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:

  1. 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.
  2. Reduce the frequency and cost of motor vehicle accidents.
  3. Provide and require training, as needed.
  4. Minimize risk by ensuring that drivers are validly licensed and trained, and that driving histories are satisfactory.
  5. 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 which 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 following vehicles shall not be operated while on official College business without advance approval from the Director of Transportation Services in consultation with the Office of Risk and Internal Control Services.
    • 15-passenger vans
    • 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 at all times, 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 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, at all times, 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

Revocation of Status

  Drivers may be disqualified from being a College Approved Driver as follows:

  • If the driver no longer meets criteria to be a College Approved Driver as set forth below.
  • If the driver fails to meet expectations as outlined in this Policy.
  • Any other reason which in the reasonable judgment of Transportation Services merits revocation of College Approved Driver status.
  • If status is to be revoked, the affected driver and their supervisor will be notified by Transportation Services that they no longer hold College Approved Driver status.
    • These drivers will remain disqualified for a period of two to three years (depending on the offense) from date of conviction. Disqualification due to failure to meet policy expectations may be set less than two years at the discretion of Transportation Services.  
    • A disqualified driver may reapply for approved driver status as of the time they meet the criteria for Approved Driver status set forth above. Drivers who do not meet the criteria for Approved Driver status because of accruing more than four points on their record within two years may apply for Approved Driver status before the two-year period passes after successful completion of a state approved point reduction program that effectively reduces total 'points' to four or less.
    • Note: Transportation Services will not consider point reduction programs for Driving or Operating under the Influence of Drugs or Liquor, Reckless Operation or Conduct after an Accident convictions.
  • 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.
  • Disqualified drivers may also elect to file a formal appeal with Transportation Services for an internal review by the Director of Transportation Services, who has final say over the designation of Approved Driver status.


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. Note that 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.
  • 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.  Reasons for an unsatisfactory motor vehicle record include but are not limited to the following:
    • More than four points for violations within the last two years.  (Note: 'Points' are assessed in the discretion of the Transportation Services office after review of the applicant's motor vehicle record, applying New Hampshire's DMV point assessment standards for motor vehicle driving violations to ensure consistency.)
    • Conviction for driving or operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol within the past three years. (Note: Two or more convictions for this offense within the past three years are a permanent disqualifier, unless a special exception is granted by the Director of Transportation Services in consultation with the Office of Risk and Internal Controls Services.)
    • Conviction for Reckless Driving within the last three years.
    • Conviction for Conduct after an Accident (Hit & Run) within the last three years.
    • Any other conviction or Motor Vehicle Record history which in the reasonable judgment of Transportation Services merits withholding of College Approved Driver status.


Failure to adhere to this policy may result in denial, suspension or revocation of Approved Driver Status at the discretion of the Director of Transportation Services. Appeals should be directed to Transportation Services. 

Policy ID


Effective Date

April 27, 2012

Last Revised Date

February 9, 2023


Campus Services

Office of Primary Responsibility

Transportation Services

Last Reviewed Date

March 6, 2023

Next Review Date