Vehicle Usage

University Owned Vehicles

The University is approved by the State of Michigan to self-insure for the benefits provided under the state’s automobile no-fault law. Liability insurance provides coverage for the University and its authorized drivers for claims of bodily injury or property damage arising out of the operation of a University owned vehicle.

Damage to University owned vehicles is self-insured and subject to a deductible which is the responsibility of the department.  All accidents, regardless of their size or nature, must be reported within 24 hours to the Office of Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) for appropriate handling.  If the vehicle's keys have been left in the vehicle and physical damage occurs, the department is financially responsible for all damages.

Departments are responsible for service, maintenance, and inspection of vehicles through Transportation Services. Failures to comply with requirements may negatively impact the coverage afforded.

Privately Owned Vehicles

For individuals using privately-owned vehicles on University business, the University's auto liability insurance may be excess of the owner's personal coverage. The University does not carry physical damage insurance on a privately owned vehicle.

Rental Vehicles

Employees are strongly encouraged to use National Car Rental or Enterprise-Rent-A-Car when traveling on University business. MSU is part of a Big Ten Agreement which includes coverage for damage to the rental vehicle and auto liability at no additional charge. The traveler must book using MSU booking channels and procedures ensuring the reservation is tied to the contract.  Failure to use these companies or procedures increases the financial risk to the University.

The University does not carry physical damage coverage for rental vehicles.

Insurance costs on domestic automobile rentals are not reimbursable from the University. Because of unique laws in foreign countries, complications in settling claims, and personal policy limitations, the liability and physical damage coverage should be purchased from the rental agency when traveling outside of the United States. Insurance costs on foreign automobile rentals are reimbursable from the University.

Rental expense for 12-15 passenger vans from any outside agency is not reimbursable, unless the following criteria are met:

  • Use of 12-15 passenger vans is restricted to a 15-mile campus radius. Travel on freeways/expressways is prohibited.
  • 12-15 passenger van drivers must hold a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) with passenger endorsement. Contact Transportation Services regarding the process for obtaining a CDL.

Driver Requirements

Departments can request a State of Michigan motor vehicle record review through RMI. For individual requests, complete the Michigan Driver Record Request Form (PDF) and for multiple requests, complete an Excel Spreadsheet. Submit all requests to RMI at riskmgmt@msu.eduIf a driver is licensed in a state other than Michigan, the department may submit a copy of the driver's out of state motor vehicle record to RMI for review. Standard response time could take up to 5-7 business days, and may be extended when request volume is high.

EMPLOYEES: Employees, who are assigned to drive a University owned vehicle to perform any MSU assigned tasks, must complete the Employee Driver Certification form annually. Departments are responsible for reviewing and maintaining these signed forms for their employees.

STUDENTS: University owned vehicles may not be used by students unless they are approved by a University department. When a department permits to a student to drive a University owned vehicle, that student will be required to do the following:

  • Have their driving record reviewed and approved by the Office of Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) prior to driving the MSU vehicle. This is required on an annual basis.
  • If the driver is an undergraduate student, they will be required to complete the Driving Safety for University Vehicle Use course in the Ability LMS, effective 10/1/2023 (one-time requirement)For additional information on this training requirement, and tracking progress and completion in Ability, please click here.

It is the responsibility of the department authorizing the use of the vehicle to ensure the above are complete.   

MSU Students must create a Request in Concur to use a Motor Pool vehicle, which indicates the student driving record has been checked and the driver safety training course has been completed. Any student arriving at Motor Pool without these steps completed will not be eligible to pick up or be added as a driver for a vehicle.

VOLUNTEERS: University owned vehicles may not be used by volunteers.

Volunteers that transport minors while driving their personal vehicles must have been subject to a motor vehicle record review within the last twelve months as required by the Youth Programs Policy.

REGISTERED STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS (RSOs): RSOs and RSO Volunteers are NOT permitted to drive University-owned vehicles.

Approved Driver Responsibilities

A person driving a University owned vehicle must have a valid, unrestricted U.S. driver's license, with proper class and endorsements listed for the vehicle(s) to be operated and must have a satisfactory driving record. The responsibility for enforcing these requirements rests with the Department Chairperson or equivalent.

All employees who operate university vehicles are expected to lock the vehicle and take the keys with them when they leave a vehicle unattended. This is not optional. Any employee found to be in violation of Ordinance 31.03, or other applicable rules or policies concerning vehicle use, may be subject to discipline up to and including revoking the privilege of using the vehicle and termination of employment.

Drivers on University business travel are expected to observe all posted speed limits and to operate the vehicles in accordance with applicable laws and state regulations.

Driver and all passengers must wear safety belts.

Drivers must also adhere to the hands-free law, effective June 30, 2023, making it illegal to manually use a cell phone or other mobile electronic device while opearting a vehicle on Michigan roads. See full details on this distracted driving law here.

Passengers are limited to those individuals that are part of the business purpose stated on the Travel Request form.

While traveling one-way more than 400 miles or more than 7 hours before reaching the planned destination, the driver is responsible to see that at least one other passenger is authorized to and acts as a relief driver. Trips should be no longer than 10 driving hours per day. No itineraries should be planned which include driving between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. Itineraries must be reviewed and approved by the sponsoring department.

Use of cargo carriers and trailers must be approved by Transportation Services.