Pool vehicle information and policy - NIU - Transportation Services

Transportation Services

Pool Vehicles

University-owned vehicles are maintained for the purpose of providing transportation for official university business of faculty, administrators, graduate assistants, and operating staff. In accordance with monies budgeted by departments for automotive expense, appropriate fiscal approval is required to approve requests by employees for the use of university-owned vehicles and to verify that the driver has a valid license.

Employees

An employee of Northern Illinois University is eligible to drive a university-owned vehicle if he/she is acting for or on behalf of the university and within the scope of his/her employment, while operating such a vehicle. An employee, for purposes of this policy, is defined as any individual who receives compensation from the university for services performed provided such compensation is taxable under either state or federal tax laws. Any individual whose only compensation is a scholarship or fellowship, or any individual who is an independent contractor and whose compensation is not subject to either state or federal tax, would not be considered an employee. A student-employee is eligible to drive a university-owned vehicle only within the scope of his/her student employment.

Students and others

Other individuals are eligible to drive university-owned/leased vehicles on university business if they have the prior written permission of the president, the vice president of the respective division or their designee(s), and provided the operation or use of the university-owned vehicle is within the scope of such permission. NIU students may become eligible to operate university-owned vehicles with the completion of the “Student Vehicle Use Authorization” form. Completion of the form requires supplying detailed information of the proposed travel, the signature of the student, approval of the sponsoring department or organization, and approval by the respective vice president or designee. All student use of university vehicles, other than within the scope of student employment, requires the completion of this form.

Safety warning

As a result of heightened university safety concerns, as supported by a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Consumer Advisory (April 9, 2001), 15-passenger vans are no longer available for general university use. This restriction on official use also extends to employee or departmental use and/or rental of passenger vans from private commercial agencies e.g., Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, etc., or from any other source, including donations or gift-in-kind. It would also preclude the reimbursement for the use of an employee-owned 15-passenger van.

Employees using personal vehicles

When employees use their own vehicles on university business, university insurance coverage stands in excess of and secondary to the employee's personal insurance coverage. The state cannot provide primary coverage for such use. Non-employees, using their own vehicles on university business, are not covered by university insurance.

NOTE: Persons using their own vehicle for business use should contact their personal insurance carrier to ensure that proper coverage is being provided.

Driver’s license information

All drivers of university vehicles must have a valid driver's license in their immediate possession. Licenses issued by other states are valid in Illinois. A non-resident from a foreign country is required to hold a valid driver's license issued by such foreign country. All drivers of university vehicles are subject to review of their driver’s license record by Transportation Services and/or Risk Management. Transportation Services may require the driver to obtain their Motor Vehicle Record from the Office of the Secretary of State and submit the Record to Transportation prior to travel due to insurance requirements.

Travel guidelines and considerations

Travel shall be by the most economical mode available, considering travel time, cost, and work requirements. It is anticipated that employees who have approval for out-of-state travel will make use of public conveyances. Because of the limited supply of vehicles within the motor pool and public relations considerations, their use for out-of-state travel, especially on trips involving considerable time and miles, is permitted only when circumstances can be justified. In many instances it may be to the advantage of the university for the employee to fly and rent a vehicle upon arrival so as not to deny other faculty and staff the utilization of the university fleet.

State-owned automobiles are not available to employees who are personally being reimbursed for services being rendered. Example: it is anticipated that an employee who is being compensated for providing consulting services, or a speech at a conference, commencement, etc., will provide his own transportation for such purposes.

Faculty and staff of NIU are given first choice of the use of the university fleet. The Vice President of Administration & Finance or his designee may authorize the use of university vehicles by other state agencies provided such vehicles are available and provided appropriate reimbursement arrangements have been completed. Priority for the use of the passenger vans and mini-vans will be the same as for the use of the buses.

University employees requesting the use of a university-owned vehicle issued from the motor pool are required to submit a Transportation Request Form which will include the signature of the driver of the vehicle. The Transportation dispatcher will verify with the cost center manager if proper fiscal approval has been given before any action is taken on the request.

Smoking is prohibited in all university vehicles by state law.