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Student Travel Policy for University-Organized or Sponsored Events
It is the policy of the University of Texas at Austin to promote safe travel by students to and from events and activities covered by this policy.
This policy applies to the travel of enrolled undergraduate or graduate students to attend activities or events that are organized and/or sponsored by the University of Texas at Austin; and occur more than twenty-five miles from the University campus.
The types of activities and events covered by this policy include course-related field trips, Recreational Sports club trips, the activities of sponsored student organizations, and meetings of academic organizations where a student is officially representing the University.
The policy does not apply to travel undertaken by students to attend out-of-town athletic events, or to engage in student teaching, internships, practicums, observations, or research, unless the research is organized by a member of the faculty.
- An organized event is one that is initiated, planned, and arranged by a member of the University’s faculty or staff, or by the members of a sponsored student organization, and is approved by an appropriate administrator.
- A sponsored event or activity is one that the University endorses by supporting it financially, or by sending students to participate in it as official representatives of the University.
- An enrolled student is one who has been admitted to and is attending classes at the University.
- An appropriate administrator is a dean, department chair, or director of an administrative unit, or their delegate.
In order to assure that the events or activities that involve student travel are within the course and scope of the University’s mission, and that student safety issues have been addressed, travel undertaken pursuant to this policy must be authorized in advance by an appropriate administrator.
- To request authorization, members of the faculty, staff, or sponsored student organizations who organize activities covered by this policy must submit a completed Request for Authorization for Student Travel form, along with the required documents and information, to the appropriate administrator for approval. Whenever possible, the request should be submitted at least five working days in advance of travel to the activity or event.
- The following information/documents must be submitted along with the Request for Authorization for Student Travel form:
- A list of participants including their names, local addresses and phone numbers, and the names and phone numbers of persons to contact in case of an emergency.
- The name and phone number for the responsible University employee(s) who will be available to the students at all times during the travel and activity.
- Copies of valid operators’ licenses for any students who will operate vehicles.
- Copies of current medical insurance certificates, or both sides of a current group insurance membership card, for each person who wishes to participate in the activity or event. The purchase of a reasonably priced, short-term special events policy can be arranged by academic and administrative units on behalf of students who do not have, or cannot verify, current medical coverage. Information concerning this coverage is available from the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, (512) 471-1133.
- Completed and signed Release and Indemnification Agreements for each participant.
- Completed and signed Authorization for Emergency Medical Treatment forms for each participant.
- When leading group trips, faculty or staff members should carry emergency contact information, proof of medical insurance coverage, and the authorization for emergency medical treatment for each participant.
- Faculty members who teach courses that involve frequent field trips can collect the following information from students at the beginning of each semester and keep it on file with the appropriate administrator for use throughout a semester:
- Proof of current medical insurance
- Completed and signed medical authorization forms
- Completed and signed release and indemnification agreements (a single release and indemnification agreement may be used if a single description fits all the proposed trips)
- Proof of a valid vehicle operator’s license for students who will operate vehicles
- Onetime approval can be provided for multiple trips led by faculty or staff members that involve the same locations and the same participants.
- The Request for Authorization for Student Travel, the Authorization for Emergency Medical Treatment, and the Release and Indemnification Agreement forms are available online and from the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs.
Travel by Motor Vehicle
Compliance with Laws and Policies
- Motor vehicles used for travel covered by this policy shall have a current proof of liability insurance card and a state inspection certification.
- Travel undertaken by means of fifteen-passenger vans must comply with the requirements of The University of Texas System policy on automobile insurance and the use of vehicles, UTS157.
Vehicle Operator Requirements
- All students who will operate vehicles while engaged in travel covered by this policy must have a valid operator’s license and be trained as required by law to drive the vehicle that will be used.
- Operators shall comply with all laws, regulations, and posted signs or directions regarding speed and traffic control.
- Operators shall take a mandatory thirty-minute rest break every four hours.
- Operators shall drive no more than ten hours in any twenty-four-hour period.
- Trips requiring more than ten hours driving time to reach a point of destination shall require overnight lodging.
- A navigator shall be assigned for all trips scheduled to take more than two hours. The navigator must stay awake while on duty.
Safety Requirements for Both Operators and Passengers
- Seat Belts. Occupants of motor vehicles shall use seat belts or other approved safety restraint devices required by law or regulation at all times when the vehicle is in operation.
- Alcohol and Illegal Substances. Occupants of motor vehicles shall not possess, consume, or transport any alcoholic beverages or illegal substances.
- Passenger Capacity. The total number of passengers in any vehicle at any time it is in operation shall not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended capacity, or the number specified by University policy, or federal or state law or regulations, whichever is lowest.
Travel by Rental Vehicle
Rentals of vehicles to use for travel to activities or events covered by this policy are governed by the following guidelines.
- Vehicle Reservations The University is a participant in the State Travel Management Program, which has negotiated favorable vehicle rental rates with a number of car rental companies. While use of one of the University’s travel agencies is not required, doing so will help assure (1) that vehicles are rented pursuant to the State Travel Management plan whenever possible; (2) that vehicle rental agreements are valid; and (3) that necessary insurance coverage has been purchased. Information concerning those agencies is available from the University’s Travel Management Services.
Payment of Costs for Rental Vehicles
- Vehicle rental charges can be (a) billed centrally to Travel Management Services; or (b) billed directly to those departments or divisions that have uniquely numbered accounts with state contract car rental companies. If the rental costs are to be centrally billed, it will be necessary for the driver to obtain a voucher from Travel Management Services prior to picking up the rental vehicle.
- If necessary, personal credit cards may be used to rent vehicles for travel covered by this policy, and cardholders will be reimbursed for appropriate and approved costs. If rentals are from companies that are not under the state contract, the reimbursement amount will be limited to that which would have been incurred for equivalent state contract rentals.
- Rentals from Companies Participating in State Travel Management Program. Loss/damage waiver and primary liability insurance coverage are automatically included in the rates charged by companies participating in the State Travel Management Program. That protection does not cover injuries to persons or possessions inside a rental vehicle. Therefore, it is suggested that the personal injury insurance protection and the personal effects insurance protection offered by rental companies be purchased for student travel covered by this policy, particularly if there will be numerous passengers in the vehicle. The cost of the extended coverage is reimbursable only from funds held in 18, 19, 26, 29, and 30 accounts.
- Rentals from Non–State Contract Rental Companies. If no state contract cars are available and it is necessary to rent vehicles from noncontract companies, then both the loss/damage waiver and primary liability coverage must be purchased, unless the rental is charged to a University-issued Diner’s Club card. It is suggested that the personal injury insurance protection and the personal effects insurance protection offered by rental companies be purchased for student travel covered by this policy, particularly if there will be numerous passengers in the vehicle. The cost of the extended coverage is reimbursable only from funds held in 18, 19, 26, 29, and 30 accounts.
Travel by Means of a Vehicle Owned or Leased Long-Term by the University
In addition to complying with the general rules set out above, travel by means of a vehicle that is owned or leased long-term (for a period of more than one year) by the University must comply with the following requirements.
Proof of Insurance, Inspection, and Safety Devices Vehicles used for travel activity covered by this policy must
- Have a current proof of liability insurance card;
- Have a valid state inspection sticker;
- Have all devices or equipment required by federal or state law or regulation; and
- Comply with any other applicable federal or state law or regulation.
- Service and Maintenance A University-owned or long-term–leased vehicle used for student travel under this policy must be subject to scheduled periodic service and maintenance by qualified persons and must be in compliance with all relevant University of Texas System policies.
- Employee Operators All operators of vehicles described in this section shall be on the payroll of the University of Texas at Austin. All operators must have a valid license for the operation of a particular vehicle; and have a current BMDRIV rating on file. Human Resource Services or the Office of the Controller can be contacted for information on how employees may obtain a rating.
- Proof of Insurance, Inspection, and Safety Devices Vehicles used for travel activity covered by this policy must
Travel by Privately Owned Vehicles
The use of personal vehicles by students for travel to events covered by this policy is strongly discouraged.
- When requesting authorization for travel that involves the use of personally owned vehicles, the requestor, in addition to submitting the information described in part D.2 above, shall also submit a copy of a current liability insurance certificate for any vehicle to be used for the proposed travel.
- The persons responsible for the proposed activity and travel shall inform students who will drive their privately owned vehicles that their personal liability insurance policy will be looked to first to cover any liability that may result from the use of the vehicle for the proposed travel.
Volunteer Drivers and Passengers
Nonstudent/nonemployee drivers and passengers who accompany students on travel covered by this policy must sign the Release and Indemnification Agreement and the Authorization for Emergency Medical Treatment forms prior to the trip.
- Compliance with Laws and Policies
For assistance: Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Office of the Dean of Students.
Source: Revised Handbook of Operating Procedures, Policy 12.B.2