Travel and Risk-Related Activities
The University's Release and Indemnification Agreement and Medical Information Release forms must be completed and signed by each student or member of the public prior to participating in University-sponsored travel or a risk-related activity (see Exhibits B4 through B4-E). There are separate forms for adults and minors and for foreign travel. In the case of a minor, the parent or guardian must sign the forms. A minor is any person who has not yet attained the age of eighteen (18). A student is any person presently enrolled in The University of Texas at Dallas.
A designated contact person in the academic or student affairs unit that is sponsoring the travel or activity must maintain the completed forms for a period of two years. When travel is involved, a Student Travel/Off-Campus Activity Checklist form (page 3 of Exhibit B14-D or B14-F), indicating that the required Release and Indemnification Agreements have been completed, should be attached to the unit's copy of Student/Team/Group Travel Authorization (Exhibit B14-D or B14-F) and must be provided to the Office of Procurement Management. (NOTE: If the travel is to a foreign country, Exhibit B14-F must be approved by the Office of International Education.)
In those cases where participants in the travel/activity have multiple events and the persons participating do not change, each participant may complete the Medical Information and Release form once at the beginning of a semester. Participants must update information on the form, as necessary, prior to each trip/activity.
These policies and procedures apply to all University sponsored travel and other activities associated with high risks that involve one or more students and members of the public. In general, the applicable travel/activities may be categorized as follows:
- Activities associated with organized courses or officially recognized independent study, either for credit (e.g., field trip courses) or non-credit.
- Activities associated with individual work or research off-campus; e.g., co-ops, internships, student teaching, and practica.
- Extracurricular activities including, but not limited to intramural sports, intercollegiate athletics, and similar activities.
NOTE: This policy also applies to registered student organizations if the activity or event is organized and sponsored by UTD and if travel to the activity or event is funded and undertaken using a vehicle owned or leased by UTD. Registered student organizations may not require members to travel beyond 25 miles from UTD.
Activities sponsored by an academic unit are under the purview of the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. Questions regarding the policies, procedures, or forms should be directed to the Associate Provost at extension 6742.
Activities sponsored by Student Affairs are under the purview of the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Questions regarding those activities should be directed to the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at extension 6391.
Students should be thoroughly informed through the catalog, the class schedule, and the course syllabus about all travel and other risk-related activities required by or associated with a credit course. For non-credit courses or programs, the course or program materials should provide this information.
Students and members of the public engaged in travel or other high-risk activities associated with the University should be informed of the nature of such risks prior to participating in the activity. An attachment to the Release and Indemnification Agreement that would be referenced on the form may be appropriate for this purpose.
The faculty or staff member in direct charge of the travel or other high-risk activity associated with the University may consult the Dean of Students to determine whether any participating student has been referred or disciplined for non-academic behavior.
The faculty or staff member in direct charge of the travel or other high-risk activity associated with the University may for good reason refuse to allow any student to participate in the activity if an academically equivalent alternative is provided.
Prior to each travel of other risk-related activity, the administrator of the unit sponsoring the activity must provide the Police Chief with the name of the faculty or staff member in direct charge of the activity, the name of a member of the unit not participating in the activity who can be contacted if needed, and, for travel-related activity, the names of the students and members of the public who are traveling. For the risk-related activities not involving travel, the administrator must notify the Police Chief regarding the site of the activity and the approximate number of participants. The Student/Team/Group/Travel Authorization form (Exhibit B14-D or B14-F) and the Student Travel/Off-Campus Activity Checklist are used for these notifications.
Incidents of a serious nature should be reported immediately to the administrator in charge of the sponsoring unit. If an incident of a serious nature occurs during travel and involves inappropriate behavior by a student, the faculty or staff member may immediately end the student's participation in the travel or other high-risk activity by making a reasonable effort to provide the student (at the student's expense) access to public transportation for an unaccompanied return to the University.
Safety Issues and Modes of Travel
Circumstances such as terrain, road conditions, length of trip, etc., may make it prudent that students and/or members of the public go with available group transportation rather than travel by personal vehicle. In some situations, it may be that travel with the group should be required. The faculty, staff member, and/or supervisor in charge of the travel should consider this issue as he or she would any safety matter. As with all of these issues, the use of caution and common sense are an important part of this process.
In all cases where an adult participant is permitted to choose to drive/ride in private transportation, that circumstance should be described in the Mode of Transportation line on the Release and Indemnification Agreement.
For minor participants, the key issue is giving notice to parents/guardians exactly how their child is to be transported to/from the activity. The Mode of Transportation information should provide notice. It would be best to limit the transportation of minors who are not accompanied by a parent/guardian to UTD owned/leased/rented vehicles, or vehicle driven by UTD employees acting within the scope of their employment. Such a requirement should be stated on the Release and Indemnification Agreement.
All Motor Vehicle Travel
The administrator of the unit sponsoring an activity involving travel for students or members of the public must ensure that the following safety precautions are followed:
- Seat Belts: Occupants of motor vehicles shall use seat belts or other approved safety restraint devices as required by law at all times when the vehicle is in operation.
- Weapons, alcohol, and illegal substances prohibited: Occupants of motor vehicles shall not consume, possess, or transport any weapons, alcoholic beverages, or illegal substances at any time when the vehicle is in operation.
- Passenger Capacity and Hours of Driving: The total number of passengers, including the driver, in any vehicle at any time it is in operation shall not exceed the manufacturer's recommended capacity.
- The distance to the destination and/or the number of participants needing transportation should determine the type of transportation to be used. On long trips, each vehicle should have a minimum of two drivers certified by the UTD Safety Officer. Drivers should rotate periodically, and no more than 10 hours of driving should be completed during any one day. Trips requiring more than 10 hours driving to reach the destination will require overnight lodging. There should be no driving between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. without prior approval of the appropriate administrative official. Van drivers must take a thirty-minute rest break every four hours.
- For trips scheduled for longer than 2 hours, a navigator must be assigned to assist the driver. The navigator must stay awake while on duty.
- No more than nine (9) people, including the driver plus gear, should be loaded on any one 15-passenger van. The weight of the passengers and their gear should be distributed evenly throughout the van. Luggage should be placed in the rear behind the last seat and is not allowed on the roof when the van is being operated.
- On trips where the number of participants exceeds that which can comfortably fit in two or three vans, a chartered bus should be considered. All vehicles should have access to a cellular phone, and the number should be indicated in the notification to the Police Chief.
- Medical Insurance: Students traveling on a University-sponsored overnight trip must have medical insurance. Student health insurance is available at minimal cost through United Healthcare, a company that provides tailored health insurance programs for students enrolled in universities. Contact the representative for UT Dallas at 1-888-344-6105 for information on insurance for special events such as field trips and off-campus activities. Insurance may be provided by the sponsoring office as part of the cost of the activity, or may be purchased by individual students.
- Driver Authorization: All University employees who drive University owned vehicles or who drive a rental vehicle that is used to transport students must be certified by the UTD Safety Officer as having met the requirements of the authorization of drivers in this policy and The UT System Business Procedure Memorandum No. 16-05-02. This does not apply to employees who are driving rental vehicles on University business but are not transporting students. Requirements for being an authorized driver include a 36-month Motor Vehicle Record score of 2 or less, as well as appropriate driver training. Van-specific training, including on-the-road training, is required for drivers of 15-passenger vans.
- Insurance Coverage: The UT System Business Procedure Memorandum No. 16-05-02 includes information, policies, and procedures regarding insurance policies covering the authorized use of owned, hired and non-owned vehicles; requirements for the safe use of vehicles; requirements for authorization of drivers; and procedures for reporting vehicle accidents or occurrences that may lead to claims. This Memorandum may be found at http://www.utsystem.edu/policy/policies/uts157.html.
- Valid Driver's License: An employee who operates a University-owned, rented, leased, or personal vehicle for official University business at a time when his or her license was suspended or revoked, shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
- Emergency Procedures. Important: Copies of participant Medical Information Release forms and the Emergency Procedures Checklist must accompany the responsible faculty or staff member assigned to each vehicle for University-sponsored travel.
For University-Owned or Rental Vehicles:
- Notify local authorities @ 911.
- Notify UTD Police @ 972-883-2331 who will notify the Safety Officer, the automobile insurance contact, and the administrator in charge of the sponsoring unit. The need for follow-up with the participants' emergency contact persons or others is discussed at this time.
- Leave a cellular phone number with the University Police dispatcher. For rentals, call the 800 number provided by the rental company.
- While at the scene of the accident, authorized drivers must attempt to obtain as much information as possible, including:
- The license plate number of any vehicles at the scene;
- The names and telephone numbers of the other parties;
- Insurance information from the other parties involved in the accident;
- As soon as possible, the authorized driver will provide this information to the fleet contact at 972-883-2249.
- Authorized drivers of the University-owned vehicles should advise other parties involved in the accident that the accident will be reported to the University's insurance company who will be in contact with the claimant.
- In the case of rental vehicles, the University has an insurance policy that becomes applicable if the cost exceeds what is covered by the rental agency's insurance policy. Authorized drivers of the University-owned vehicles should advise other parties involved in the accident that the accident will be reported to the rental agency and to the University's insurance company.
- Authorized drivers should not make any representations regarding insurance coverage to other parties involved in the accident, because the insurance company's adjuster will make the determination of coverage available under the insurance policy. Should the other party require some type of insurance information, a copy of UTD's insurance policy is in the glove compartment (University-owned vehicles only) or they may contact UTD's fleet contact at 972-883-2249 for assistance.
- Upon returning to campus, the fleet contact will provide you with insurance claim forms to be filled out with all pertinent information about the accident. The fleet contact will then forward the claim form to the insurance company for handling.
Mechanical Breakdown (University-Owned Vehicles):
- Notify the dispatcher in the UTD Police Department @ 972-883-2331 who will contact the supervisor of the authorized driver.
- Contact some form of roadside assistance (local auto dealer service department, garage, etc.)
- Leave a cellular phone number for someone to call you back.
- Do not attempt to make repairs, including changing a tire. Wait for roadside assistance.
Mechanical Breakdown (Rental Vehicles):
- Call the 800 number provided by the rental company.