Driver and Vehicle Use

Marine Biological Laboratory
Policy No. D.2.4

Facilities, TS&G

Initiated by:  Director of Facilities
Approved by:MBL Director/CEO
Date:October 26, 2004
Distribution:MBL staff and visitors driving on MBL business

1.0Policy Statement:
As a driver of an MBL vehicle, the authorized driver has been given certain privileges. He/she assumes the duty of obeying all motor vehicle laws, maintaining the vehicle properly at all times and, otherwise, following the policies and procedures outlined in this policy.

MBL vehicles are provided to support business activities and are to be used only by qualified and authorized persons. In all cases, these vehicles are to be operated in strict compliance with motor vehicle laws of the jurisdiction in which they are driven and with the utmost regard for their care and cost efficient use. Any person authorized to drive an MBL vehicle must have a current valid driver’s license. Obtaining a driver’s license is a personal expense.

2.0Drivers Requirements

2.1Who is an authorized driver

2.1.1Must be an authorized employee of the MBL or a person authorized by an MBL supervisor or PI.
2.1.2Must be at least 18 years of age
2.1.3Must have a current valid driver’s license for the class of vehicle to be driven.
2.1.4People driving a 15 passenger van must successfully complete the MBL driving course prior to using the vehicle

2.2Who is not authorized to be a driver
Will not be authorized if, during the last 36 months, the driver had any of the following experiences:

2.2.1Been convicted of a felony involving the use of a motor vehicle
2.2.2Been convicted of sale, handling or use of drugs involving the use of a motor vehicle
2.2.3Had a driver’s license suspended or revoked
2.2.4Been convicted of three or more speeding violations or one or more other serious violation
2.2.5Been involved in three or more chargeable accidents
2.2.5Failed to stop and disclose identity to a police officer
2.2.6Engaged in unsafe practices involving a motor vehicle

3.0Permission to use an MBL vehicle
Permission to use an MBL vehicle must be granted by an “authorized” MBL supervisor and the vehicle must be checked out from the Keeper of the Keys (see section 13.0). Persons other than MBL employees or authorized individuals are not permitted to operate MBL vehicles.

3.1Smoking is not permitted in any MBL vehicle at any time.
3.2Employees or authorized individuals may be held personally liable in situations where vehicles are operated outside the scope of the policy.
3.3The number of passengers in a vehicle shall not exceed the maximum seatbelts available.
3.4If involved in misuse of MBL vehicle, the driver may be personally liable for damage to persons or property caused to third parties and for the legal expenses for defense of such claims.

4.0Personal Cars Used on MBL Business
MBL does not assume any liability for bodily injuries or property damage the employee may become personally obligated to pay arising out of an accident occurring in connection with operation of his/her own car. MBL suggests that you maintain minimum liability limits of $250,000 Bodily Injury per person, $500,000 Bodily Injury per accident, $100,000 Property Damage per accident. MBL does not specify and assumes no responsibility for any other coverage employees carry on their own cars since this is a matter of individual status and preference.

4.1When driving a personal vehicle on MBL business, the individual’s personal auto insurance provides primary coverage.

5.0Review of Motor Vehicle Record
State Motor Vehicle Records (MVRs) will be used as the source for verifying driver history. MVRs will be obtained and reviewed at least annually for Risk Management and Underwriting purposes by the MBL’s insurance broker. See addendum 1.

5.1MBL will be notified of any person not meeting the underwriting criteria. The person brought to MBL’s attention will have the opportunity to work with the MBL to have a full review of the driving record.
5.2Driving privileges may be withdrawn or suspended or additional periodic MVRs may be used to monitor driving for any authorized driver not meeting the above requirements.

6.0Traffic Violation

6.1Fines for parking, moving violations, or Fastlane violations are the personal responsibility of the operator.
6.2Each driver of an MBL vehicle is required to report all moving violations to his or her manager within 24 hours.
6.3Please be aware that traffic violations incurred while not on MBL business will affect your driving status and are subject to review.

7.0Accidents involving MBL Vehicles
In the event of accident:

  • Don’t comment regarding the accident including admitting negligence or liability
  • Do not attempt settlement, regardless of how minor
  • Get name, address and phone number of injured person and witnesses if possible
  • Exchange vehicle identification, insurance company name and policy numbers with the other driver
  • Take a photograph of the scene of the accident if possible
  • Call the police if injury to others is involved. You may want to call police even if there are not injuries.
  • Notify MBL and complete accident report

8.0Accident Prevention
A preventable accident is defined as any accident involving an MBL vehicle or any vehicle while being used on business that results in property damage and/or personal injury, and in which the driver in question failed to exercise every reasonable precaution to prevent the accident. Preventable accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Following too closely
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Failure to observe clearances
  • Failure to obey signs
  • Improper turns
  • Failure to observe signals from other drivers
  • Failure to reduce speed
  • Improper parking
  • Improper passing
  • Failure to yield
  • Improper backing
  • Failure to obey traffic signals or directions
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or similar charges

9.0Seat belts and child seats

9.1MBL employees shall wear seat belts while they are operating or riding as passengers in any MBL owned vehicle or in any other vehicle used in the course of employment at the MBL. Drivers are to inform passengers of MBL vehicles of the MBL policy to wear seat belts.
9.2When transporting children, driver will ensure that children are using seat belts or car seats as required by law.

10.0Substance Abuse

10.1 The use of alcohol and illegal drugs and carrying of such in a vehicle is prohibited at all times, except as noted in section 10.2.
10.2From time to time transporting sealed bottles or cases of alcoholic beverages may be a business necessity. The unauthorized carrying of sealed bottles or cases of alcohol while on MBL business is prohibited.
10.3Use of prescription medications, which may affect a driver’s alertness, judgment, or reaction time, is also prohibited.

11.0Cell Phone Use
Studies show that drivers using a cell phone while driving are 400 to 500 times more likely to get into traffic accidents than those who do not use them. As a result it is the responsibility of all drivers to adhere to the following safety recommendation:

11.1All drivers must use a hands free device when using the phone while driving
11.2Drivers are to use the phone for receiving calls only. If a call must be made from the vehicle, the vehicle must be pulled over and stopped in a safe area.
11.3Whenever possible all drivers should pull off the road to a safe area when making cell phone calls.

12.0Vehicle Maintenance
Vehicles should not be operated with any defect that would inhibit safe operation. Preventive maintenance such as regular oil changes, lubrication and tire pressure and fluid checks determine to a large extent whether you will have a reliable, safe vehicle to drive and support work activities. Preventive maintenance should be completed on all vehicles as required in the owner’s manual.

12.1Maintenance of MBL owned vehicles

12.1.1Return the vehicle in a clean condition and with a full tank of gas (if not, the program will be charged for the gas).
12.1.2Confirm location and status of the on-board first aid kit.
12.1.3Check operational status of the on-board fire extinguisher.
12.1.4Check for properly operating and accessible seat belts and child safety seats.
12.1.5All maintenance problems should be immediately reported to the MBL person responsible for the vehicle.

13.0Keeper of the Keys: KOK
For every MBL vehicle, there must be a designated staff person regarded as the keeper of the keys with overall responsibility for that specific (may be more than one) vehicle including, but not limited to: vehicle maintenance, accident reporting, key distribution and similar tasks. A log book of all drivers should be maintained by the KOK.

14.0Disciplinary Action
Violation of this policy may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment or from the MBL campus.

14.1If it is determined through the check of the driving records that the employee does not meet the driver qualifications, and the performance of the employee’s regular MBL duties requires driving on MBL business, the employment may be terminated.

15.0.Exceptions to Policy:
While a policy is meant to cover as many circumstances as may be foreseen, from time to time there are unforeseen circumstances. Any exception to this policy will be considered on a case by case basis. Exceptions can be approved only by the Manager of Transportation, Building Services and Grounds or the Director of Facilities, Services and Projects.

16.0Policy Clarification and Updates:
Policy clarification and updates are available from the Manager of Transportation, Building Services and Grounds or the Director of Facilities, Services and Projects.

Policy No. D.2.4
Facilities, TS&G
Addendum 1

Motor Vehicle Record Addendum

It is a requirement that every MBL employee or authorized person with driving duties must have a motor vehicle record (MVR) meeting the grading requirements stated below. This MVR policy applies both to drivers of MBL owned vehicles as well as employees using personal vehicles in the course of MBL business.

MVRs will be examined prior to the start of employment or time at the MBL and at least annually thereafter.

The standards for MVRs are as follows:

  1. All operators must have a valid driver’s license.
  2. No new driver will be authorized with a “borderline” or “poor” MVR. MVRs will be graded based on the table below as minimum requirements.
  3. Driving records must remain “acceptable” or “clear” as graded on the table below.

Any exceptions to these guidelines must be referred to senior management for written approval.

Number of
Minor Violations
Number of at-fault accidents
Any major violation


Minor Violation:
Any minor violation other than a major except:
Major Violations
  • Motor vehicle equipment, load or size requirement
  • Improper/failure to display license plates
  • Failure to have driver’s license in possession (if valid license exists)
  • Driving under influence of alcohol/drugs
  • Failure to stop/report an accident
  • Reckless driving/speeding contest
  • Driving while impaired
  • Making a false accident report
  • Homicide, manslaughter or assault arising out of the use of a vehicle
  • Driving while license is suspended / revoked
  • Careless driving
  • Attempting to elude a police officer