4.191 Student Affairs and Enrollment Management
STUDENT TRAVEL POLICY
Date Adopted/Most Recent Revision: 2/8/02

A.     Purpose

To ensure that student safety is a priority, this policy for student travel is intended to assist students in safe travel for university-sanctioned trips. This policy pertains to students or registered student organizations that travel over twenty-five (25) miles to a university-sanctioned event.

B.     Definition of University-Sanctioned Travel

University-sanctioned travel occurs when travel meets one or more of the following conditions:

1.     A university department or registered student organization plans the travel and/or recognizes it for professional or educational purposes.

2.     The university or registered student organization requires travel.

3.     University or registered student organization funds are used.

4.     Travel is undertaken in a university-owned or leased vehicle.

C.    Travel Procedures

The designated adviser(s) (faculty or staff) must accompany each student travel group. Any exception must be approved by the Dean of Students prior to such travel. The following procedures must be followed prior to travel:

1.     Pick up Student/Group Travel Form in the Dean of Students office.

2.     Complete Student/Group Travel Form.

3.     Submit travel form at least ten (10) days prior to date of travel to the Dean of Students office.

4.     Receive copy of approved Travel Form from Dean of Students office.

D.    Travel Requirements

1.     Vehicle Operator's License Requirement

University employees (faculty, staff, or student) transporting passengers must possess a valid driver's license appropriate for the type of vehicle being driven. Only university employees who are acting within the scope of their employment and who are being compensated for such duty may transport passengers in university-owned vehicles. Employee supervisors are responsible for ensuring the validity of the driver's licenses of any employee appointed by them to drive university vehicles on official business and/or transport passengers. For purposes of this policy a valid commercial driver's license is defined as one issued in accordance with the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 and the Texas a Commercial Driver's License Act, V.T.C. S., Article 6687b, Sec. 2, April 1, 1990. Specific license requirements are as follows:

a.     For the operation of a passenger vehicle Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more and the vehicle is designed to transport 24 passengers or more (including the driver) the operator must possess a valid CLASS B Commercial Driver's License (CDL) (with endorsement for passengers). Example: Model 05 Eagle, 46 passengers.

b.     For operation of a passenger vehicle GCVWR less than 26,001 pounds and the vehicle is designed to transport 24 passengers or more (including the driver) the operator must possess a CLASS B - CDL (with endorsement for passengers). Example: Ford Mini-Bus, 25 passengers.

c.     For operation of a passenger vehicle GCVWR less than 26,001 pounds and the vehicle is designed to transport 16-23 passengers (including the driver) the operator must possess a CLASS C - CDL (with endorsement for passengers). Note: None owned by MSU, but could be leased from outside vendors.

d.     For the operation of a passenger vehicle designated to transport fifteen (15) or fewer passengers the operator must possess a valid TEXAS OPERATOR'S PERMIT, CLASS C, or an equivalent license issued by another state. Example: 15 passenger vans.

2.     Required Driving Record Checks

a.     Existing Employees

At the beginning of each fiscal year, the University Police Department will request from the Texas Department of Public Safety copies of the driving records of all university employees with Texas drivers' licenses. The University Police Department will request copies of the driving records of employees with out-of-state licenses through the university's insurance carrier. It shall be the responsibility of the University Police Department to determine if an employee's driving record is such that it would be imprudent to allow him or her to drive a university vehicle. The Chief of University Police shall advise the appropriate supervisor of any individuals in their respective areas who should not be allowed to drive.

b.     Disqualifying Events

Employees will not be allowed to drive vehicles if they are deemed to be unacceptable to the university's insurance carrier or have within three years prior to the date of their individual driver's license checks:

                                                                      i.        Been convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI).

                                                                     ii.        Received two (2) or more moving violations or have been involved in two (2) or more accidents where they have been determined to be at fault.

                                                                    iii.        Had his or her driver's license suspended.

c.     Sanctions

Employees who drive university vehicles in violation of this policy will have their driving privileges withheld until such time as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management reinstates them. One of the requirements of reinstatement may be attendance at a defensive driving course or similar safety instruction program approved by the University Police Department. Repeated violations will result in the permanent revocation of driving privileges or termination.

d.     Employees Hired After Beginning of New Fiscal Year

In addition to requesting annual reports on all employees, the University Police Department will request a copy of the driving records of any employee hired during the year who might be reasonably expected to drive a university vehicle as a part of his or her job responsibilities.

E.     Driving Hour Restrictions

The university will comply with Department of Transportation guidelines regarding driving hours or time limitations. A driver may transport students for a period of ten (10) driving hours. At that point, travel must be suspended or another approved driver may continue the travel. No travel shall exceed (15) hours without a minimum of eight (8) hours of rest.

F.     Rental Cars

Directors of advisors who authorize individuals to use rental cars for university-sanctioned travel are responsible for advising those individuals that the State of Texas will not pay for liability insurance coverage as part of a vehicle rental agreement. Individuals who rent vehicles for university-sanctioned travel must meet the same requirements as those who drive university-owned vehicles. Rental vehicles used for university-sanctioned travel are to be rented in the name of the university, not in the name of the employee. If the vehicle is rented in the name of the employee, that employee's personal liability insurance carrier becomes the primary insurer.

G.    Privately Owned Vehicles

Individuals who use their own vehicles for university-sanctioned travel are to meet the same standards as those employees who drive university vehicles. In the event a student has an accident while using his or her own vehicle for university-sanctioned travel, it should be reported to both the student's insurance carrier and the registered student organization advisor or immediate university supervisor.

H.    Safety Policy

It will be the policy of Midwestern State University that all individuals on university-sanctioned travel follow the safety procedures listed below:

1.     Drivers will comply with all applicable traffic laws and regulations.

2.     The number of occupants in a vehicle shall not exceed the number of working seat belts in the vehicle.

3.     All occupants must use seat belts when the vehicle is in motion.

4.     All occupants must remain seated when the vehicle is in motion.

5.     Use of radar/laser detection devices is prohibited.

6.     Use of headphones or earphones by the driver is prohibited.

 

I.      Alcohol/Controlled Substances

It is the policy of Midwestern State University to prohibit the use of alcohol or any controlled substance in all university-owned or leased vehicles. This policy extends to privately owned vehicles that are used for university-sanctioned travel.

J.     Student Conduct

All MSU students involved in university-sanctioned travel will represent MSU to the best of their ability and abide by the MSU Student Code of Conduct.