Drivers should be rested and not drive more than 8 hours per day. The University recommends that periods of uninterrupted driving not exceed 2 or 3 hours, separated by rest breaks.
- Vehicles should be driven at speeds that are appropriate for road conditions. Vehicle use may be delayed or denied by the Vehicle Administrator if weather or conditions make driving the vehicle unsafe.
- Smoking or use of tobacco products is prohibited in University vehicles. No drivers, before or during trips, are permitted to use medications, alcohol, drugs or other substances that cause drowsiness or other physical or mental impairment. The driver of the vehicle must not be under the influence of illicit drugs and/or alcohol at any time.
- Unless proper authorization from administration is provided in writing, no hazardous chemicals, weapons, hazardous waste, alcohol or illegal drugs may be transported in University vehicles.
- No modification of University vehicles shall be made without approval of the Campus Motor Vehicle Administrator. This includes but is not limited to affixing signs, stickers, antennas, ladder, bike racks, ski racks. Trailer hitches and towing for personal reasons are not permitted. Hauling loads with University vehicles that could structurally damage the vehicle, or make driving the vehicle unsafe, are prohibited.
- Use of any radar or other speed monitoring detection device in University vehicles is prohibited, except for administration-approved use by University Police or Public Safety.
- Non-University-owned trailers, excluding leased trailers, and excess equipment cannot be used on University vehicles without the express approval of the Campus Motor Vehicle Administrator. Additionally, the attachment of University trailers or equipment to a personal vehicle is strictly prohibited.
XII. Accidents, violations, and misuse of vehicles
- The Campus Motor Vehicle Administrator should inform drivers of University procedures for responding to emergency situations and for reporting accidents. It is the driver’s responsibility to follow University procedures and State laws regarding required actions in the event of an accident.
- Any accident involving University owned, leased, or rented vehicles, or personally owned vehicles being used for University business, must be reported to the campus Vehicle Administrator within 24 hours of the time of the accident. The University approved driver of the vehicle is responsible for reporting the accident. The accident should also be reported to the driver’s supervisor and to any other person or department, such as Public Safety, if so directed by the Campus Motor Vehicle Administrator. In the event of serious injury to a driver or third-party, incidents must be reported immediately so the appropriate officiating agencies, such as OSHA can be contacted. Failure to adhere to this rule and/or APL may result in the suspension or termination of driving privileges for the offending party and/or additional performance management. The University System Risk Manager reserves the right to allocate the settlement to the department due to late reporting when the late report caused additional defense and liability costs and or department’s failure to follow this APL.
- The driver must always seek police assistance in recording the events of any accident involving another vehicle. Failure to adhere to this rule may result in the complete allocation of claims cost to the department.
- Each University owned or leased vehicle must contain within it a System Motor Vehicle Accident Report Form and Liability insurance Information card. This card provides guidelines and reporting form in the event of an accident, and includes liability insurance verification for law enforcement.
- Preventable at-fault accidents may result in revocation or suspension of driving privileges, and/or driver testing and training, as well as disciplinary action. Examples of preventable at-fault accidents include but are not limited to: accidents caused by following too close to another vehicle, accidents while backing up the vehicle, accidents at intersections, and accidents that result from driving too fast for the conditions. The Campus Motor Vehicle Administrator will review all accidents and determine if the accident was preventable on a case-by-case basis. Along with determination of driving privileges, the information will also be used to determine specific needs for accident prevention training and changes in University vehicle use guidelines.
- Once an accident investigation and appraisal are completed, all accident damage to a University vehicle must be repaired as quickly as possible and in the least expensive manner appropriate to bring the vehicle back to the condition it was in prior to the accident.
E. Fines, Violations, and Citations
- Drivers are personally responsible for fines or citations resulting from their actions. No University funds of any kind may be used to pay such fines. Fines and citations become part of the driver’s record and are not the responsibility of the University.
- If a violation, suspension or revocation occurs during the period an individual is designated as an approved driver, it is the driver’s responsibility to make the Vehicle Administrator aware of this prior to driving a University vehicle .
- Any fines, violations or citations received while driving a University vehicle, including vehicles rented or borrowed, may result in suspension or revocation of privileges to drive a University vehicle, as well as other disciplinary action, depending on the specifics of the case.
- Tolls – Vehicles are not equipped with EZ Pass. University drivers are responsible for paying all highway tolls and seeking appropriate reimbursement. Violations will be charged back to the campus/department. After three violations, driving privileges can be suspended by University System Risk Manager.
F. Misuse of Vehicles
- Any misuse of a University vehicle, including vehicles rented or borrowed for University business will result in suspension or revocation of privileges to drive for University business, as well as other disciplinary action. Such misuse may also result in financial consequences to the individual and/or department. “Misuse” includes but is not limited to: violating University policy, damaging the vehicle through negligence, obtaining vehicle for use through misrepresentation.
- The Campus Motor Vehicle Administrator is authorized and responsible to control and regulate misuse. When misuse is discovered, it must be reported to the Vehicle Administrator who will notify the department, appropriate campus administration, and the University System Risk Manager.
XIII. Vehicle safety maintenance and inspection
Campuses will exercise due diligence, to the best of their abilities, via a program for safety maintenance and inspections including and not limited to:
- Each campus must have a safety maintenance and inspection program.
- All University owned and leased vehicles should be routinely checked and carefully maintained to provide safe transportation.
- A vehicle maintenance schedule should be established and adhered to, and all work to every vehicle, including inspections, should be clearly documented including the date and nature of the work. Records should be retained following University record retention policies.
- All vehicles must meet all local, state, federal and manufacturer’s requirements, and be able to pass State inspections. If the campus has knowledge of vehicles with safety problems or concerns, such as vehicles with a U.S. Department of Transportation Advisory or Warning, appropriate measures should be taken to address the problem.
Any vehicle deemed to be unsafe must be removed from use until the vehicle is made safe to operate.
XIV. Physical damage insurance
Physical Damage Insurance is able to be purchased on all vehicles owned by the University. The System Risk Management Department operates a self-insurance fund. General Guidelines are as follows:
- Vehicles valued under $35K at time of purchase based on the bill of sale are eligible for the program. Vehicles over $35K will be added to our group Automobile policy with varying deductible levels.
- Vehicles are charged a corresponding premium per annum on their date of purchase, or during the first month of the corresponding fiscal year. Vehicles over $35K premium is charged at the market rate. Information on premiums are available in the related documents section.
- The damage is subject to a $350 deductible for self-insured vehicles and $1000 for commercially insured vehicles.
- All claims to this policy must be processed by System Risk Management. Failure to adhere to the rules in this APL may affect claims settlement.
When renting a vehicle, specific details, regarding the insurance, are covered under the Travel and Expense APL Section IV-B Travel and Expense Procedures.
XV. Liability insurance
- Liability insurance is provided for all vehicles operated by the University, or its representatives, in the course and scope of employment and university business. Typically, the campus department is responsible for the first $10,000 of any one accident involving a vehicle, and System Risk Management funds the rest of the claim, up to the deductible. System Risk Management reserves the right to modify the contribution to a claim based on the facts of loss.
- When renting a vehicle, specific details, regarding the insurance, are covered under the Travel and Expense APL Section IV-B Travel and Expense Procedures.
Attachment I – APL II-B
Motor vehicle record approval criteria
Determined by Number of Minor Violations and Number of At-Fault Accidents
|0 At-Fault Accidents
|1 At-Fault Accident
|2 At-Fault Accidents
|3 At-Fault Accidents
|4 or more At-Fault Accidents
|0 Minor Violations
|1 Minor Violation
|2 Minor Violations
|3 Minor Violations
|4 Minor Violations
|Any Major Violation
Determining Driver Qualifications
- The most recent three (3) full years will be taken into consideration in determining a driver’s eligibility using the above chart.
- Major Violations include and are not limited to operating under the influence (O.U.I), speeding 30 or more miles per hour, failure to stop for police, leaving the scene of an accident, operating without a license, passing a stopped school bus, etc.
- Drivers with a major violation may be eligible for reconsideration 3 years after the date of violation.
Clear and Acceptable: Driver is approved to drive for University business.
Uncertain and Fair: Further analysis required. See below for details.
Poor: Driver is not approved to drive for University business.
Uncertain & fair drivers:
- Student and volunteer drivers will not be allowed to drive. Student employees are ‘student drivers’.
- Employees in the fair category will be reviewed to assess the circumstances of the conviction/accidents.
- Employees in the uncertain category may be allowed to drive if the details of their violation or accident are deemed acceptable by the CMVA or University System Risk Manager. For example, a driver with an at-fault accident that involved extensive property damage, a rollover, excessive speed, etc. may not be allowed to drive. Whereas, a driver who has an at-fault accident because they slid on ice and hit a mailbox in order to avoid hitting another vehicle, may be acceptable depending on the entire 3 year history. Risk Management reserves the right to require completion of the National Safety Council Defensive Driving Course.
- Students will not be permitted to drive for University business.
- Employees whose record falls into the poor category are not allowed to drive for University business. Any exceptions must be approved by the University System Risk Manager.
This Administrative Practice Letter has been approved by the Treasurer of the University of Maine System.