Fleet Safety Policy

EFFECTIVE DATE:  |LAST UPDATED: April 2, 2018 | Policy Section: insurance-risk-management

Responsible Executive

Carolyn Ainslie, vice president for finance and treasurer

Responsible Office

Department of Risk Management


Honora McGinn, associate director of risk management, (609) 258-3349

I. Policy StatementBACK TO TOP

University vehicles may only be operated by approved drivers and only for University business.

Princeton University’s fleet includes owned and leased cars, vans, trucks, golf carts, and some construction vehicles to transport people and equipment on campus. These vehicles, the University’s fleet, are operated by employees and students under stringent requirements for safety.

II. Who is Affected by this PolicyBACK TO TOP

Any faculty, staff, student, or alumni who use an automobile in order to conduct business on behalf of the University.

III. Definitions


University owned and leased cars, vans, trucks, golf carts, and certain construction vehicles –used in the transport of people and equipment on and around campus.


  1. Purpose

    To establish a mechanism for the development of policies, procedures and safety guidelines relating to the use of Princeton University vehicles or personal vehicles by faculty, staff and students for official University business purposes.
  2. Program Oversight
    1. Fleet Safety Committee
      1. Membership and Meetings
        Chaired by the Associate Director, Risk Management, the Fleet Safety Committee is a subcommittee of the Environmental, Safety and Risk Management Committee (ESRM).

        The Fleet Safety Committee is comprised of representatives from Risk Management, Environmental Health & Safety, Public Safety, Facilities, Human Resources, Student Agencies, Parking and Transportation, and Campus Life. Other department representatives may be added or consulted as needed.

        The Fleet Safety Committee meets on a periodic basis but not less than two times per year. Special meetings may be called by the Chair when action is required before the next scheduled meeting. These meetings can take place in person or via conference call. Decisions and/or recommendations must be made with a quorum, consisting of a simple majority of the Committee members.
      2. Committee Functions

        The functions of the Fleet Safety Committee include the ongoing management of a University-wide Fleet Safety Program to include the following components:
        The Fleet Safety Committee makes recommendations to the ESRM Committee regarding program resources related to database management, driver education, vehicle replacement/repair and a variety of vehicle safety related guidelines.
        • Accident review, investigation and follow-up
        • Standards for driver qualification
        • Standards for appropriate driver training
        • Standards for authorized vehicle usage
        • Databases of University drivers and vehicles
        • Development of safety protocols and programs (i.e. Safety First)
        • Golf cart usage and maintenance
        • Departmental education
    2. Departmental Responsibilities
      1. Departmental Fleet Representative (DFR)

        Each Department with responsibility for University vehicles is required to appoint a Departmental Fleet Representative (DFR) to be the primary contact and liaison with the Department of Risk Management (RM) and the Fleet Safety Committee, as applicable.

        Responsibilities of each DFR include:
        • Maintaining a listing of all departmental drivers.
        • Maintaining copies of licenses of departmental drivers.
        • Having departmental drivers (including student drivers) complete Driver History Questionnaire (DHQ). See Appendix A.
        • Notifying RM if DFR becomes aware that a departmental driver’s license has been revoked or suspended for any reason.
        • Ensuring that each vehicle owned, or leased by the department is properly licensed and registered as appropriate.
        • Maintaining a listing of all departmental vehicles and a record of the maintenance, repairs and inspections performed on each departmental vehicle.
        • Ensuring that all departmental vehicles have current inspection, registration, crossing permits and insurance documents.
        • Ensuring that the Purchasing Department is notified when a new vehicle is purchased or leased so that the vehicle may be entered into the database. This requirement includes carts.
        • Notifying RM of accidents and/or vehicle damage during normal business hours. When accident/damage occurs off hours or on weekends, notify RM the next business day.
        • Obtaining crossing permits for carts.
      2. Driver Responsibilities
        All drivers must:
        • Complete driver authorization process per Appendix A.
        • Report any accidents, damage or moving violations while driving a Princeton University owned or leased vehicle including carts to supervisor and/or DFR within 24 hours of occurrence.
        • Report any accidents or damage while driving a personal or rental vehicle on Princeton University business within 24 hours of occurrence to the DFR, if applicable, or directly to RM.
        • Notify supervisor and/or DFR immediately if driver license is revoked or suspended for any reason.
        • Comply with the Vehicle Use Agreement, Regulations and Safety Guidelines. See Appendix C.
  3. University Vehicles
    1. Definition
      University vehicles include all University owned or leased cars, vans, trucks, SUVs and carts (as further defined in Section iv. below). When licensed for operation on roads, construction vehicles and tractors are also included.
    2. Fleet and Driver Databases
      The Purchasing Department has the responsibility for maintaining the database of all University owned vehicles. This includes the make and model, owning department, VIN number and license plate number, as applicable. 
      Risk Management has the responsibility for maintaining the database of authorized drivers.
    3. Vehicle Usage
      Only authorized University drivers are permitted to drive University vehicles. University vehicle use is restricted to University-related activities. Unauthorized use of a University vehicle is not permitted.
    4. Cart Operation and Crossing Points
      The term “cart” includes golf carts and any other motorized, unlicensed vehicle used to transport individuals or equipment around campus. See Appendix D.
      Under New Jersey Law, carts are permitted to cross public roads only at designated crossing points. In order to secure permits go to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission site below.
      See Appendix E - “Application For Special Road Crossing Permit”.
      http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/pdf/About/GU-41a.pdf  and
      See Appendix for a map with designed crossing points
    5. Safety First Driving Decals
      In order to enhance safety, all licensed University vehicles and certain carts are affixed with a “ Safety is my Goal” decal with an 800-number and individual vehicle identification.

      Compliments or reports of unsafe driving practices are called into the Safety First hotline and reported to RM. These reports are shared with the applicable DFR and/or department supervisor, and reviewed with the Fleet Safety Committee.
    6. 15-Passenger Van Restrictions
      The National Transportation Safety Board has issued several reports and warnings about the rollover propensity of 15-passenger vans. Consequently, the operation of 15-passenger vans is restricted to University employees and staff only. Undergraduate students are not permitted to drive, or be driven in, 15-passenger vans. This does not include modified 15-passenger vans (seats removed) used for equipment/cargo transportation on or around campus.
    7. Use of Communication Devices
      The use of a wireless telephone or electronic communications device, including a wireless telephone used as a hand-held radio, is not permissible while operating a University owned or leased vehicle (as definied in iv.3.i and iv) except when using these devices hands-free.  Such usage shall include, but is not limited to, talking or listening to another person on the telephone, text messaging, or reading an electronic message via a wireless telephone or electronic communication device.  This restriction is not applicable to any of the following persons while in the actual performance of their official duties: a law enforcement officer; a member of a fire department or company; or the operator of an authorized emergency vehicle including a snowplow, a tow truck, or other vehicle used during a Princeton University emergency situation.  This restriction does not apply to walkie talkies and radios.
  4. Authorized University Drivers
    1. Authorized University Drivers are:
      1. All Drivers
        • Formally affiliated with Princeton University - employees, faculty members, volunteers, students; and
        • Have a permanent driver license (non-provisional/non-probationary) issued by a US State. (International driver licenses are not acceptable.)
        • Have completed applicable driver authorization process.
      2. All Students
        • Additionally, for students, those who have taken the online test and passed with a score of 80% or higher, and,
        • Undergraduate students who are vehicle/van certified to drive vans (excluding 15-passenger vans), SUVs and trucks
        • Graduate students who are vehicle/van certified at the discretion of the department.

          (See Section 7: Students Who Drive on University Business)
    2. Commercial Drivers License (CDL)
      A CDL is required to drive any vehicle with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds. A CDL is also required in order to drive any bus designed to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver) and with a GCWR of less than 26,001 pounds.

      Drivers with a commercial drivers license (CDL) must comply with all State requirements and will be subject to alcohol and/or drug testing as prescribed by law.

      See Human Resources policy 5.1.7 Procedures: Controlled Substances and Alcohol
      Use and Testing
  5. Driver Authorization Process
    In order to be permitted to drive a University vehicle, all drivers must complete a DHQ (See Appendix A) and provide a copy of their driver’s license to their DFR , if applicable, or to RM or supervisor.

    Student drivers are subject to additional requirements. (See Section 7: Students Who Drive on University Business).
    1. Motor Vehicle Record Check (MVR)
      RM is responsible for requesting all MVRs from the applicable State agencies.
      The Office of Human Resources is responsible, however, for receiving the MVR for new employees, excluding casual hourly employees, whose job requires the operation of a motor vehicle on University business.
      See DHQ in Appendix A.
    2. Revocation of Driving Privileges
      Drivers may not receive authorization to operate a University vehicle, may have their privileges revoked and/or may be separated from the University for the following motor vehicle violations:
      • Driving while intoxicated.
      • Driving under the influence.
      • Negligent homicide.
      • Operating a vehicle with a suspended license.
      • Using a motor vehicle for commission of a felony.
      • Aggravated assault with a motor vehicle.
      • Reckless driving.
      •   Hit and run accident.
      • A moving violation.
      • Using a University owned, leased or rented vehicle without authorization.
      • Other violations as determined by the Fleet Safety Committee.

        All MVRs that include moving violations involving drugs, alcohol and/or reckless driving will be reviewed and discussed by the Fleet Safety Committee. Decisions to not authorize or to revoke driving privileges of employees or students will be made by the Fleet Safety Committee in consultation with Human Resources, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty or the Graduate or Undergraduate Dean Offices as applicable. Department Directors and Human Resources will be notified by Risk Management if adverse action is recommended regarding departmental drivers based on these reports.
        Princeton University may withhold an employee’s or student's driving privileges despite the individual’s driver license being in “good standing” with a state motor vehicle agency.
  6. Use of Personal Vehicles While on University Business
    When staff, faculty, volunteers and students use a personal vehicle while on University business, their personal auto insurance is always primary. The University provides reimbursement at the applicable IRS per mile rate. The mileage allowance covers the costs for gas, oil, repairs, depreciation and insurance. Staff, faculty, volunteers and students are required to comply with all state regulations when operating a vehicle on University business, including maintaining the applicable State mandated minimum amount of insurance coverage.

    The University may provide insurance in excess of personal auto insurance limits for any accident incurred while on University business.

    The University provides reimbursement for physical damage to personal vehicles involved in an accident while on University business. See Travel-Related Insurance for details. 

  7. Students Who Drive on University Business
    Driving a University owned or leased vehicle is an earned privilege for student drivers.
    1. Authorization
      In order to drive a University-owned or leased vehicle, the student driver must be free of any of the following:
      • Six or more traffic violation points under State law.
      • Any chargeable accidents within the past 24 months.
      • Any convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or other major violations, such as reckless driving, hit and run, driving with a suspended license, or fleeing from a police officer.

        Princeton University may withhold student driving privileges despite the student’s driver license being in “good standing” with a state motor vehicle agency.

        Students must complete the Driver History Questionnaire and provide a copy of their driver license to the DFR, as applicable. See Appendix A and Appendix B and see the Vehicle User Agreement Form.

        The DFR will evaluate the form for completeness and forward it along with the copy of the driver license to RM, where an MVR will be requested.
    2. Online Test
      All undergraduate students requesting driving privileges must take the online test and pass with a score of 80% or higher in order to be authorized to drive a University vehicle. Students are permitted to attempt to pass the test a maximum of three times.
    3. Vehicle/Van Certification
      1. Undergraduate Students
        All undergraduate students who drive a University owned, leased, and/or rented van (including modified 15 passenger vans used for equipment/cargo transportation (see 3.vi)), sport utility vehicle (SUV) or truck on University business must be vehicle/van certified through the Department of Public Safety.
      2. Graduate Students
        University Departments have the option to require that departmental graduate student drivers become vehicle/van certified in order to drive on University business. The DFR should make arrangements with Public Safety to schedule a behind the wheel test.
      3. The Vehicle/Van Certification, administered by the Department of Public Safety, is required for undergraduates who drive vehicles other than, or in addition to, standard cars and carts. After passing the online test, a behind the wheel/on road test is required. In order to schedule a behind the wheel test, see
    4. Revocation of Student Driving Privileges
      Student driving privileges may be revoked for any reason including, but not limited to:
      • Being ticketed for a moving violation while driving a University vehicle or while driving a personal vehicle on University business.
      • Using a University owned, leased or rented vehicle without authorization. Students may be subject to disciplinary review by the appropriate University dean and/or notification to the police department.
      • Using a University owned, leased or rented vehicle on personal business without authorization. Students may be subject to disciplinary review by the appropriate University dean.
    5. Student Safety Guidelines
      • For long trips, students are encouraged to take the following safety precautions:
        • During long distance trips, drivers should rotate 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.
      • Avoid conditions that lead to loss of control – driving while sleepy or inattentive, or driving too fast for road conditions. If weather is inclement, delay trip until conditions improve. Students should not drive if weather conditions are not safe. Away from campus, they should seek overnight accommodations if weather conditions impede safe return to campus.
      • Students who transport minor children in University owned/rented vehicles or personal vehicles must place minors in the back seat of the vehicle and must ensure that minors are properly seat belted.

        For additional general safety guidelines see Appendix C.

        Updated and approved by the Environmental Safety & Risk Management Committee February 12, 2008.

V. Procedures BACK TO TOP


VII. Contact Roles and Responsibilities BACK TO TOP

VIII. Appendices BACK TO TOP

Appendix A - Driver History Questionnaire

Appendix B - Driver Authorization Process

Appendix C - Vehicle Use Agreement, Regulations and Safety Guidelines

Appendix D - Cart Operating Rules

Appendix E - New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission "Application for Special Road Crossing Permit"

Appendix F - Map with designated cart crossing points

IX. Update Log BACK TO TOP


Updated link to Appendix F for cart path map.

Updated passable score from 85% to 80% for online test.



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