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

Unless otherwise specified, the reference to Institute vehicles or MIT vehicles includes all non-owned, rented, or leased vehicles driven for MIT-related operations or MIT-sponsored or authorized activities or programs (collectively, “MIT Purpose(s)”).

Applicablility and enforcement of this policy for employees represented by a union may differ in some respects from other employees and will be subject to the terms of the appropriate collective bargaining agreement. Questions regarding the applicablility of the terms of this policy (with the exception of references to compliance with applicable laws) should be referred to the Labor Relations group in the Human Resources Office.

1. Purpose / Background
The proper use of Institute vehicles is required to ensure the safety of the MIT community and resources.  This policy outlines the rules and procedures for using vehicles for MIT Purposes. 

2. Scope
The policy applies to all Institute vehicles.  The policy will identify 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 (DLC(s)) may have additional specific procedures/scope governing the use of their own MIT vehicles.


3.  Prerequisites
Anyone who drives an MIT vehicle must comply with the following:

  1. Only authorized MIT employees or students, certain contractor employees (including temporary staff) and research subjects (for driving-related research studies or projects that have been reviewed and approved by COUHES) may drive an MIT vehicle.  Prior approval must be obtained from the Office of Insurance before a non-MIT party operates an MIT vehicle.  Approval will also be contingent upon a satisfactory Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) check.     
  2. 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] 
  3. All drivers must have and maintain a valid, in force, US issued driver’s license.[2]
  4. Vehicles are to be used for Institute business ONLY. (The appropriate DLC department head must approve any use outside of official MIT business and submit an exception request to prior to such outside use.)
  5. All drivers must notify your DLC supervisor of any change in your license status including, but not limited to, license suspension or revocation. 
  6. 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.)
  7. Vehicles shall not be driven if they do not have a current registration.
  8. Vehicles must be inspected annually at a MA state licensed inspection facility. 
  9. DLCs shall maintain inspection and maintenance records.  No one shall operate an MIT vehicle that has not passed inspection or with an expired inspection sticker.

4. Roles & Responsibilities        


  • Must notify supervisor immediately of any infraction and/or accident while operating any MIT vehicle for MIT Purposes, including completion of the appropriate accident report form.  Please refer to the ‘report a claim tab’ here
  • 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 city/town/state issuing the ticket.
  • Shall not operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • 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.
  • Are discouraged from storing any personal property in an MIT vehicle and should acknowledge that personal property lost or damaged while stored in any MIT vehicle is not the responsibility of MIT.
  • Shall never allow the transport of passengers in the cargo area of a vehicle.
  • Must comply with all applicable federal, state (including Massachusetts and any other states where an MIT vehicle is operated), and local laws and MIT regulations pertaining to the safe and proper operation of a motor vehicle, including, without limitation, the MA anti-idling regulation stated in Section 9

Administrative/Fiscal Officer or equivalent (or other DLC designee ) must handle the following for MIT vehicles assigned to its own DLC:

  • Renew vehicle registrations.
  • Provide written notice to the MIT Property Office and the Office of Insurance of any new vehicle(s) or the sale/disposition of a vehicle.
  • Renew MIT Parking permit, when applicable.  
  • Coordinate MVR checks, for anyone who may be authorized to drive an MIT vehicle.
  • Only allow authorized MIT individuals to drive MIT vehicles, unless an exception has been granted by the Office of Insurance, in accordance with Section 3.a. above. 
  • Schedule regular maintenance checks on all MIT owned/leased vehicles.  (Minimum of  two times per year or 5,000 miles, whichever is less.)
  • Monitor and address vehicle recall notices, as needed.
  • Coordinate cleaning of vehicles, as needed.
  • Notify all individuals within their DLC, who will be driving for MIT Purposes, that they are required to review and comply with this policy.

5. Reporting Problems with MIT Owned/Leased Vehicles
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 if they experience any problems with the operation of or damage to the vehicle.  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 Materials in MIT vehicles
There shall be NO transporting of any hazardous materials in any MIT vehicle, unless previously discussed with, and approved by, the EHS Office, with the limited exception of:

Facilities and/or EHS personnel who:

  • have received the required training and been approved by MIT to transport certain hazardous materials; and
  • are transporting the hazardous materials in accordance with applicable laws, including, without limitation, within proper containers, labeled, properly secured in the vehicle, and with required placarding.   

7. Safety Requirements

  • Use of 15 passenger vans IS strictly prohibited.  Additionally, the use of 12-passenger vans is generally not acceptable.  Such use requires the prior approval of the Office of Insurance and will only be granted for very limited exceptions.
  • All vehicles shall be driven in a safe and responsible manner, and at speeds that are appropriate for the road conditions, particularly during adverse weather conditions.
  • The operator is responsible to ensure that all occupants of the vehicle use a seatbelt at all times when the vehicle is in motion.
  • Transportation of minors not related to the driver is prohibited.
  • Mobile devices must be used in accordance with state laws.  MIT prohibits texting and/or e-mailing while operating a moving vehicle. 
  • Smoking in any MIT owned/leased vehicle is prohibited. 
  • No MIT vehicle shall be driven “off road” unless the MIT Office of Insurance has granted a specific exception.
  • Equipment that requires special licensing shall only be operated by MA DOT licensed operators.  Employees operating powered industrial trucks shall be properly certified and trained.  Training is required once every three years.
  • Drivers are responsible for ensuring that cargo and/or tow loads are properly secured.
  • Vehicle operator shall turn off ignition, close all windows, and lock doors whenever a vehicle is left unattended.
  • Vehicle operators shall not use any MIT owned or leased vehicle to perform tasks for which the vehicle is not designed, including, without limitation, 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 while operating a vehicle for MIT Purposes is strictly prohibited, unless formally approved by the Office of Insurance.
  • The height clearance must be checked on all vehicles prior to driving. It is important to know the bridge clearances in and around Cambridge and Boston.  Height sticker must be visible (on both the interior and exterior) on all box trucks.
    • Memorial Drive (South of River Street) 11 ft. 10 in
    • Express underpass @ MA 2A (Mass Ave.) 9 ft. 2 in
  • If the driving distance for the MIT Purpose is more than 300 miles, it is strongly recommended that the DLC take a chartered vehicle to prevent driver fatigue.   If a chartered vehicle is not used, 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 Purposes, employees are on notice that the following will apply or are required:

  • The employee’s 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, at a minimum, the automobile liability coverage that is mandated by the Commonwealth of MA.  Current mandatory limits are $20,000 per person / $40,000 per accident for bodily injury.

9. Anti-Idling Regulation
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) has codified regulations concerning air quality protection under 310 CMR (Code of Massachusetts Regulations) 7.00, which includeanti-idling requirements for motor vehicles.  More 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 leased vehicle, or where driving is a requirement of their job, will be subject to MVR checks as described below. 


MVR checks will be done at hiring for all positions for which driving is an essential function of the position, or if the individual will regularly drive an MIT vehicle.  Such MVR check must be completed before authorization is granted to drive a MIT vehicle and again every two (2) years, unless required more frequently by law, or this policy.

An employee may be prohibited from driving an MIT vehicle if:

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

If a prospective new hire, or employee who is offered a promotion or transfer, has any serious driver record infractions or a pattern of infractions, for a position that requires driving, MIT reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take reasonable actions, including, without limitation, make an adverse determination regarding the individual’s suitability for the position, or require the individual to undergo online driver training (at MIT’s expense) and/or be subject to annual checks after the initial check, until the individual has an acceptable three-year driver history.

Contractor Employees, Volunteers, Research Subjects and Students:
Any contractor employee, volunteer, research subjects or  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 two (2) years. 


Applicable to all drivers:

Any driver, previously approved or pending approval, may be banned from driving an MIT vehicle for any of the following reasons:

  • Driving on an invalid, suspended or revoked license. 
  • Any alcohol or drug-related driving offense.
  • Three or more at-fault accidents over two consecutive years.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Cited for reckless behavior while operating a vehicle.
  • Significant prior history of violations.

Additionally, disciplinary measures may apply for such history that occurred while driving for MIT Purposes.

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

*Driving one's personal vehicle or a rental vehicle would not necessitate an MVR check; however, an individual DLC may require this check.

11. Accidents    

All accidents involving a MIT-owned, leased or rental vehicle should be reported to the Office of Insurance here.  Additional information regarding ‘what to do in the event of an accident’ can be found here.

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, if any;
  • Physical damage to any property other than vehicle(s);
  • Brief description and diagram of accident, including photographs (if possible); and,
  • Notification if any party receives a citation at the scene or as a result of the accident.

If Police (whether MIT or other) respond to the scene of accident, please be sure to obtain a copy of the police report.  This should be included with your accident report submission or it can be submitted once received. (You may need to contact the police to request a copy.)

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 or collision damage should be both be reported on the same report form. It is best to include an estimate for repairs for the physical damage along with the completed report.           

Following a motor vehicle accident vehicle operators may be required to submit to a drug/alcohol test.

Additional information on rental car accidents and the actions to be taken care be found here:

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 NE 36 – 7216  as the vehicle owner and address.

DLCs must notify the Office of Insurance and the Property Office of the purchase, acquisition, trade-in, donation or disposal of any vehicle (or trailer) from the department’s fleet of vehicles.  Failure to notify the appropriate parties could result in an uninsured vehicle or unexpected liability following the improper donation or disposal of a vehicle.  

The information provided to the Property Office should include: (1) make; (2) model; (3) year;  (4) VIN # (vehicle identification number) (5) use of vehicle; and (6) 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 at NE 49-3000.  Any questions regarding this can be submitted to the Property Office.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (MA RMV) currently handles the registration of most vehicles through its on-line registration system.   Please follow these step by step instructions to renew a vehicles registration online

If you receive an "unable to renew, no insurance on file" message, please contact MIT’s insurance broker representative  This information and other pertinent registration information can be found here.

Last revised: 2/3/23


[1]  If a driver does not meet this requirement and is 21 years or older (with one year total driving experience), then the requirement may 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.  Please see the Commonwealth of MA Registry of Motor Vehicle website for additional information.  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. Individuals with driver licenses from another state, who are current residents of MA, must promptly obtain a MA license.