Indiana University Seal

Operation of University VehiclesFIN-INS-03


This policy applies to anyone operating any motorized vehicle while engaged in University business.

Back to top

Policy Statement

Indiana University encourages safe driving practices by all drivers who operate any motorized vehicle while engaged in university business.

Anyone operating a motorized vehicle, including personally owned vehicles while engaged in University business:

  • will not engage in texting while driving or operating equipment;
  • will not leave unattended vehicles running;
  • will not operate a motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or any drug that impairs the driver's abilities;
  • will transport alcoholic beverages in a "university-owned" or "university-leased" vehicle only if they are stored in the trunk of the vehicle;
  • will never transport illegal drugs in a university vehicle;1
  • will adhere to the guidelines for limiting hours of driving while on trips;
  • will use seatbelts when operating a motorized vehicle so equipped;
  • will be properly licensed for and/or trained in the use of the vehicle or equipment he or she is using;
  • will comply with other referenced policies as listed below;
  • will comply with all state laws and local codes pertaining to the use of motorized vehicles.

This policy extends to all occupants of the vehicle if the activity distracts the driver (operator) from safe operation.

1.  An exception is granted for campus police transporting evidence or confiscated drugs, as necessary.

Back to top

Reason for Policy

In the interest of safety, Indiana University bans certain activities and requires safe practices while operating any motorized vehicle, licensed or unlicensed, in the course of doing University business. Unsafe use of motorized vehicles is a hazard to occupants of our vehicles and a hazard to pedestrians and other vehicles.

Leaving vehicles unsecured with the keys in the ignition poses a risk of vehicle theft and misuse of the vehicle including possible injury to persons and damage to property.

Back to top


Unattended vehicles
Any university vehicle, licensed or unlicensed, which will be out of the immediate sight and control of an agent of the university who is responsible for the vehicle shall have the engine shut down and ignition keys removed and stored securely with the driver/operator.

It is strongly recommended that the doors of the vehicle, if so equipped, be locked.

Exception: A police or any other public safety emergency vehicle may be left running while unattended but only if the doors are locked. An exception to this policy will be recognized in cases of emergency when securing the vehicle is not feasible.

Exception: Any vehicle which, because of the purpose it is serving (e.g., running a pump), may be left running while unattended but only if secured against unauthorized use. Exceptions in this category must be approved by the unit supervisor. This does not apply to leaving a vehicle running merely for convenience (e.g., running the heater to keep it warm or the air conditioner to keep it cool).

Guidelines for Trips

  • On any trip with one or more passengers, it is recommended that one passenger should always be acting as the vehicle navigator.
  • Any trip (or trip segment) exceeding three hours must include at least one fifteen-minute rest stop.
  • Any trip (or trip segment) exceeding nine hours must include at least one thirty-minute (or more) stop in addition to the 15-minute rest stop. (I.e., stops one and two shall be at least 15 minutes; stop three will be thirty minutes.)
  • No driver shall drive more than twelve hours during any 24-hour period. Driving time is inclusive of short rest stops (e.g., a driver leaving at 9:00 AM and stopping at 4:00 PM with one 15-minute stop and one 30-minute stop has driven seven hours). A driver going off-duty should not become the navigator.
  • No trip segment shall exceed sixteen hours. After sixteen hours the driver(s) must stop for at least seven hours. This rule is to be observed even if there are multiple approved drivers.


The proper use of safety restraints by passengers in University-owned vehicles shall be the responsibility of the operator of the vehicle. If any passenger of said vehicle refuses to use the provided restraints properly, the operator of the vehicle may refuse that person further passage, unless such refusal should endanger their safety.
Exception: An exception to this policy is granted if an occupant has a physician's statement stating that compliance is not possible or would be harmful to that person (e.g., a medical device that would be compromised by the shoulder belt). The physician's statement shall define its effective period.

Procedures Affecting Golf Cars & Off-road Vehicles (ORVs) 

Back to top


MOTORIZED VEHICLE includes any motorized vehicle or implement, licensed or unlicensed, which may be operated on or off public ways. This definition includes but is not limited to such vehicles as Gators, lawn mowers, tractors and golf carts.

UNIVERSITY VEHICLES include all licensed vehicles owned, leased, or rented by or for Indiana University. (See the Related Information section concerning IC 34-13-3.) This definition includes personal vehicles when operated on UNIVERSITY BUSINESS.

UNIVERSITY BUSINESS means those activities that further the mission of the university and, in the case of an employee of the university, are within the scope and authority of that person's employment. For example: normal student transportation activities, e.g., handicapped students shuttles, Campus Bus, are deemed to be "in furtherance of educational objectives" within the course of their normal use.  E.g., driving a personal vehicle on an university errand or from one location to another to teach is university business. This definition applies whether the driver is reimbursed for use of a personal vehicle or not.

TEXTING means reading from or entering data into any handheld or other electronic device, including for the purpose of SMS texting, e-mailing, instant messaging, obtaining navigational information, or engaging in any other form of electronic data retrieval or electronic data communication.

CONTROL means an agent of the university responsible for the vehicle must be able to reach the vehicle and prevent unauthorized entry and use for them to be deemed in control of the vehicle.

RESPONSIBLE means the operator of the vehicle or equipment has primary responsibility for it, but this can be delegated to another agent of the university, e.g., a co-worker.

IMPAIRED means a deterioration of an individual's judgment and decrease in his or her physical ability.

ANY DRUG THAT IMPAIRS THE DRIVER'S ABILITIES is inclusive of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and application may vary from driver (operator) to driver depending on the drug's effect on that person.

SEATBELTS includes all factory-installed restraint systems, such as seat belts and shoulder harnesses.

GOLF CART: A vehicle [normally] used to convey a person or persons and equipment to play the game of golf in an area designated as a golf course. This policy does not apply to Golf Carts used on a golf course except as specifically indicated in the procedures reference.

OFF-ROAD VEHICLE (ORV): A motor driven vehicle capable of cross-country travel without benefit of a road, on or immediately over land or other natural terrain. This includes:

  • A multi-wheel drive or low-pressure tire vehicle.
  • An all-terrain vehicle (ATV).
  • A recreational off-highway vehicle.
  • Other means of transportation deriving motive power from a source other than muscle or wind.

Not included in the definition of off-road vehicle are:

  • A farm vehicle.
  • A construction or other industrial related vehicle used in the performance of the vehicle's common function.
  • A snowmobile.
  • A golf cart vehicle.
  • Segways.
  • Electric bicycles.

NOTE: ORVs located at the Judson Mead Geologic Field Station in Montana are exempted from these procedures because of their narrow scope of use.

2. This does not include referring to the image on a GPS screen or listening to verbal instructions. It does include attempts to program the GPS while driving.

Back to top


University faculty, staff, agents, and students that are found to be in violation of this policy may be subject to sanctions relating to the individual's employment (beginning with progressive discipline and up to and including immediate termination of employment in accordance with applicable university policy) or the individual's studies within the university (such as student discipline in accordance with applicable university policy).

In addition, persons found in violation of this policy may be disapproved for any further use of University vehicles.

Back to top

Additional Contacts

Subject Contact Phone Email
Policy Implementation-Texting-Federal Grants James Becker (812) 855-4884
All other questions Larry Stephens (812) 855-0104

Back to top


This is a new policy that encompasses and supersedes several related policies from the Office of Insurance, Loss Control and Claims (INLOCC) and expands upon the Office of Research Administration policy on texting while driving.

The Procedures Affecting Golf Cars & Off-road Vehicles (ORVs) associated with this policy were updated in April 2015

Back to top