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XIV. Driver Safety Program

 

In accordance with the provisions of R.S.39:1527, the Louisiana Office of Risk Management is now self insuring auto liability for the state’s fleet under a blanket policy. In an attempt to control the risk and reduce losses, the La. ORM developed a Driver Safety Program which governs the use of state vehicles. These governing rules were issued with an implementation date of June 1, 1986; complete compliance to be accomplished by June 1, 1987. The University Safety Officer has been delegated authority to manage the program and to issue Nicholls Driver Authorizations to qualified university employees.

A. Driver Authorization
Nicholls State University employees who drive University vehicles or privately owned vehicles for university business are required to obtain a Nicholls Driver Authorization each year. An Authorization and Driver History Form (Form DA2054) must be completed with the employee’s signature and the safety officer’s signature before authorization to drive vehicles for university business can be issued.

B. Driver Training
All authorized drivers shall successfully complete an ORM recognized defensive driving course within ninety (90) days of entering the program and shall complete a refresher course at least once every three years unless their class of license requires other additional training or testing. Drivers who have convictions on their motor vehicle records shall be required to retake a recognized driving course within ninety (90) days of notification of a conviction. The University Safety Officer and other certified University personnel have been authorized to conduct driver training courses for Nicholls State University employees.

C. Accident Reports
Every University employee who is authorized to drive a university vehicle is given a Louisiana State Driver Program Accident Report (DA2041) along with instructions on how to complete the form. In the event of an accident, authorized drivers are required to remain at the scene until all required information is obtained and medical treatment has been initiated for everyone suffering bodily injury as a result of the accident.

D. Audit of Driver Safety Program
Driver Safety Program compliance review and audit will be conducted by the Office of Risk Management (ORM).

E. Definitions:
Accident –
Any incident in which the vehicle comes into contact with another vehicle, person, object or animal. Accidents can result in death, personal injury and/or property damage.
High Risk Driver – Any individual having three or more convictions, guilty and/or no contest pleas for moving violations; or individual having a single conviction, guilty or  no contest plea for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, hit and run, vehicular negligent injury, reckless operation of a vehicle or similar violation, within a one year period.
University Vehicle – Any vehicle owned, leased and/or rented by Nicholls State University, including any privately-owned vehicle used in the course and  scope of University employment.
Regular Driver – Any individual whose normal job duties require him/her to drive to fulfill the course and scope of his/her employment on a regular basis (once a week).
Occasional Driver – Any individual whose normal job duties do not require him/her to drive to fulfill the course and scope of his/her employment (may drive infrequently).
Non-Driver – Any individual whose normal job duties do not require him/her to drive (even on an irregular or infrequent basis) to fulfill the course and scope of his/her employment. (may drive in an emergency situation only).
Unauthorized (“Not Authorized”) Driver - A driver shall be considered “Not Authorized” if he/she meet ANY of the following criteria:
1. Is defined as a high risk driver.
2. Did not complete/pass the ORM recognized-driver course within the allowed time period.
3. Does not have a valid driver’s license.
4. The official driving record isn’t cleared of all flags.
5. Did not complete the annual Authorization and Driving History Form (DA 2054)  and/or have it signed by the employee and agency head/designee.
State Business - Any legal and lawful activity conducted/engaged in, by an employee or agent of the State of Louisiana, on behalf of and benefiting the state in the course and scope of fulfilling his/her job duties.
Wireless Telecommunications Device – Any type of instrument, device, or machine that is capable of transmitting or receiving telephonic, electronic, radio, text, or data communications, including but not limited to a cellular telephone, a text-messaging device, a personal digital assistant, a computer, or any other similar wireless device that is designed to engage in a call or communicate text or data.

F. Background
The high cost of insurance has forced the State of Louisiana to develop a program that aims to reduce the number of vehicular accidents and thereby limit the increase in insurance cost. The most effective way to control cost is to restrict vehicle operations to a minimum number of drivers who have good driving records.
The Nicholls Driver Safety Program is designed to limit potential for vehicular accidents by:
1.  Increasing supervisory involvement in the management of vehicular operations.
2.  Ensuring Nicholls drivers meet established driver authorization criteria.
3.  Providing required defensive driver training.
4.  Investigating all accidents to determine the cause and taking necessary action to prevent recurrences.

G. General Provisions
1.   Employees will be authorized to operate state vehicles only when it is a genuine job requirement and when they are fully licensed and trained.
2.   Employees designated as “Regular Drivers” are required to complete a defensive driving course within 90 days of receiving driver authorization and every three years thereafter unless his/her driving record dictates a need for additional training.
3.   An employee’s need for operating university vehicles will be reviewed annually. Those who no longer having a work-related need to drive a state vehicle or who are deemed high-risk drivers will lose their driving privilege.
4.   An employee may be subject to disciplinary action if he/she:
a.  Knowingly and intentionally operates a University vehicle without current driving authorization.
b.  Fails to report an accident involving a University vehicle; or
c.  Is convicted of reckless operation of a motor vehicle; driving while intoxicated; causing negligent injury; and/or similar violations while driving a University vehicle.

H. Criteria for Driver Authorization
The following criteria will be used to determine employee’s eligibility for driver authorization:
1.  Valid organizational need;
2.  Individual’s physical and attitudinal suitability to operate the specific type vehicle;
3.  Individual’s training and qualifications to operate the specific type vehicle;
4.  Individual’s Motor Vehicle Record (MVR); and
5.  Individual’s valid motor vehicle driver’s license.

I. Class of Vehicles
These factors determine vehicle class: usage, axel count and passenger load. The class authorization for each university driver is dependent upon the class of vehicle to be driven and the principle purpose for driving the vehicle.

Class A Commercial Driver’s License – Combination Vehicles – Permits the operation of all vehicles within Classes B, C, D and E, with any appropriate endorsements and any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, provided that the gross vehicle weight rating of the vehicle or vehicles being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.

Class B Commercial Driver’s License – Heavy Straight Vehicle – Permits the operation of any vehicle within Classes C, D and E, with any appropriate endorsement(s) plus any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more. A “straight vehicle” is defined for the purpose of this class as being one that does not bend or have a moveable joint in its frame between the driver seat and the cargo or passenger compartment.

Class C Commercial Driver’s License – Light Vehicle – Permits the operation of any vehicle within Classes D and E, with any appropriate endorsement(s), plus any single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rate of less than 26,001 pounds. This group includes vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and which are not within the definition of a Group A or B vehicle, and vehicles used in the transportation of placarded amounts of hazardous materials.

Class D Chauffeurs Driver’s License – Permits the operation of all vehicles included in Class E plus any single motor vehicle used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the motor vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds but less than 26,001 pounds; or any combination of vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the vehicle has a combined vehicle weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds but less than 26,001 pounds (inclusive of a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds); or any vehicle designed or utilized for the transportation of passengers for hire or fee; and not utilized in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous under the provisions of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act which requires the vehicle to bear a placard under the provision of Hazardous Materials Regulations.

Class E Driver’s License – Personal Vehicle - Permits the operation of any single motor vehicle under 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, any personal use recreational vehicle and farm vehicles controlled and operated by a farmer to transport agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies to and from a farm within 150 air miles of the owner’s or operator’s farm (not used in operation of a Common or Contract Carrier, and not used to transport passengers or property for hire); or any other vehicle which is not used in the transportation of hazardous materials which is required to be placarded. No first-time application for a Louisiana Class E license shall be received from any person seventeen (17) years of age or older unless there is also submitted with the application written evidence of the successful completion by the applicant of a full thirty-eight (38) hour driver’s education course or of an approved six (6) hour “pre-licensing” training course which was approved by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections.

J. Accident Reports
If an employee driving a University vehicle is involved in an accident, he/she is required to immediately complete a Louisiana State Driver Program Accident Report (Form DA2041). He/She is required to remain at the sceneof the accident until all required information is obtained. If a third party, other than a state employee, suffers bodily injury, driver will notify the Office of Risk Management immediately by calling (225) 342-8466.
The timetable for completing accident reports is as follows:
1.  Within 24 Hours of the Accident:
An employee having an accident will complete and submit the accident report to his/her supervisor. If the driver is unable to complete the accident report, his/her supervisor is responsible for completing and submitting the report.
2.  Within 48 Hours of Receipt of the Accident Report:
s The employee’s supervisor will review and verify the accuracy of the accident report. Incomplete or inaccurate information will be reviewed with the employee and report completed and/or corrected as required.
Next, the supervisor will:
a.  Contact the University Safety Officer and/or Office of Risk Management for investigation assistance involving complex accidents.
b.  Complete his/her portion of the Accident Report.
c.  Determine whether or not the accident was preventable and what corrective action, if any, is required. Corrective action may include temporary suspension of driving privileges; special training, physical examination, etc. and should be noted on the report.
d.  Submit a carbon copy of section I, page 1, to the Office of Risk Management, P.O. Box 94095, Baton Rouge, LA 70804.
3.  Within 5 Work Days of Receipt of the Accident Report:
the University Safety Officer will review the accident report, the police report, Motor Vehicle Traffic Accident Report (if one was completed) and employee’s application for driving authorization.
Next the supervisor will:
a.   Investigate the accident, if required, before completing his/her section of the accident report.
b.   Recommend corrective disciplinary action if there was improper use of vehicle.
c.   Attach a copy of the police report (if one was completed), employee’s application for Driving Authorization, and employee’s  Motor Vehicle Record to the  accident report.
d.   Submit the completed accident report along with the attachments to the Office of Risk Management.

The Claims Division of the Office of Risk Management will input the information from the accident report into the state’s database. This database will be used by the Bureau of Risk Analysis and Loss Prevention to identify the high-risk areas and propose accident prevention programs.

K. Responsibilities
1. Nicholls employees authorized to drive University vehicles will:
a.   Request driver authorization using Form DA2054;
b.   Operate only vehicles for which licensed and authorized and within restrictions on operator’s license.
c.   Complete a Defensive Driving Training Course as required.
d.   Operate University vehicles in a safe and responsible manner, using good defensive driving techniques.
e.   Ensure vehicle has been inspected and all installed safety equipment is functional.
f.   Use seat belts in accordance with state law.
g.   Report any traffic violation or accident to supervisor as soon as possible.
h.   Complete Section I, Pages 1 and 2, of the accident report as thoroughly and accurately as possible while still at the scene of the accident, or immediately thereafter. Give completed form to supervisor.
i.    Report any revocation of his/her driver’s license and/or any moving violations to his/her supervisor immediately, but no later than their next scheduled workday. Said reporting applies whether on state or personal/private business and whether in a state or personal/private vehicle. j.   Employees shall not use a Wireless Telecommunications Device while driving in a state- owned, leased, or private vehicle that is being driven on state business. This includes writing, sending, or reading a text based communication and engaging in a call. Use of a Wireless Telecommunications Device is permissible for passengers in such vehicles.
Exceptions:
• Report a traffic crash, medical emergency, or serious road hazard.
• Report a situation in which the person believes his personal safety is in jeopardy.
• Report or avert the perpetration or potential perpetration of a criminal act against the driver or another person.
• Engage in a call or write, send or read a text-based communication while the motor vehicle is lawfully parked.
2.  Supervisors of authorized employee drivers will:
a.   Recommend driver authorization only for employees who have a genuine need to operate University vehicles and who are responsible drivers with  acceptable driving histories as compared with the Safe Driver Profile.
b.   Allow only authorized drivers to operate University vehicles.
c.   Review all accident reports, ensuring Section I, Pages 1 and 2 are filled out completely and accurately. Within 24 hours of accident, submit report to the University Safety Officer; carbon of Section I, Page 1, to Office of Risk Management, Claims Department.
3.  Director of Maintenance will ensure University vehicles are in good mechanical condition with functional safety equipment. Vehicles not in good condition  will be restricted from use until repairs are made.
4.   Disciplinary Action:
Employees designated as a high-risk driver shall not be authorized to drive vehicles for state business for a minimum of twelve (12) months from the date of discovery. If an employee is not authorized to drive, that employee and his/her supervisor shall be notified in writing that they shall not drive for state business. The immediate supervisor and the fleet control officer shall be notified that this employee shall not be given authority to drive for state business.

An employee’s failure to self-report violations may result in additional suspension not to exceed six (6) months.

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