Texas Tech University


[Major revision–posted 6/14/24 (replaces 3/21/14 edition)]
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 Texas Tech University Double T

Operating Policy and Procedure

OP 79.13: University-Related Travel by Motor Vehicle or Commercial, Charter, or Donor Aircraft

DATE: June 14, 2024

PURPOSE: The purpose of this Operating Policy/Procedure (OP) is to help minimize the risks of liability connected with travel by university faculty, staff, and students. This OP applies to the use of motor vehicles in any activities directly related to the academic, research, and/or administrative responsibility of the department involved. This OP also applies to aircraft travel undertaken by faculty, staff, or students presently enrolled at the university to reach a university-related activity. It also applies to travel required by a registered student organization. * In accordance with § 51.950, Texas Education Code and Regents' Rules Section 07.11

REVIEW: This OP will be reviewed every two years after publication by the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President, Vehicle Fleet Management, the Texas Tech University System Office of Risk Management, and the Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer with substantive revisions forwarded through administrative channels to the Vice Provost for Student Life.


1.  Generally Applicable Definitions

a.    Employee

For purposes of this OP, an employee is defined as anyone appointed to work for the university in a manner that causes his or her name to appear on the university payroll including full-time and part-time faculty and staff.

b.    Sponsor

The sponsor of a student activity is selected by the organization from full-time faculty or staff members who have been employed by the university for at least one year.

c.    Student

A student is anyone enrolled in at least one semester credit hour and eligible to hold a current student identification card.

d.    Participant

Participants are employees, sponsors, students, and prospective students being recruited to participate in a specific university program or activity. In all such cases, reasonable efforts shall be made by the responsible department to ensure that each participant executes a release and hold harmless agreement.

e.    Course and Scope of Employment

An employee is within the course and scope of employment when he or she is engaged in activities that are related to the mission of the university and are in the furtherance of its affairs or business, whether on the university's premises or elsewhere.

f.    University-Related Activities

University-related activities are those activities that are consistent with the university's mission and that are approved by the appropriate administrative unit. This includes, but is not limited to, activities organized, sponsored, or funded by the university or using vehicles owned, leased by, or loaned to the university.

2.  Travel Using Vehicles Owned, Leased by, or Loaned to the University

a.    Appropriate Use

Only persons who are acting within the course and scope of university-related activities should use vehicles owned, leased by, or loaned to the university.

b.    Drivers

Because of the risks of personal injury, it is required that only those persons whose names appear on the Texas Tech University System list of approved drivers be allowed to use any motor vehicle owned, leased by, or loaned to the university. To request a driver be considered for approval and added to the approved driver list, the following are required:

(1)    The requesting department or unit must submit a completed request through the Texas Tech System Vehicle Operating System. The request must include an attached copy of the Texas Tech University System Driver Approval Request form (see Attachment A) and a copy of the driver's current license.

(2)    Qualifications for drivers of all motor vehicles owned, leased by, or loaned to the university are as follows:

(a)    Must have held a valid (Texas, other U.S. state, or District of Columbia) driver's license for at least two years and have attained 18 years of age. The two-year experience requirement may be satisfied by providing an English translation of the official driving record, or the equivalent thereof, from the individual's home country;

(b)    Must comply with driver record check requirements on an annual basis. The driver record will reflect the driver's three-year driving history and will be ordered from the appropriate U.S. state agency;

(c)    Must achieve an “approved” status using the Driver Rating Evaluation Form (OP 80.07, Vehicle Fleet Management Program, Attachment B);

(d)    Are required to report any driving violations to their immediate supervisor within five days of the occurrence. This includes violations that occur while driving a vehicle not owned, leased by, or loaned to the university;

(e)    Must not have had any convictions for driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or reckless driving in the five years immediately preceding the date on Attachment A, Driver Approval Request; and

(f)    Must not have a suspended or revoked license; suspension or revocation results in immediate cancellation of operator approval.

(3)    Additional qualifications for drivers of vans equipped for 15 passengers are:

(a)    Must be at least 20 years of age and have held a valid license, as defined in (2)(a) above, for at least two years;

(b)    Must successfully complete a 15-passenger van driver training course;

(c)    Must successfully complete 15-passenger van driver retraining annually;

(d)    Must not have more than one moving violation in the last 18 months;

(e)    Must successfully pass an annual drug screen; and

(f)    Must complete the 15-Passenger Van Inspection Checklist (Attachment C) for each trip. The inspection checklist should be kept in the vehicle glove box for the duration of the trip.

c.    Operator Conduct

Operators of university vehicles should take a 15-minute break every three hours and may drive no more than ten hours in a 24-hour period. When the vehicle driven is a van with passengers, a second person who remains awake at all times must ride in the front passenger seat.

(1)    Those who operate a university vehicle represent the university to the general public. The image conveyed does affect the university; therefore:

(a)    DO NOT use university vehicles for personal transportation or business;

(b)    DO NOT allow alcoholic beverages or narcotics to be consumed or illegally transported;

(c)    DO NOT pick up hitchhikers or transport family members or any other unauthorized passenger;

(d)    DO NOT allow the vehicle to become unnecessarily dirty and present an unfavorable image to the general public;

(e)    DO NOT operate the vehicle unless all occupants are wearing the required restraints;

(f)    DO NOT allow the number of passengers to exceed the authorized capacity of the vehicle (the capacity typically can be determined by counting the number of available seat belts);

(g)    DO observe all traffic rules and regulations;

(h)    DO drive carefully, safely, and courteously; and

(i)    DO require driver and all passengers to use seat belts and other appropriate occupant restraints at all times.

(2)    When a vehicle is damaged through operator misuse or is operated by a person under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, the department head employing the operator will be furnished a complete statement of the circumstances and a copy of the police report for the appropriate administrative action. Citations for all parking and traffic violations will be the personal responsibility of the operator.

(3)    If reasonable suspicion exists, testing may be conducted when an accident occurs causing an injury to anyone or damage to property owned by others or Texas Tech University or when the employee receives a traffic citation as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Refer to TTU OP 70.35, Drug and Alcohol Testing for Safety- and Security-Sensitive Positions, for details.

(4)    Use common sense driving. For road trips of 100 miles or more, share the driving, if possible, and take frequent breaks.

d.    Collision Reporting

The following procedures should be followed whenever a university vehicle is involved in a collision, regardless of the extent of damage:

(1)    Stop immediately and notify the proper law enforcement agency so that an official report can document the accident;

(2)    Take necessary steps to prevent another collision;

(3)    Use the Vehicle Fleet Management handbook for instructions and numbers to call;

(4)    Call a doctor, ambulance, or emergency medical team, if necessary. Render aid to the injured until help arrives;

(5)    Get names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all witnesses;

(6)    Provide all required information to the law enforcement officer;

(7)    Notify the department head or supervisor. If you are unable to contact or reach someone, contact the Texas Tech University Police Department;

(8)    If operating a vehicle leased to the university, report to Procurement Services at procurement@ttu.edu; and

(9)    Refer to Texas Tech University OP 80.08, Collisions Involving University Vehicles, for the completion of required vehicle accident paperwork.

e.    Authorization

Employees who drive vehicles owned, leased by, or loaned to the university, or have driving listed as one of their functions of university employment, must have a current driver record on file with the Texas Tech University System Office of Risk Management. This office may be contacted for information on how to add and delete names on the list of approved drivers.

f.    Travel Using Personal Vehicles

The university recognizes that employees occasionally use personal vehicles while engaged in university-related activities on campus and in the local area. Because personal automobile insurance will be responsible in the event of an accident, all persons who use their vehicles while conducting university business should be made aware of the possibility of personal liability related to such use. No coverage for personal injuries is available to employees or students if they drive their personal vehicles. The university discourages the use of personal vehicles.

g.    Use of Personal Vehicles Not Required

No individual shall be required to use his or her vehicle to perform university-related activities.

h.    Policy Concerning Use of Personal Vehicles by Students

(1)    Use of personal vehicles by students to drive to university-related activities is discouraged.

(2)    If students use their own vehicles, and/or transport other students as passengers, they must be informed, in advance by the sponsoring department or unit, that their personal insurance will be responsible for any liability that may arise from such use.

3.  Commercial, Charter, and Donor Aircraft Requirements

All faculty, staff, and students traveling on official university business or activities will use only those aircraft and aircraft operators that meet the requirements set forth below. The travel regulations contained in the Texas Appropriations Act, Texas Tech University System Regents' Rules 07.11, and other applicable laws and policies will be followed by the university. University employees are encouraged to be as conservative as possible in the use of air charter travel, using charter flights only when cost-effective or absolutely necessary.

a.    Air Travel Requirements

The university will only use aircraft and aircraft operators that are flightworthy and are certified and operate under Subchapters F & G, Parts 91, 119, 121, 125, or 135, as applicable in Chapter 1, Federal Aviation Regulations, 14 Code of Federal Regulations (the “C.F.R.”). In addition, all aircraft used pursuant to this provision must be piloted, at a minimum, by pilots who are fully qualified and insured in the aircraft being flown, possessing a commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating. All flights involving student travel must be piloted by two pilots.

b.    Foreign Air Travel

Air travel to or in foreign countries by university faculty, staff, or students will be arranged only through commercial air carriers regularly engaged in scheduled passenger air transportation.

c.    Information Requirement

With the exception of commercial, certified domestic and flag air carriers, aircraft operators will provide the university with the following information:

(1)    Type of certificate;

(2)    Certificate number;

(3)    Date the certificate was issued;

(4)    Expiration date for the certificate;

(5)    Type and registration number of aircraft authorized;

(6)    Name of Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards Office having jurisdiction over certificate holder; and

(7)    Schedule of insurance coverage in effect, showing insurance companies, policy numbers, type, amounts, period of coverage and special conditions, exceptions and limitations.

d.    Aircraft Made Available to the University by Other than Commercial Operations

Aircraft and crew made available to the university by other than commercial operators must, as a minimum, qualify under all regulations regarding aircraft and crew outlined in 14 C.F.R., Chapter 1, Subchapter G, Part 91, and conform to the insurance provisions set forth in Section 07.11.5, Regents' Rules. In addition, all aircraft used pursuant to this provision to transport students must, at a minimum, contain a multi-turbo prop engine or jet engine and be piloted by two pilots, fully qualified and insured in the aircraft being flown, possessing a commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating.

e.    Insurance

Aircraft owners/operators must furnish a certificate of insurance to the university as proof of $300,000 coverage per passenger, or the minimum amount required by law, whichever is greater.

f.    Administrative Requirements

The following are administrative requirements:

(1)    All flights involving leased, chartered, or donor aircraft, or aircraft made available to the university pursuant to Section 07.11.4, Regents' Rules, must be requested from and approved in advance by the President or designee;

(2)    All flights involving student travel, other than travel on commercial air carriers, must be approved in advance by the President or designee; and

(3)    The university department arranging travel under sections (1) or (2) above will ensure that contracts and other appropriate documents are reviewed by the Contract Administration office and the Office of General Counsel prior to approval by the President or his or her designee. To initiate the process, please email strategic.acquistions@ttu.edu.

g.    University Waiver
* In accordance with Section 07.11.7, Regents' Rules

This policy can be waived by the Chief Academic Officer's prior written approval for employees and graduate research assistants involved in research projects requiring aerial surveys. These research projects must be supported by grant funds that have been approved by the Office of Research Services.

h.    Aircraft Piloted by TTU System Personnel on Official Business

A TTU System employee may pilot an aircraft owned or leased by the employee for travel on official business and may be reimbursed for such travel in accordance with current state regulations (State of Texas Travel Allowance Guide, Chapter 6, Section 6.02). Any aircraft piloted by TTU System personnel for travel on official business must be maintained in accordance with all applicable Federal Aviation Regulations and shall have all instrumentation required for flying in the meteorological conditions then existing and as forecast. The pilot must be current and qualified in accordance with all applicable Federal Aviation Regulations for the type of aircraft flown and for the meteorological conditions then existing and as forecast. No flight shall be piloted by TTU System personnel with other faculty, staff, students, prospective students, or guests aboard. Any TTU System personnel desiring to travel under this provision must execute a written release of liability releasing the TTU System from any and all liability associated with such travel. (Refer to OP 79.14, Aircraft Piloted by Texas Tech University Personnel on Official Business.) For more information, please email travelservices@ttu.edu.

4.  Trip Insurance

Texas Tech University System and its components do not provide trip accident insurance for individuals not employed by the System or one of its components.

5.  Policy Concerning Student Releases and Medical Authorizations

Each student who travels to participate in a university-related activity including, but not limited to, academically related field trips, courses, competitions, or contests or to non-academic activities such as those sponsored by Recreational Sports, must execute a copy of the Student Activity Release Form (see Attachment B) prior to such activities. The Student Activity Release Form must be retained by the sponsoring department for the retention period specified in the Texas Tech University System Records Retention Schedule (OP 10.10, Records Retention, attachment).

6.  Guidelines Concerning Safe Travel Practices

a.    Each administrative unit approving university-related travel, especially when it involves students, is encouraged to promulgate guidelines that encourage safe driving and minimize risks of injury during that travel.

b.    Registered student organizations are free to make such off-campus trips as are deemed worthwhile by the membership and sponsors of the organization. Students and their parents should understand that participation in such off-campus trips and activities is at the student's own risk. If personal injury or accident should occur to students or other persons during such activities, Texas Tech will assume no responsibility, financial or otherwise.

c.    Faculty and staff sponsors and organization officers are urged to take all possible precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of all persons participating in the off-campus activity.

d.    There is no official registration procedure for official off-campus trips, and there are no official excused class absences for students who participate in off-campus trips by student organizations. Students will be responsible for making their own individual arrangements with instructors for class work missed while participating in an off-campus trip. Instructors will be free to set their own requirements for classwork missed under such circumstances; they must grant students an opportunity to make up all coursework missed while participating in an official off-campus trip.

e.    Please contact International Affairs for information regarding travel for study abroad programs.


Attachment A: Driver Approval Request

Attachment B: Student Activity Release Form

Attachment C: 15-Passenger Van Inspection Checklist

Operating Policies & Procedures