Guidelines for Extending Liability Protection to Faculty, Staff, Students, Volunteers and TE's

Driver Authorization Criteria
Departmental Procedures
Confirmation of Driver Approval or Rejection


  • It is a requirement of the State of Wisconsin that all authorized drivers complete a Student/Volunteer/TE Driver Authorization Form or a Faculty/Staff Vehicle Use Agreement (Note: Student/Volunteer/TE Driver Authorization on-line form is not a fill-out form, but is meant to be printed out) and be approved to drive by the Office of Risk Management before driving any University/State-owned vehicle or any other vehicle on official University business.

  • Driver authorization approaval confirms an agency relationship between the driver and the University.

  • Driver Authorization approval results in liability protection for faculty/staff, students, TE's and volunteers while driving in the course and scope of their assigned University duties or responsibilities.

  • Approved drivers are added to the Approved Driver Database database as follows:

    Faculty/Staff - indefinitely, however if you hold an out-of-state license, authorization expires after six months. Drivers will not be re-approved until a Wisconsin license is obtained. Wisconsin state law requires a WI license be obtained within 60 days of establising residency. Establishing residency is a mailing address.

    Temporary Employees (TE's) - maximum of two years.

    Students/Volunteers - maximum of one year or duration of a trip.
  • If an individual moves to another department, a new Driver Authorization Form must be submitted to Risk Management.

Driver Authorization Criteria

  • All sections of the authorization must be completed before a determination of approval or rejection can be made. Any individual submitting an incomplete form will receive an email stating what is missing and will need to re-submit a completed form to Risk Managment for re-consideration.

  • Violations and/or accidents --Rejection will be automatic if any one, or any combination of the following exist:

    • Moving violation(s) and/or at fault accident(s) within the past 2 years:

      • Three or more incidents
      • Six or more points (Students/Volunteers)
      • Seven or more points (Faculty/Staff or TE's)
        Points are assessed according to Wisconsin Department of Transportation point system. Risk Management assesses points for three years from the violation/accident date. This includes out-of-state violations/accidents. You may obtain a current copy of the point value assessment at, please click on download BDS108.
    • Violations within the past 12 months for:

      • Drunken driving
      • Driving under the influence of drugs
      • Reckless driving
  • Driver Experience -- Rejection will be automatic when someone has:

    • Had their reinstated license in effect less than one year after revocation.
    • Had their license less than two years. (They do not have enough on-the-road experience to be driving University-owned vehicles.)
  • Purpose for using the vehicle is another basis for determining approval or rejection. In order to receive approval, the purpose must be for official University business.

    • Some examples of approved usage are:

      • Field trips that are for educational purposes, and have on-site supervision by a U.W. employee.
      • Educational programs which require training to be taken outside of the Madison area and are course-required. This would not include students who are required to train at some other site all day every workday of the week.
      • Business errands for a department.
      • University-related conferences, meetings, and events.
      • Research under the direct supervision of a principal investigator or instructor.
      • Volunteer programs that are under the direct supervision of the University, the program provides substantial benefit to the University, and where an agency relationship exists between the driver and the University.
    • Some examples of denial are:

      • Individual research projects or coursework primarily for the personal benefit of a student working toward a degree.
      • Student field trips that do not have the approval of the faculty or advisor and/or are not class related.
      • Student Organization trips which are not related to student participation in institutional governance.

Departmental Procedures

  • Faculty/Staff/TE's, Students or Volunteers who meet the Driver Authorization Criteria requirements concerning approval should complete and sign the appropriate Driver Authorization request form.

  • The departmental secretary or administrator needs to be listed with their phone number on the Faculty/Staff form. The professor or coordinator requesting that the individual be approved to drive must sign the Student/Volunteer Form and list his/her telephone number.

  • A detailed description of the purpose for which the vehicle will be used is necessary, if "Other" box is checked.

  • It should be noted that, if a Faculty/Staff/TE, Student or Volunteer has an out-of-state license, they must attach a notarized statement listing any moving violations and describing any accidents they have been involved in for the past three years. This also applies to drivers who have had a Wisconsin driver's license less than three years due to being licensed elsewhere.

  • Required signatures:

    • For Students and Volunteers, the professor or coordinator requesting that the individual be approved to drive must sign the form and list his/her telephone number.
    • The department Chairperson, Director or Dean's signature is also required.
  • Processing of driver authorizations takes 10 working days from the date received in our office. Due to the volume of drivers we cannot honor rush's. Documentation can be sent to us: 1-via Inter-d mail, 2-via fax 608.262.9082 or 3-via email to: BusSvc Driver Auth.

Confirmation of Driver Approval or Rejection

  • If Risk Management approves the authorization, the drivers name will be added to the Approved Driver database.

  • If Risk Management rejects the authorization, a memo will be sent to the driver and the department explaining why the individual was rejected.

  • When students or volunteers are requsted to drive a departmental vehicle, the department must confirm authorization via the database before the individual is given the keys to the vehicle.

  • Car Fleet's reservations system is linked to our Approved to Drive database. An individual will not be able to reserve a vehicle if their name is not currently listed in the database.