Dartmouth Driver Policy

Summary of Policy

This policy sets standards for the appropriate use of Dartmouth owned or leased vehicles and outlines mechanisms to reduce the frequency and cost of accidents.

Reason for Policy

This policy is intended to:

  • Set standards for appropriate use of College-owned, leased and rented vehicles (or personal vehicles being used for College related business) by faculty, staff and students.
  • Reduce the frequency and cost of motor vehicle accidents.
  • Provide and require training, as needed.
  • Minimize risk by ensuring that drivers are validly licensed and trained, and that driving histories are satisfactory.
  • Identify the vehicle types that approved drivers may operate while on official College business.

Affected Parties

All Groups

Policy Statement

College Approved Driver

Only College-approved faculty, staff and students may operate College-owned, leased, rented or personal vehicles for official College business. Undergraduate students must follow additional provisions set forth in the Student Driver Policy.

Types of Vehicles

  • Approved drivers are limited to operating these specific vehicle types while on official College business:

  • Automobiles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) equal to 10,000 pounds or less
  • 12-person or less vans
  • 15-person or less mini-buses
  • Towing trailers with a combined gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) including vehicle, trailer, and load weight equal to 10,000 pounds or less
  • While these vehicle types are considered commercial use on Dartmouth College business, their capacity or weight fall outside of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration standards and New Hampshire law that require DOT medical examination or a commercial driver's license (CDL).
  • By exception Transportation Services may approve drivers to operate vehicle types that are considered commercial use on Dartmouth College business and are subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Standards and New Hampshire law as detailed below.

  • Approved drivers must hold a valid DOT medical examination card to operate:
    • A vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) in excess of 10,000 pounds.
    • A combination of trailer and towing unit which exceeds 10,000 pounds GVWR.
  • Approved drivers must hold a commercial driver's license (CDL) with proper endorsement to operate:
    • A vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) in excess of 26,000 pounds.
    • A combination of trailer and towing unit which exceeds 26,000 pounds GVWR with the trailer in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.
    • A vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver.
    • Any size vehicle which transports hazardous materials that requires a Hazmat placard.
  • Departments are required:
    • To immediately report employees newly, or no longer, assigned to operate commercial type vehicles under this section to Transportation Services. 
    • To immediately upon request produce proof of valid CDL and DOT medical examination for employees they have assigned to operate commercial type vehicles under this section to Transportation Services.
  • The operation of large passenger vans while on official College business is allowed with certain restrictions and requirements in place to reduce safety risks associated with the operation of these cumbersome vehicles.
    • Drivers assigned to operate large passenger vans must initially certify as a "Van Approved Driver" and recertify on the following schedule:
      • Employees every two years
      • Students every year
    • Departments and programs shall rent/lease/purchase 12-person vans with a low roof.
    • A secondary option only when a 12-person van with a low roof is unavailable is a 12-person van with a high roof.
  • The following vehicles shall not be operated while on official College business without advance approval from the Director of Transportation Services in consultation with the Risk Management and Insurance.
    • 15-person vans with advance approval are allowed as the last option with additional restrictions.
      • Prior to driving, read and review the "Top Safety Recommendation for 15 Passenger Van Use" published by NHTSA
      • No more than 12 people are allowed in 15-person vans.
    • Modified passenger vans intended for off-road use
    • Recreational vehicles, motor homes and campers
    • Motorcycles
    • Off-road vehicles
    • Buses that hold more than 15 passengers.

Vehicle Operation, Control and Responsibilities

  • Drive with diligence always, following the regulations for the state within which you are traveling.
  • The number of passengers may not exceed the number of seat belts. All vehicle occupants must wear seat belts while the vehicle is in motion.  
  • Turn off the ignition, remove the key and lock the vehicle when unattended. 
  • The driver assumes all responsibility for any fines resulting from traffic or parking violations arising out of the use of a College vehicle.
  • DO NOT drive while under the influence of controlled substances such as alcohol, drugs, or medications that could adversely affect driving performance.
  • DO NOT use cell phones while driving a College vehicle.
    • Exception: Employees may for work purposes only use completely hands-free cellular devices that are physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle, if the driver can do so without diverting their attention from the road ahead.
    • There are no exceptions for student use of a cell phone while driving a college vehicle, including use of hands-free cellular devices.
  • DO NOT pick up hitchhikers or unauthorized passengers.
  • While in control of any vehicle on official College business, approved drivers shall not engage in conduct that could reflect negatively on the reputation of the institution.
  • DO NOT smoke in any College vehicle.
  • If the vehicle is in an accident, contact Safety & Security, your immediate supervisor AND the Office of Risk and Internal Controls Services at (603) 646-2442, as soon as possible, to report the accident.

Reporting of Motor Vehicle Driving Infractions

It is the responsibility of each approved driver to notify Transportation Services and their supervisor or program director within three business days of an arrest, citing, conviction, or license suspension for any traffic violation, including but not limited to speeding, driving, or operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reckless operation, and conduct after an accident.

Vehicle Maintenance & Safety

Service maintenance of College-owned and/or leased vehicles shall be in accordance with instructions prescribed by the manufacturer.

Drivers should report maintenance or repair needs to their supervisor for follow-up. Before taking trips away from campus, it is recommended the driver double check the following:

  • Oil/fuel
  • Windshield Wipers
  • Washer Fluid
  • Tire inflation
  • Mirrors
  • Lights
  • Horn
  • Leaks (coolant or oil on the ground under vehicle)

All required vehicles must be equipped with a back-up warning device that sounds automatically whenever the vehicle is put into reverse.

The glove compartment of each College vehicle shall contain, always, the vehicle's registration, accident investigation form, an insurance identification card, a maintenance log for documenting prescribed service/maintenance, and the quarterly safety inspection record.


College Insurance is mandatory on any College-owned or leased vehicle or motorized equipment.

The College's auto liability program is intended only for business use of College-owned, rented or leased vehicles. 

Use of personal vehicles for College business, although not prohibited, is strongly discouraged. Employees who use their personal vehicle for College business should be aware that their vehicle insurance is primary should an accident occur. Employees who use their vehicle for College business are required to carry a minimum of $100,000/$300,000 in auto liability coverage.

Accident Reporting

At the scene of an accident; regardless of the severity:

  • Call 911 if there are injuries.
  • If no injuries, call the police and obtain the name of the investigating officer.
  • Obtain all information for the Accident Investigation Form provided with the vehicle registration.
  • Make no statement that would assume any obligation or admit liability.
  • Provide the other party with insurance information contained in the vehicle, as well as your name, address and telephone number.
  • State accident report filings vary and must be submitted accordingly. Ask the investigating officer for details.
  • As soon as practical, contact Safety & Security, the Office of Risk & Internal Control Services, and your immediate supervisor to report the accident.

Record Review

Regular review of Approved Driver motor vehicle records will be conducted as follows:

  • Students: Every two years
  • Employees with DOT or CDL requirement: Annually
  • Employees without DOT or CDL requirement: Annual random check of 10% of approved driver population
  • Employees with probationary reinstatement: Biannually during probationary period

All motor vehicle record checks are paid by the sponsoring department.

Dartmouth reserves the right to review the driving record of any approved driver to determine driver eligibility.


A vehicle for purposes of this policy, includes all motor vehicles and equipment that are required to be registered by the State of New Hampshire.

College Approved Drivers are those who meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a valid United States or Canadian driver's license for the type of vehicle being driven.
  • Non-US citizens living in New Hampshire or Vermont on a temporary basis under a student or work VISA may apply for a NH or VT driver's license. Click here for more information from the State of NH and here for more information from Dartmouth's office of Visa and Immigration Services. 

Have successfully completed all required driver safety programs.

  • Driver safety program fees are paid by the sponsoring department.

For positions with DOT and CDL licensure must:

  • Have provided proof of DOT physical examinations to Transportation Services.
  • Respond to random drug testing summons as required by law and directed by Transportation Services.
  • Must meet any other required criteria for DOT and CDL licensure and comply with Dartmouth Alcohol and Controlled Testing Policy for Commercial Driver's License Holders.

Have a satisfactory Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) as determined by Transportation Services. 


Denial of Revocation of Driver Approval & Consequences

Drivers are denied or disqualified from being a College Approved Driver as follows:

  • If the driver does not meet the definition to be a College Approved Driver.
  • If the driver fails to meet expectations as outlined in this Policy.
    • Denied/disqualified at the discretion of Transportation Services for a period up to three years. 
  • If the driver has an unsatisfactory Motor Vehicle Record due to any of the following:
    • Seven (7) or more points on their driver's license.
      • Denied/disqualified for two years from the date of conviction.
      • Points are assessed at the discretion of the Transportation Services office applying New Hampshire's DMV point assessment standards for motor vehicle driving violations to ensure consistency.
    • Four (4) or more points on their driver's license derived from the operation of a College-owned, rented, or leased vehicle.
      • Denied/disqualified for two years from the date of conviction.
    • A single conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; reckless driving; or conduct after an accident (hit and run).
      • Denied/disqualified for three years from the date of conviction.
    • Two or more convictions or combination of convictions in a 3-year period for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; reckless driving; or conduct after an accident (hit and run). 
      • Denied/disqualified permanently.
    • Any conviction for driving related assault or killing.
      • Denied/disqualified permanently.
  • If a report is made as required under the "GPS Monitoring of Dartmouth Vehicles and Motorized Equipment" policy by the "management team" of unsafe vehicle operation by a driver that resulted in discipline.
    • Denied/disqualified at the discretion of Transportation Services for a period up to three years.
  • Any other reason which in the reasonable judgment of Transportation Services merits revocation of College Approved Driver status.
  • Individuals whose position is dependent upon Approved Driver status whose approval is revoked will be given thirty days before termination of employment, or transfer to another available position not requiring the operation of a motor vehicle. Duties may be reassigned during that thirty-day period. 


Appeals Process

Denied and disqualified employees whose state driving privileges are valid may elect to file a formal written appeal to request Dartmouth Approved Driver status. The Director of Transportation Services and Associate Vice President of Business & Hospitality will review the appeal and have final say over the outcome.

  • Written appeals by the employee must contain official documentation provided by the state of licensure that restored privileges are without restriction.
  • The employee's department head must separately indicate in writing their support for an appeal and explain how the department in this case is adversely affected by enforcement of Dartmouth's driver policy standards.
  • Appeals result in one of two outcomes:
    • Denied
    • Approved with probationary reinstatement.
  • Appeals are automatically denied under the following circumstances:
    • No department head support.
    • Any conviction for driving related assault or killing. 
    • Two or more convictions or combination of convictions in a 3-year period for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; reckless driving; or conduct after an accident (hit and run) 
  • Probationary reinstatement: Employees who would otherwise lose their approved driver status due to convictions may be approved for probationary reinstatement as follows:
    • Successful completion of Dartmouth's online driver safety course, even if previously completed.
    • Unrestricted review of GPS vehicle tracking reports by Transportation Services for evidence of unsafe driving behavior.
    • Motor vehicle record check at least every six months.
    • Satisfaction of a clean probationary period that will last two or three years (depending on the offense) from the date of the conviction(s) that lead to the loss of Dartmouth approved driver status.
    • A clean probationary period is defined as the employee not having a new conviction of a driving violation covered by this policy or suspension during the probationary reinstatement period.
    • A new conviction or suspension will result in the revocation of probationary reinstatement and the original loss of Dartmouth approved driver status will resume.
  • There is no appeal for disqualified undergraduate and graduate student drivers whose license privileges have been restored by the state.

Point Reduction

Denied and disqualified drivers who do not meet the criteria for Approved Driver status because of accruing seven (7) or more points on their record within two years may apply to Transportation Service for Approved Driver status before the two-year period passes after successful completion of a state approved three-point reduction program to effectively reduce their total 'points' to six (6) or less.

  • Transportation Services will not consider point reduction programs for Driving or Operating under the Influence of Drugs or Liquor, Reckless Operation, Conduct after an Accident, driving related assault or killing convictions.
  • Participation in a state approved point reduction program is at the expense of the denied or disqualified driver.

Return of Approved Driver Status

  • Denied and disqualified drivers may reapply to Transportation Services for approved driver status with the approval of their supervisor when fully meeting the criteria established in this policy.

Policy ID


Effective Date

April 27, 2012

Last Revised Date

March 22, 2024


Campus Services

Office of Primary Responsibility

Transportation Services

Last Reviewed Date

February 21, 2024

Next Review Date