Office of the Vice President for
Administration and Finance
SECTION: TRAVEL INDEX: F-3
SUBJECT: STUDENT TRAVEL
Texas Education Code, Section 51.949, as enacted by the 77th Legislature requires the regulation of certain types of student travel sponsored, supported or sanctioned by the university. UHS System Administrative Policy 03.E.08, Travel by Students to Component University Funded Activity, establishes the system wide policy for this type of travel.
This policy only applies to student travel undertaken by one or more currently enrolled students to reach an activity or event and that meets all of the following criteria:
- An activity or event is organized and sponsored by the university. An activity or event is considered to be organized and sponsored if it has been planned, funded and approved by the university; and
- The activity or event is located more than 25 miles from the component institution; and
- (1) Travel to the activity or event is funded and undertaken using a vehicle owned, leased or rented by the university;
(2) Attendance at the activity or event is required by a registered student organization and approved in accordance with University procedures.
These requirements apply to all faculty, staff, and students who engage in transporting students off campus for any university business or related travel activities. These procedures will be made available to the public by inclusion on the university website as well as the online university catalog and student handbook.
MODES OF TRAVEL
The most common means of travel available to UHV students are addressed below. Each form of transportation may require passengers to follow safety precautions specific to the mode of transportation used.
Vehicles Owned, Leased or Rented by the University - Only university employees, including student employees, who have met the University’s acceptable driver’s standards, are authorized to drive university owned or rented vehicles. Travel must be in compliance with UHV Policy F-2, Business Use of Vehicles, which establishes standards for granting driving privileges, insurance coverage and reporting requirements when there are accidents.
Acceptable employee driver’s standards include:
- Valid driver’s license; and
- No at-fault accidents within the past three years; and
- No more than two moving violations within the past three years.
Use of Privately Owned Vehicles - No person shall be required to use his or her personal vehicle for transporting students to events organized and sponsored by the university. Because personal automobile insurance will be looked to first in the event of an accident, persons who use their vehicles while conducting university business should be aware of the possibility of personal liability related to that use.
Employees and students may be reimbursed for mileage at the official state rate when a personal vehicle is used for component university business whether the travel is local or outside the component university area in accordance with UHV Policy F-1, Reimbursement for Travel and Other Expenses.
Reimbursements require prior authorization through a properly approved Travel Request.
Air Travel, Bus and other commercial carriers - Students traveling by commercial carrier must comply with laws regulating that travel and the rules of the specific carrier.
TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
Departments, units and student organizations sponsoring organized travel outside the United States are responsible for assuring compliance with the provisions of UHV Policy and Procedure, F-8, Foreign Travel.
Students driving privately owned vehicles for organized student travel outside the U. S. must have all appropriate licenses, certificates and insurance required by the country they are traveling in.
SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR DRIVERS AND OCCUPANTS
Drivers and occupants engaged in student travel have an obligation to act responsibly and use sound judgment when traveling. Personal liability may be incurred in the event of an accident caused through personal negligence or violation of laws.
Students and employee drivers must:
- have a valid driver’s license;
- wear seat belts at all times;
- obey all traffic laws and regulations, including posted speed limits;
- not drive under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs or transport or possess alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, unauthorized firearms or other types of weapons;
- ensure the vehicle has at least the minimum insurance required by the State, as well as a current state inspection and registration.
All drivers are encouraged to:
- begin the trip well rested;
- carry a cell phone;
- notify a designated contact person upon departure and arrival;
- avoid driving when conditions are hazardous (fog, heavy rain, snow or ice conditions);
- plan routes in advance, and caravan (follow each other) when possible;
- stop for rest as necessary; be prepared to stop the trip and check into a motel when fatigue or travel conditions warrant;
- rotate drivers every two hours and avoid driving between midnight and 6am. It's a good idea for a passenger or second driver to ride in the front seat and remain awake to help the driver maintain alertness;
- carry an emergency car care kit (available by checkout from Student Services);
- establish a reasonable departure and arrival time to and from the activity or event;
- have at least one other approved driver in the vehicle if possible;
- be careful of taking any medications that could impede driving ability (cause drowsiness or dizziness, for example).
- wear seat belts at all times;
- not exceed the number of seat belts available or the vehicles recommended capacity;
- horseplay or other actions that are distracting to the driver.
Passengers are encouraged to:
- assist the driver with route directions, especially in congested city driving;
- help the driver maintain alertness by riding in the front seat and talking with the driver to help the driver maintain alertness;
- insist that the driver to pull over or stop for rest when conditions warrant.
TRAVEL APPROVAL PROCESS AND RECORDKEEPING
- Student drivers must complete a UHV Travel Request for each trip and obtain the necessary approvals prior to travel. The travel request form will be used for record keeping purposes since the travel request information will include the name of each traveler, the dates of travel, mode of travel, destination and the purpose of the trip. Although the name of each passenger must be listed on the travel request form (phone # is also recommended) passengers are not required to sign the travel request.
- University employees who will be driving (including student employee drivers), must have an acceptable driver’s background check on file in accordance with University Policy F-2. The Finance Travel Coordinator will verify this requirement.
- All student travelers (driver and passengers) must complete a UHS Waiver and Release Form acknowledging that they understand and accept the risks involved in the travel activity and accept responsibility for their behavior. An original waiver or copy of the blanket waiver must be attached to the travel request form for each trip for each traveler. Blanket waiver and release forms are acceptable in certain situations i.e. reoccurring related travel, however an annual blanket waiver cannot extend past the fiscal year end of August 31.
FAILURE TO COMPLY
Failure to comply with these requirements can result in one or more of the following actions:
- Departmental suspension of student travel.
- Restrictions against specific students from participating in future group travel.
- Student disciplinary action in accordance with university policy.
- Employee disciplinary action in accordance with university policy.
Tim Hudson, Ph.D. Date
Originating Department: Finance/Student Services
Next Review Date: October 2011
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