Approved by the President
Director of Business Services, (607) 436-2583
Manager of Procurement and Travel, (607) 436-2555
Business and Finance Policies
SUNY Oneonta provides transportation options for employees and students for required business travel via rental contract, reimbursement for use of a personal vehicle, and a limited number of university vehicles. In addition, the university operates a fleet of vehicles supporting the physical plant. This policy governs eligibility, requirements, and standards for the use of vehicles for university business.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure compliance with New York State and SUNY vehicle use policies and to promote the safe, effective, and efficient use of vehicles for university business, while minimizing risk to drivers, passengers, and institutional resources. This policy also highlights insurance liabilities associated with authorized use of vehicles for SUNY business.
Applicability of the Policy:
This policy is applicable to all employees, students, and official volunteers who use university, rental, or privately-owned vehicles for university business. Research Foundation and OAS employees should follow their respective policies and procedures.
1. Approval of Travel and Destination
Prior approval for travel: Business travel must be approved by the supervisor or volunteer sponsor on the Travel Request Application (TRA) prior to the travel. This authorizes the travel and establishes eligibility for any insurance or liability coverage applicable to the drivers and approved passengers. Approved volunteers and students will submit forms as listed and required in the Procedures.
Approved destinations for university vehicles: Destinations are limited to the United States within a distance of 300 road miles from the SUNY Oneonta campus. Any exception must be pre-approved by the Director of Facilities Operations.
Personal use of university vehicles: University vehicles must only be used for university business. Personal use of university vehicles is prohibited.
2. Driver Requirements
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must hold and present a valid operator’s license acceptable in NYS for the type of vehicle being operated
- Must allow license information to be submitted to the License Event Notification System (LENS) program, and once enrolled, immediately report any license revocation, suspension, or restriction to the Director of Facilities Operations
- Must be in full compliance with all laws applicable to the state in which they are operating the vehicle
- Drivers of university passenger vans must successfully complete the SUNY Oneonta-sponsored van training
SUNY Oneonta reserves the right to deny or suspend an employee’s, student’s, or official volunteer’s driving privileges of university vehicles at any time. Denied or suspended use of a rental vehicle is regulated by the rental company.
3. Authorized Drivers
Employees: Employees who meet the driver requirements in the previous section are authorized to operate university and rental vehicles for purposes of university business.
Students: Enrolled students who meet the driver requirements are authorized to operate university and rental vehicles only under specific circumstances and with appropriate prior approval (see Procedures).
Student employees: When required to carry out their job responsibilities, student employees who meet the driver requirements may be permitted to use golf carts, utility vehicles, or Facilities’ fleet vehicles. Applicable training related to these limited use vehicles is required prior to the operation of the vehicle.
Official volunteers: Official university volunteers who meet the driver requirements and are formally registered with the Human Resources Office are permitted to operate university, rental, or personal vehicles on university business as described in this policy.
4. Prohibited Activities
The following are prohibited while operating a university or rental vehicle:
- Use of tobacco products
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Possession of alcohol or illegal drugs
- Use of cellular phones without a hands-free adaptor
- Texting or other activity on electronic devices
Individuals other than employees, students, official volunteers, or other persons on official state business are not permitted as passengers in a university vehicle or vehicle rented directly by the university and paid from state-appropriated funds*.
At the discretion of the employee, individuals other than employees, students, official volunteers or other persons on official state business are permitted as passengers in personal vehicles and personally rented vehicles used for university business. The New York State rental contract allows for personal use at the approved contract rates. Drivers should be aware of liability exposure associated with vehicular travel for any vehicle used for university business, whether it be a rental, personal or state vehicle. (See Liability Exposure while Driving on SUNY Business.)
*Payment for the rental is direct billed to the university via purchase requisition or NYS travel card.
Elementary and high school youth under the age of 21 may not be transported in a 12-passenger van. Programs involving students that are not registered in post-secondary credits must be transported in a vehicle manufactured to meet federal school bus safety standards.
6. Choosing Travel Options
NY State policy requires that the least expensive mode of transportation be utilized for university-related travel. When common-carrier options such as plane or train are not available or cost efficient, the traveler is responsible to determine the least expensive mode of travel. Travel reimbursement will be based on the least expensive mode of travel. (See Procedures to review options and determine the appropriate option.)
Employees with disabilities who own specially equipped personal vehicles are authorized to use their personal vehicle when automobile transportation is required to perform official State functions. In this case, reimbursement will be based on the approved mileage rate for use of personal vehicles and will not be reduced based on lower-cost options. Employee/driver should check with their insurance provider regarding liability coverage while using their personal vehicle on authorized university business.
7. Liability and Insurance Coverage
All drivers should be aware of personal liability associated with vehicular travel. Coverage for medical, vehicle damage, and liability for personal injury varies based on factors such as employment status or ownership of vehicle used (State, personal, rental). In case of an accident, when driving a personal or rental vehicle on university business, liability may be extended to the driver’s insurance policy. (See Liability Exposure Chart for details.)
8. Additional Requirements for Certain Vehicles and Drivers
- Passenger vans: All drivers of university passenger vans MUST participate in a SUNY Oneonta sponsored training session. Contact University Police for the next available training.
- Driver will receive information about the operation of the particular vehicle as appropriate to the driver and vehicle, including operation, traffic, and parking rules for vehicles.
- Student or volunteer drivers of a university van must be authorized by a supervising staff member, department chairperson (if applicable), and appropriate dean or divisional leader. An approved form, “Request for Approval to Permit Student to Operate a university Vehicle” must be submitted to the Maintenance Operations Center one week prior to the trip.
- Drivers of limited use vehicles, such as golf carts, gators, and other slow-moving vehicles will receive training information applicable to the specific vehicle.
9. Vehicle Breakdowns and Accidents
Emergency assistance should be sought immediately by calling 911 for any accident that results in personal injury.
Accidents or breakdowns should immediately be reported to University Police for university vehicles or the rental agency for rented vehicles, prior to any arrangements for repairs or towing services. Instructions and contact information are provided in the glove box for university vehicles and in the rental packet for rentals. All accidents should be reported to local police. See Procedures for more information about handling breakdowns and accidents.
University vehicles include passenger vans owned or leased by the university for the purposes of transporting employees and/or students to and from a university sponsored activity, as well as cars, trucks heavy-duty equipment, slow moving and other vehicles utilized primarily on campus by university employees, students and official volunteers.
Employee is defined as any individual serving in a paid position at SUNY Oneonta, authorized to conduct business on behalf of the university.
LENS (License Event Notification Service) is an automated system that reports events that post to a driver’s license record, such as license status changes, suspensions, expirations, reportable accidents, and convictions. LENS notification records are securely maintained and are only shared for official purposes when required. This service is managed by the administrative staff in MOC.
Rentals are vehicles rented for business use by an employee from a rental agency with which NY State has a contract (currently Hertz and Enterprise).
Student is defined as any individual enrolled in credit bearing courses at SUNY Oneonta.
Student Employee is an enrolled student serving in a position paid via the SUNY, Federal Work Study, or Research Foundation of SUNY payroll.
Volunteer is defined as any non-employee who is formally registered as a volunteer with the Human Resources Office.
Questions related to the interpretation of this policy should be directed to:
Director of Business Services, 607-436-2583
Manager of Procurement and Travel, 607-436-2555
Liability Exposure while Driving on SUNY Business (drafted by SUNY in 2010, requested SUNY’s current review and they believe it is still an accurate resource although procedures have changed regarding car rental state contracts)
Approved by the President 2/23/2021