Permitting a student to operate a vehicle without proper authorization could place both the student and the College employee providing such permission in a difficult liability situation in the event of an accident. Both could be sued without the protection of the State.
Item 091 of the State University Administration Policy Manual deals with operation of College-owned vehicles by students. Excerpts from that policy statement follow:
“Students will be assigned to drive a State (College)-owned vehicle only when it is not feasible to use another driver. The campus president will designate the person or persons who are authorized to appoint student drivers. A separate authorization for the use of a student driver must be made for each trip.” Another section of the same procedure indicates that students may be transported in State vehicles “only for the purpose of field trips…intercollegiate competitions…provided” they “are accompanied by a member of the campus staff.”
The only exception to this policy is a student employed by the College in a capacity which requires operation of a College vehicle. A typical example would be a student hired by our maintenance department where driving a vehicle is a necessary part of the job.
To implement this policy we developed the local procedure which follows, as approved the President'’ Cabinet on June 6, 1989, and updated on April 3, 1997.
1. Students may operate a College vehicle only when authorized through the Maintenance Operations Center Vehicle Assignment Office.
2. A student driver must submit a valid operator’s license. This need not be a New York State license, but must be acceptable in this state.
3. Written application for such authorization must be made by the supervising staff member, to be approved by the appropriate Department Chair and Dean. The request will include the purpose of the trip, the destination, the date(s) of the trip, the reason it is necessary to use a student driver, the name of the employee who will accompany and supervise the student, the name of the student operator, his/her Social Security number, and the student’s license number and license expiration date. (See form attached.) Forms should be sent to the Maintenance Operations Center Vehicle Assignment Office.
4. Students should be cautioned about proper operation of the vehicle and be properly supervised during the trip. Special care should be taken when using College vans to ensure that the student is familiar with and capable of handling this larger vehicle.
Please refer any questions you may have to the Vehicle Assignment Office at 436-3283.