Insurance and Risk - Use of Vehicles on University Business

  1. University Vehicles

    Only University employees (or students) who are authorised by the Head of School / Research Institute / US Department or, by his/her nominee, and who have undertaken and passed a University driver assessment may drive University vehicles. Driver assessments will be carried out by the Transport Services Department.

    Any person wishing to drive a University vehicle must also be the holder of a current and full valid driving licence, appropriate to the category of vehicle he or she intends to use. He/she must also have had at least 6 months driving experience since passing their driving test. Driving licences must be made available for inspection at least once a year or, as requested.

    The University Transport Services Manager must be notified of any changes in driver circumstances (e.g. penalty points incurred, certain forms of illness, etc.) without delay.

    The University's insurance policy covers any private car or commercial vehicle, owned by or hired to the University and declared to the insurers. The excess on this policy is normally £250, but increases for younger drivers and drivers with a bad accident history.

  2. Hired Vehicles

    Staff (and students) hiring vehicles from commercial Hire Companies must remember to produce their Driving Licence and another form of identification when collecting a vehicle. Drivers with the new style Driving Licence (post 1997) must produce both parts of the licence (paper document and plastic card). It is the responsibility of the Head of School / Research Institute / US Department to ensure that any person authorised to drive a hired vehicle has had their driving licence checked at least once a year by an authorised member of staff. The department must maintain a record of such checks.

    Staff and students are strongly advised to check hired vehicles for damage prior to accepting the vehicle and, to ensure that upon its return the hirer checks the vehicle for damage. It is in the interest of all concerned to ensure that any damage is reported immediately to the hirer.

    Details and arrangements for the hire of vehicles from commercial hire companies can be obtained from the University Web Site (Purchasing) or from University Transport Services Department. (Extension 5330)

    Where vehicles are hired for less than 4 days, it is recommended that the hire company insurance should be selected. This is due to the high incidence of accidents involving short-term hires, which cost the University both for the excess (minimum of £250) and for policy premium for the following year.

    Staff and students, who intend hiring vehicles, are advised to check liabilities and insurance clauses specified by individual hire companies. The level of insurance cover offered by vehicle hirers does not necessarily provide full safeguard against accidental damage, even if the hirer pays a Collision Damage Waiver premium (CDW). The customer could be held liable for upwards of the first £100 of any claim. In addition, very often there are 'small print clauses' included which leaves the customer liable to full replacement costs for any damage to wheels, tyres, windscreen, cigarette burns and any other liability which in the opinion of the hire company is attributable to customer negligence.

    It is obvious from the aforementioned notes that great care must be exercised when signing any hire agreement as drivers and departments could be held liable for expensive repairs.

    Where the University's motor policy is being used to cover vehicle hire, the driver must collect a cover note from Transport Services before the hire commences.

    Collection & Return of Hired Vehicle Guidelines:

    When collecting a hired vehicle the customer should always satisfy him/herself that there is no obvious damage prior to accepting the vehicle. If any damage is noted, however minor, ensure it is recorded by the hirer before moving off. Stone chips should also be reported. If necessary, obtain a copy of the damage for your records.

    When returning a vehicle to the hirer, staff and students are again advised to ensure that the hire company accepts the vehicle as having been returned in good order. This is to ensure that there will be no charges for damage submitted at later date.

    To ensure the University is absolved from damage claim liability it is important that all staff and students adhere to the 'collection and return of vehicle' guidelines.

  3. Use of Personal/Private Vehicles

    All areas will be fully aware of their responsibilities under Health & Safety legislation, however, some may not realise there are specific regulations applicable to staff/students engaged on driving duties. The University, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to ensure that staff/students, and third parties, are not placed at risk by the work activities of persons engaged on University business.

    It is the responsibility of Heads / Directors (and members of staff) to ensure that any person using personal/private vehicles on University business are properly insured for business use and the vehicle properly and regularly maintained. Any driver, or privately owned vehicle, not legally compliant and engaged on University business could result in criminal charges being brought against not only the driver/owner but also the HoD/Line-manager. It is strongly recommended that any person claiming business mileage should have their driving licence checked at least once a year by an authorised member of staff and a record kept. All staff/students currently on the University's list of approved drivers are required to submit their licence for checking annually.
    Heads/Directors/Line-managers failing to take appropriate measures run the risk of being charged with corporate negligence/manslaughter etc. The following are some suggestions that academic/non-academic areas should consider adopting: Ensure that any person asked to drive a vehicle has an appropriate licence and is capable of driving any vehicle that is assigned to that person.
    Ensure that all persons using private vehicles on University business are properly insured and that personal vehicles are properly and regularly maintained.
    Ensure the motoring history of prospective employees/drivers is checked at interview.
    Adopt a pre-employment driving assessment for prospective employees.
    Consider regular eyesight tests for drivers.
    Ensure measures are in place that will highlight awareness of drug/alcohol abuse.
    Consider the benefits of driver training programmes.

    Staff should note that the business mileage claim forms now include a disclaimer confirming that personal/private vehicles are adequately insured and maintained in a roadworthy condition.

  4. Minibuses

    A vehicle is classed as a minibus if it has more than 8 seats. The University requires that drivers must be over 21 years of age and have been driving for more than two years. The licence requirements for driving a minibus are more involved than those necessary for driving a car.

    License Requirements:

    a) Drivers who obtained their current entitlement to drive a motor car BEFORE 1st January 1997 will be able to continue to drive a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats without taking a second driving test provided the vehicle will not be used for Hire or Reward.

    b) Drivers who first passed their motor car driving test ON or AFTER 1st January 1997 (category B) will be limited to driving vehicles with a maximum of 8 passenger seats. To drive vehicles with 9-16 passenger seats drivers are required to pass an appropriate driving and theory test, plus pass a medical examination in order to obtain category D1 entitlement. (See Section 5.)

    c) NEW RULES AFTER 1st JANUARY 1988: Any current minibus entitlement will remain valid in the UK and on temporary visits abroad until a driver's driving licence is renewed. Current minibus entitlement (D1 and D1+E not for hire or reward) can only be renewed upon special application to DVLC. Renewal of minibus entitlement will be dependent upon meeting higher medical standards.

    d) Please note; drivers of MINIBUSES (and vehicles of more than 8 seats) who have only category 'B' driving licence entitlement are NOT ALLOWED to drive such vehicles outside the UK or TOW TRAILERS of any size.

    e) DRIVERS WHO DO NOT HAVE MINIBUS ENTITLEMENT: If a driver's licence does not qualify the holder to drive vehicles with more than 8 seats e.g. minibuses (category D1) there are certain circumstances whereby such drivers might qualify to drive a minibus.

  5. License Categories

    Category B licences: This driving licence entitlement covers vehicles having a Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of up to 3.5tonnes and vehicles with not more than 8 passenger seats (a total of 9 including the driver, e.g. saloon cars, MPV's, etc.)

    Category D (category D1): This licence entitlement covers passenger carrying vehicles having more than 8 but not more then 16 passenger seats that is not used for Hire or Reward. The term 'Hire or Reward' encompasses any payment in cash or kind by passengers (or on their behalf) which confers on them a right to be carried.

  6. Visitor Driving Permits

    The University has a number of foreign members of staff and students who may at some time be required to drive University vehicles. Prior to submitting such persons for 'driver assessment' nominees should first check the candidates driving licence. To assist with this the following guidelines are offered.
    Persons normally resident outside the United Kingdom who are holders of a full domestic drivers licence are generally permitted to drive vehicles appropriate to their driver licence class in the UK provided they hold either a 'Convention Driving Permit' or a domestic driving permit issued in their country of origin. The 'Convention Driving Permit' enables a visitor to drive a motor vehicle for a period of up to 12 months from the date of his/her last entry into the UK.

    If in doubt, please seek clarification from Transport Services Department.

  7. Insurance Excesses
    The excess that applies to the University's Motor Fleet policy is as follows- Accidental Damage, Fire and Theft Loss  £250