Vehicle Use Policy

  1. Purpose/Background
  2. Scope
  3. Prerequisites
  4. Roles & Responsibilities
  5. Maintenance
  6. Transporting hazardous chemicals in authorized MIT vehicles
  7. Safety Requirements
  8. Use of Personal (Non-Institute Owned) vehicles
  9. Anti-Idling Policy
  10. Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Checks
  11. Accidents
  12. Vehicle Registration and Insurance
  13. Exceptions


1. Purpose / Background
The proper use of Institute vehicles is required to ensure the safety of Institute personnel and resources.  This policy outlines the rules and procedures for using vehicles owned or leased by MIT.

2. Scope
The policy applies to all Institute vehicles.  The policy will outline persons who are authorized to drive MIT vehicles, how MIT vehicles should be operated, what MIT vehicles can be used for, procedures to follow for reserving/checking out a vehicle, regular maintenance, and instructions on what to do in case of accident or breakdown.

The requirements herein are set forth as minimum obligations.  Individual departments, labs or centers (DLCs) may have additional specific procedures/scope governing the use of their DLC vehicles.

3.  Prerequisites
Anyone who drives an MIT vehicle must adhere to the following:

  • Only authorized MIT students or employees may drive an MIT vehicle.  (Prior approval should be obtained before a non-MIT party operates an MIT vehicle.)  Specific authorization must either be given by the DLC contact charged with the responsibility for monitoring the vehicle’s use and maintenance or included in one’s job description.
  • Student drivers must be at least 18 years of age and have two years total driving experience, with at least one year’s experience driving in the U.S[1]
  • All drivers must have and maintain a valid US issued driver’s license[2].
  • Vehicles are to be used for Institute business ONLY. (The appropriate DLC department head must approve any use outside of official MIT business.)
  • All drivers must notify your DLC supervisor of any change in your license status including, but not limited to, license suspension or revocation. 
  • No one shall operate a vehicle or equipment without a valid license for that vehicle class (i.e., any vehicle that does not meet Class A, B or C requirements is a Class D vehicle and requires a standard Class D operator’s license.)
  • All drivers must adhere to all Massachusetts, Federal and local laws and MIT regulations pertaining to the safe operation of the motor vehicle.   If the vehicle is operated outside of Massachusetts the driver must adhere to the applicable other state’s laws.
  • Vehicles shall not be driven if they do not have a current registration.
  • Vehicles must be inspected annually at a state licensed inspection facility. 
  • DLC’s shall maintain inspection records.  No one shall operate an MIT vehicle that has not passed inspection or with an expired inspection sticker.

[1] If a driver does not meet this requirement and is 21 years or older (with one year total driving experience), then the requirement can be waived upon showing proof of satisfactory completion of an online driver training course.  Drivers should contact Sarah Brown in the MIT Insurance Office to discuss course options.

[2] Certain international drivers licenses are acceptable in the Commonwealth of MA.  This link provides information on FAQs on the MA Registry of Motor Vehicle website.  This link provides information on driving in Massachusetts with a foreign license.  For travel in other states, the driver should refer to that individual state's Registry of Motor Vehicle website to ensure the validity of an international license. 

4. Roles & Responsibilities        


  • Must notify supervisor immediately of any infraction while operating any MIT vehicle. 
  • Are responsible for paying any ticket they incur.  Should there be a dispute about the validity of the ticket, the driver must resolve the issue with the MIT Parking and Transportation Office or city/town/state issuing the ticket. 
  • Must ensure all passengers in the vehicle are wearing seat belts 
  • Are responsible for keeping vehicles clean and removing any trash before returning.
  • Should fill the gas tank when it is below ¼ tank. 
  • Must report any problems regarding vehicle use to the DLC manager immediately.
  • Should be aware that personal property lost or damaged while stored in any MIT vehicle is not the responsibility of MIT.
  • Should never allow the transport of passengers in the cargo area of a vehicle.

Administrative Officer or equivalent (or other designated DLC person) must:

  • Renew vehicle registrations.
  • Renew MIT Parking authorizations.
  • Coordinate Motor Vehicle Registration checks for anyone who may be authorized to drive an MIT vehicle.
  • Only allow authorized MIT individuals to drive MIT vehicles.
  • Schedule regular maintenance checks on all MIT vehicles.  (Min 2x per year or 5,000 miles, whichever is less.)
  • Monitor and address vehicle recall notices, as needed.
  • Coordinate cleaning of vehicles as needed.

5. Maintenance
For the employee’s protection, the vehicle operator must perform a visual inspection before and after operating all MIT owned/leased vehicles and any mobile equipment.  Any deficiencies shall be reported to the DLC supervisor immediately.

MIT drivers shall notify a DLC supervisor or manager as soon as possible when they notice something wrong with the way a vehicle is operating.  Repairs that are made as soon as a problem occurs tend to be less costly and take less time to fix.  MIT drivers must also contact their supervisor or manager immediately if the vehicle breaks down or is not drivable.  The driver is expected to remain with the vehicle until a mechanic arrives or as otherwise instructed.

6. Transporting hazardous chemicals in authorized MIT vehicles
There shall be NO transporting of any hazardous chemicals in any MIT vehicle unless previously discussed with and approved by the EHS Office.

Exceptions to this include Facilities and/or EHS personnel who have been previously trained and approved for transportation of designated chemicals, are transporting such chemicals in proper containers, and are in vehicles with required placarding (if applicable).   

7. Safety Requirements

  • Use of 12 and 15 passenger vans IS strictly prohibited.
  • All vehicles shall be driven in a safe manner, and at speeds that are appropriate for the road conditions, particularly during adverse weather conditions.
  • The operator is responsible to ensure that the State’s vehicle seat belt law is followed and that all occupants of the vehicle use a seatbelt at all times when the vehicle is in motion.
  • Mobile devices must be used in accordance with state laws.  Texting and emails are prohibited while operating a moving vehicle. 
  • No alcoholic beverages, or any prescription drugs or substances that could impair someone’s driving ability may be used by anyone driving an MIT vehicle.
  • Smoking in any MIT vehicle is prohibited. 
  • No MIT vehicle shall be driven “off road” unless the MIT Insurance Office has granted a specific exception.
  • Equipment that requires special licensing shall only be operated by MA DOT licensed operators.  Employees operating industrial trucks shall be properly certified and trained.  Training is required once every three years.
  • Vehicle operators shall turn off ignition, close all windows, and lock doors whenever a vehicle is left unattended.
  • Vehicle operators shall not use any DLC vehicle to perform tasks for which the vehicle is not designed.  This includes driving over curbs, bumping into loading docks and using gear settings or brakes in ways that cause excessive stress on the system or damage to Institute property.
    • Racing with an MIT owned vehicle is strictly prohibited
  • The height clearance must be checked on all vehicles prior to driving. It is important to know the bridge clearances in and around Cambridge.  Height sticker must be visible on all box trucks on and within the vehicle.
    • Memorial Drive (South of River Street) 11 ft. 10 in
    • Express underpass @ MA2A (Mass Ave.) 9 ft. 2 in
  • To prevent driver fatigue, if a DLC needs to drive more than 300 miles it is recommended that the DLC rent a chartered vehicle.   If a charter is not used, than no individual shall drive more than 8 hours in a 24 hour period, with at least a 30 minute break during such a drive. 

8. Use of Personal (Non-Institute Owned) vehicles
It is understood that, on occasion, employees may use their personal vehicles while on Institute business.  When using their personal vehicle for MIT-related business, employees should know the following will apply:

  • The employees personal automobile insurance will be primary at all times.  Insurance maintained by the Institute will be excess of the employee’s personal automobile liability limits.
  • The employee must carry the minimum automobile liability coverage that is mandated by the state in which s/he resides.
  • The employee must have a valid drivers license, which is not currently suspended or revoked, while using their personal vehicle on MIT business.

9. Anti-Idling Policy
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) publishes regulations concerning air quality protection in 310 CMR (Code of Massachusetts  Regulations) 7.00.  310 CMR 7.11 (1) outlines requirements for motor vehicles to prevent air pollution resulting from vehicle idling.  Specifically, 310 CMR 7.11(1) (b) states: “No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the unnecessary operation of the engine of a motor vehicle while said vehicle is stopped for a foreseeable period of time in excess of five minutes.

Exemptions from five-minute limit include

  • Vehicles being serviced, provided that operation of the engine is essential to the proper repair thereof;
  • Vehicles engaged in the delivery of acceptance of goods, wares, or merchandise for which engine assisted power is necessary and substitute alternate means cannot be made available, or,
  • Vehicles engaged in an operation for which the engine power is necessary for an associated power need other than movement and substitute alternate power means cannot be made available provided that such operation does not cause or contribute to a condition of air pollution

Failure to comply with the anti-idling regulation is punishable by fines ranging from $100 to $25,000 and applies to all motor vehicles.

10. Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Checks
MIT employees, students, volunteers, research subjects and certain authorized contractor employees (including temporary staff, outsourced campus service providers, etc.) who drive an MIT owned or controlled vehicle will be subject to MVR checks as follows:


A.  Employees subject to collective bargaining:  in accordance with their corresponding collective bargaining agreement. 

B.  All Other Employees:  MVR checks will be done at hiring and again every three (3) years.

A driver may be prohibited from driving an MIT vehicle if:

  • S/he does not posses a valid driver’s license, or
  • His/her driver’s license has been revoked or suspended during the previous three (3) year period. 

Contractor Employees, Volunteers, Research Subjects and Students:
Any contractor employee, and any MIT student who drives an MIT vehicle is subject to an MVR check.  Such check is required prior to authorization to drive and again every three (3) years.  Any driver, previously approved or pending approval, may be banned from driving an MIT vehicle for any of the following reasons as outlined below.

  • Driving on an invalid, suspended or revoked license. 
  • Any alcohol or drug related driving offense.
  • Three or more at-fault accidents in two consecutive years.
  • Cited for operating a vehicle more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit in a designated residential/school zone area or 30 mph for other areas.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Cited for reckless behavior while operating a vehicle.
  • Significant prior history of violations.

To secure an MVR for a given individual, the DLC must follow the procedures outlined in the Motor Vehicle Checks Process.            

11. Accidents

All accidents involving a MIT-owned vehicle should be reported to the Insurance Office, Building NE18-901. Additional information can be found at:

You may print a copy of an Automobile Accident Report here (using Adobe Acrobat)  The completed form should be returned to the Insurance Office and a copy should be kept with the DLC.            

To be assured that your claim will get prompt attention, please make sure that all pertinent information has been completed, to include:

  • Date and location of accident;
  • Make/model/year of vehicle;
  • VIN and registration number;
  • MIT driver, contact name, and number;
  • Other driver/owner name, insurance information, address and phone number (if applicable);
  • Extent of damage to vehicle(s), being as specific as possible as to the location of damage;
  • Injuries; and,
  • Brief description and diagram of accident including photographs (if possible).

Please be sure to obtain a copy of the police report if police are on the scene. 

Physical Damage to an MIT vehicle, due to a covered peril, other than collision, should also be reported, if the damage warrants repair. This type of incident should be reported on the same report form used for collision damage claims. It is best to include an estimate for repairs for physical damage claims, along with the completed report.           

Following a motor vehicle accident, that meets the criteria of the Post Accident Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy, vehicle operators may be required to submit to a drug/alcohol test.

12. Vehicle Registration and Insurance

Vehicle Registration:

Each DLC is responsible for the registration of its own vehicles. Department Heads, AOs, or other authorized MIT staff may sign the registration application. Applications should reflect MIT, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building NE18-901 as the vehicle owner and address.

DLCs must notify the Insurance Office and Property Office of the purchase, acquisition, trade-in, donation or disposal of any vehicle (or trailer) from the department’s fleet of vehicles.

The information provided to the Property Office should include: (1) make; (2) model; (3) year;  (4) use of vehicle; and (5) copy of the vehicle transfer agreement (if applicable). For the sale, disposal, or donation of an MIT vehicle, please obtain the title from the Property Office .

The original title for a newly purchased vehicle, including new "used" vehicles, should be submitted to the Property Office.

Vehicle registration applications (new – RMV-1; renewals – RMV-3) may be obtained from the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV.  Registration forms are not currently available online, but may be available from the RMV fax service (1-866-627-7768). The registration application needs to be completed, stamped by MIT’s insurance broker, and submitted (or hand delivered) with the appropriate fee to the RMV.

Refer to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles for general information regarding procedures, hours of operation, and locations.

Process for Insuring Vehicles

The vehicle registration application must be stamped with the appropriate insurance carrier information.  Insurance coverage is centrally managed and placed for all Institute vehicles by the Office of Insurance. 

To secure the “stamping” of the registration, the DLC should contact MIT’s insurance broker.

Insurance Broker:

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. of Massachusetts, Inc. (“AJG”)           

470 Atlantic Ave., Boston, MA 02210
PH: 617.531.7744 | F: 617.531.7731
Attn:  Diane Gould   (

Specific AJG contact names and phone numbers can be found on the Insurance Office Website

The application must be mailed (or hand-delivered), with the appropriate fee, to the Registry. Original titles, registrations, renewals, and insurance cards will be issued through the Office of Insurance. The Property Office is the designated keeper of records for original titles of MIT vehicles.

13. Exceptions
Aside from the exception pertaining to student drivers’ driving experience (designated in footnote 1), any other exceptions to this policy must be presented in writing and will be reviewed and decided upon by the Auto Use Exception Committee.  An appeal to the committee’s decision should be presented to:

                        Administrative Staff:           Tony Sharon, Deputy Vice President

                        Students:                            Suzy Nelson, VP Student Life (7/1/16)

                        Other Staff/Faculty:            Doreen Morris, Assistant Provost