Vehicle/Driver Requirements

This policy covers requirements for the use of university vehicles. USC reserves the right, at its discretion, to prohibit any individual from driving a university vehicle, or to prohibit an employee from driving a personal vehicle for university business. Failure to follow this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

University vehicle maintenance requirements

Each department using university-owned vehicles is responsible for ensuring:

  • quarterly maintenance checks are performed,
  • records of these checks are maintained, and
  • maintenance issues are properly addressed.

The Fleet Safety Committee may conduct audits of a department’s maintenance records at any time.

Employees must immediately report to their manager any conditions that may potentially affect the safe operation of a university vehicle. Vehicles should not be driven until any needed repairs have been completed.

Driver requirements

As a condition of employment, drivers of university vehicles – or employees who drive personal vehicles on university business – are expected to obey all traffic laws and regulations and maintain a valid license in good standing. Accordingly, all citations and/or tickets including, but not limited to, those related to a driver’s license, failure to wear a seatbelt, speeding, distracted driving, or DUI violations are the sole responsibility of the employee to either pay or successfully contest; the university assumes no obligation for any fines or fees. The employee’s department/school is responsible for “fix-it”-related citations and/or tickets on university vehicles only.

Authorized drivers

USC Risk Management must pre-approve all employees (including all categories of faculty, staff, student, or temporary employees), who drive university vehicles (owned, leased or rented).

This pre-approval as an authorized driver requires the employee to meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have had a driver’s license for at least 2 years
  • Have a minimum of 2 years driving experience with the same class of license as required by the university job description
  • Provide legible copy of current valid California driver’s license – see below for exceptions to California license requirement
  • Have an acceptable driving record per university requirements – (scroll down to see Appendix A)
  • Provide completed California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Employer Pull Notice Program Authorization for Release of Driver Record Information form
  • Successfully complete initial driver training program in TrojanLearn within 7 days of employment start date or date of driving responsibilities being added to job duties, and at least every 2 years thereafter

California license requirement

All employees who drive any university vehicle must have a valid California driver’s license unless:

  • The employee is conducting official university business outside California, in which case employee must have a driver’s license from that jurisdiction
  • The employee is a student with a valid driver’s license from their state of residence
  • The employee or student employee is a visitor to California who has had a valid driver’s license for a minimum of 2 years from their home country (NOTE: Visitors who become California residents as defined by the California DMV must immediately notify their manager and provide a copy of the California driver’s license within 10 days. See the California DMV website and USC’s Office of International Services website for additional details.)

Seat belt requirement

All drivers and passengers in university vehicles must wear their seat belts at all times and sit in designated seats while vehicle is moving; standing or riding in or on beds of vehicles is prohibited.

Alcohol/drug testing

All drivers must comply with the university’s USC Drug-Free policy, and may be subject to pre-employment/assignment testing as well as testing based on a reasonable suspicion that an employee is, or has been impaired. The university will conduct the testing in compliance with Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Act (FMCSA) regulations for those employees required to drive vehicles that fall under federally regulated transportation industry requirements (e.g., safety sensitive transportation employees, including but not limited to tram drivers and haulers of hazardous waste).

Driver’s license loss or change of status

Authorized drivers must immediately report a change in their driver’s license status to their manager and Risk Management. Authorized drivers are prohibited from driving a university vehicle if their license is revoked, suspended, expired or their driving privileges are otherwise restricted (e.g., Ignition Interlock Device).

  • If an employee in this situation has been assigned a university vehicle for personal use, the vehicle must be returned to the university immediately.
  • For employees in this situation whose driving privileges are restricted in a way that prevents the performance of driving duties or meeting the requirements of an authorized driver, and whose job description requires driving a vehicle, the employee will be subject to termination. If an individual’s job description does not require driving a vehicle, the employee must immediately cease driving any university vehicle.

Insurance information

The university liability insurance program provides protection to authorized drivers of university vehicles. The university self-insures for collision, fire, theft and liability. Commencing with each fiscal year, the employee’s department is responsible for the initial $1,500 in repair costs for the first accident and $5,000 in vehicle repair costs for each subsequent accident.

All accidents involving USC vehicles must be reported immediately to employee’s manager and to Risk Management via their incident reporting portal.

Personal use of university vehicles

Personal use of university vehicles is prohibited, including but not limited to any activity not directly related to university business during, before or after work, or during breaks. This includes using vehicles to drive off-campus for breakfast, lunch or dinner, unless meal is directly related to university business.

Use of personal vehicles for university business

Personal vehicles to be used for driving on official university business must be insured for at least the California-required minimum limits of $15,000/$30,000 bodily injury, plus $5,000 property damage. The personal insurance policy cannot contain a business use exclusion. The university has the right to require evidence of current automobile liability insurance coverage.

If an employee is driving his/her personal vehicle on official university business, the university’s liability insurance policy program may provide excess liability insurance protection to the driver in the event of a vehicle accident. The driver’s vehicle insurance is primary and must be exhausted before the university’s insurance program will defend or pay any claim. Note that the university is not responsible for the employee’s deductible under his/her personal auto insurance.

The university does not provide any insurance protection for fire, theft, collision or other loss or damage to personal vehicles. Note: Individuals who use their vehicles frequently in connection with official university business should consult with their insurance agent or broker to ensure their insurance coverage and limits meet their individual needs.

Responsible Office

Risk Management

Issued by

Todd R. Dickey, Senior Vice President, Administration
University of Southern California

Policy highlight video

Watch this brief video, part of USC’s “60 second SCoop” series, which goes over some of the highlights from the policy above:

Appendix A – University-required “Acceptable Driving Record”

To have an “Acceptable Driving Record,” an individual may have no “Major Citations” issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within the last 60 months (5 years) and a “Total Point Count” within the limits below. The “Total Point Count” is calculated by adding California DMV assigned points for driving violations/infractions to the points assigned by USC Risk Management.

Non-student employee

A “Total Point Count” equal to or less than the following and no “Major Citation” within the last 60 months (5 years):

-2 points in 12 months

-3 points in 24 months

-4 points in 36 months

Student or temporary employee

A “Total Point Count” equal to or less than the following and no “Major Citation” within the last 60 months (5 years):

-1 point in 12 months

-2 points in 24 months

-3 points in 36 months

Major Citations

Examples of “Major Citations” include, but are not limited to: driving under the influence (DUI), hit and run, use of vehicle for illegal purposes, driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license, speed contest, reckless driving, and causing injury to a pedestrian while driving.

USC Risk Management assigned points

  • 1 point for each preventable vehicle collision – the university assumes all vehicle collisions are preventable unless USC Risk Management in collaboration with the employee’s department determines otherwise. (A determination of “preventable” does not mean the driver was legally at fault).
  • 1 point for each moving violation that has no point value per the California DMV vehicle code (e.g., texting while driving).