UT Dallas Policy Navigator :: Travel and Risk Related Activities :: UTDBP3023 (v2)

Travel and Risk Related Activities - UTDBP3023

Policy Statement

It is the policy of The University of Texas at Dallas to promote safe travel by students to and from events and activities covered by this policy.


The Texas Education Code requires each institution of higher education to adopt a policy related to student travel.


This policy applies to the travel of one or more enrolled undergraduate or graduate students to attend an activity or event that is:

  • organized and sponsored by The University of Texas at Dallas;
  • located more than 25 miles from the University campus;
  • and either:
    1. funded by the University, if the travel is by a vehicle owned or leased by the University; or
    2. required by a sponsored University student organization.

The types of activities and events covered by this policy include course-related field trips, individual study that requires an overnight stay, Recreational Sports club trips, the activities of sponsored student organizations and other university departments, and meetings of academic organizations where a student is officially representing the University.

This policy does not apply to travel by students to attend out-of-town athletic events in which they are not participating, or to engage in student teaching, local internships, practicums, observations or research, unless the research is organized by a member of the faculty.

If a student travels outside the United States or Puerto Rico to study or to attend activities or events covered by this policy, the travel must conform to the Protocol established by the International Center, which is available at https://www.utdallas.edu/ea/before-you-go/.

In addition, enrolled students should consult individual schools and departments for any additional guidelines established by those units for student travel within 25 miles of the University.


An organized event is one that is initiated, planned and arranged by a member of the University's faculty or staff, or by the members of a sponsored student organization, and is approved by an appropriate administrator.

A sponsored event or activity is one that the University endorses by supporting it financially, or by sending students to participate in it as official representatives of the University.

An enrolled student is one who has been admitted to and is attending classes at the University.

An appropriate administrator is a Dean, Department Chair, or Director of an administrative unit, or his or her delegate.

Related Statutes, Policies, Requirements or Standards


Activities sponsored by an academic unit are under the purview of the Office of the Chief Academic Officer. Questions regarding the policies, procedures, or forms should be directed to the Office of the Provost at extension 6742.

Activities sponsored by Student Affairs are under the purview of the Office of the Dean of Students. Questions regarding those activities should be directed to the Dean of Students at extension 6391.

Required provisions for student travel:

Travel Authorization

The University seeks to ensure that the events or activities requiring student travel are within the course and scope of the University's mission, and that student safety issues have been addressed. Accordingly, travel covered by this policy is not permitted unless it is authorized in advance by an appropriate administrator.

To request authorization, members of the faculty, staff or sponsored student organizations who organize activities covered by this policy must submit a completed Student Travel Request Authorization form, along with the required documents and information, to the appropriate administrator for approval. Whenever possible, the request should be submitted at least 5 working days before travel to the activity or event.

Additional forms must be completed at the time the Student Travel Request Authorization form is prepared. The exact forms will vary according to the nature of the travel, but will always include the Release and Indemnification Agreement. This form and additional forms to be completed are available at the Office of Environmental Health and Safety website, https://utdallas.edu/ehs/programs/risk/travel. As appropriate, information collected will include:

  1. A list of participants, including their names, local addresses and phone numbers, and the names and phone numbers of persons to contact in case of an emergency.
  2. The name and phone number for the responsible University employee(s) who will be available to the students at all times during the travel and activity.
  3. Copies of valid driver's licenses for all students who will operate vehicles.
  4. Copies of current medical insurance certificates or both sides of a current group insurance membership card, for each person who wishes to participate in an overnight activity or event. The purchase of a reasonably priced, short-term insurance policy can be arranged by academic and administrative units on behalf of students who do not have, or cannot verify, current medical coverage. Information concerning this coverage is available from United Healthcare at 1-800-237-0903, ext. 6216.
  5. Completed and signed Release and Indemnification Agreements for each participant.
  6. Completed and signed Medical Information and Release forms for each participant.

When leading group trips, faculty or staff should carry emergency contact information, proof of medical insurance coverage, and the authorization for emergency medical treatment for each participant. Guidelines for emergency procedures in the case of an accident or mechanical breakdown are available at http://www.utdallas.edu/administration/insurance/documents/emergency-guidelines.pdf.

The faculty or staff member in direct charge of a planned travel activity should submit a list of the students who will be traveling at least 10 days before travel to the Dean of Students. The Dean will notify the faculty or staff member if any of the students has previously engaged in violent or abusive behavior. The faculty or staff member in direct charge of the travel activity may for good reason refuse to allow any student to participate in the activity as long as the activity is not required for completion of a course or program of study.

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 activity by making a reasonable effort to provide the student access to public transportation for an unaccompanied return to the University at the student's expense.

Faculty or administrators responsible for student travel activities or courses that involve frequent field trips may collect the following information from students at the beginning of each semester and keep it on file with the appropriate administrator for use throughout a semester:

  • proof of current medical insurance;
  • completed and signed medical authorization forms;
  • completed and signed release and indemnification agreements (a single release and indemnification agreement may be used if a single description fits all the proposed trips); and
  • proof of a valid vehicle driver's license for students who will operate vehicles.

One-time approval can be provided for multiple trips led by faculty or staff that involve the same locations and same participants.

The Travel Authorization Request, the Medical Information and Release form and the Release and Indemnification Agreement forms can be downloaded from the Administration website at https://utdallas.edu/ehs/programs/risk/travel/.

Travel by Motor Vehicle

Compliance with Laws and Policies

  1. Vehicles used for travel covered by this policy must have a current proof of liability insurance card and a current state inspection certification.
  2. Travel undertaken in 15-passenger vans must comply with the requirements of UT System Administration Policy UTS157.

Vehicle Operator and Passenger Requirements

  1. All students who will operate vehicles during travel covered by this policy must have a valid driver's license appropriate to the vehicle(s) that will be used, and must be trained as required by law to drive the vehicle that will be used.
  2. All occupants of vehicles must comply with all federal, state and municipal laws, regulations and ordinances; with posted signs or directions regarding speed and traffic control; and with laws, regulations and ordinances regarding seat belts and other safety restraints or devices.
  3. Alcohol and Illegal Substances. Occupants of vehicles must not possess, consume, or transport any alcoholic beverages or illegal substances in the vehicle.
  4. Passenger Capacity. The total number of passengers in any vehicle in operation must not exceed the manufacturer's recommended capacity, the number specified by University policy, or the number specified by federal or state law or regulations, whichever is lowest.
  5. Drivers shall drive no more than four hours without a minimum rest stop of thirty minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 of driving time require overnight lodging.

Travel by Rental Vehicle: Rentals of vehicles to use for travel to activities or events covered by this policy are governed by the following guidelines.

  1. Vehicle Reservations: The University is a participant in the State Travel Management Program, which has negotiated favorable vehicle rental rates with a number of car rental companies. While renters are not required to use one of the University's travel agencies, doing so will help assure that: 1) vehicles are rented pursuant to the State Travel Management plan whenever possible; 2) vehicle rental agreements are valid; and 3) necessary insurance coverage has been purchased. Information concerning those agencies is available at http://www.cpa.state.tx.us/procurement/prog/stmp/.
  2. Payment of Costs for Rental Vehicles
    1. Vehicle rental charges can be billed a) centrally to Procurement Management; or b) directly to those departments or divisions that have uniquely-numbered accounts with state contract car rental companies. If the rental costs are centrally billed, the driver must obtain a voucher from the University's Travel Management Services before picking up the rental vehicle.
    2. If necessary, personal credit cards may be used to rent vehicles for travel covered by this policy, and cardholders will be reimbursed for appropriate and approved costs. If rentals are from companies that are not under the state contract, the reimbursement amount will be limited to the amount that would have been incurred for equivalent state contract rentals.
  3. Insurance Coverage
    1. Rentals from Companies Participating in State Travel Management Program: Loss/Damage Waiver and Primary Liability insurance coverage are automatically included in the rates charged by companies participating in the State Travel Management Program. That protection does not cover injuries to persons or possessions inside a rental vehicle. Therefore, the University suggests that the personal injury insurance protection and the personal effects insurance protection offered by rental companies be purchased for student travel covered by this policy, particularly if there will be numerous passengers in the vehicle.
    2. Rentals from Non-State Contract Rental Companies: If no state contract cars are available and the renter must rent vehicles from non-contract companies, then he or she must purchase both the Loss/Damage Waiver and Primary Liability Coverage unless the rental is charged to a University-issued credit card. The University suggests that the personal injury insurance protection and the personal effects insurance protection offered by rental companies be purchased for student travel covered by this policy, particularly if there will be numerous passengers in the vehicle.
  4. Travel In a Vehicle Owned or Leased Long-Term by the University: In addition to complying with the general rules set out above, travel in a vehicle owned or leased long-term (for a period of more than one year) by the University must comply with the following requirements:
    1. Proof of Insurance, Inspection, and Safety Devices - Vehicle used for travel activity covered by this policy must:
      1. have a current proof of liability insurance card;
      2. have a valid state inspection sticker;
      3. have all devices or equipment required by federal or state law or regulation; and
      4. comply with all other applicable federal, state and municipal laws, regulations and ordinances.
    2. Service and Maintenance: A University-owned or long-term leased vehicle used for student travel under this policy must be subject to scheduled periodic service and maintenance by qualified persons and comply with the requirements applicable to The University of Texas System Business Procedure Memoranda, now part of the UT System Policy Library.
    3. Employee Operators: All operators of vehicles described in this section shall be on the payroll of The University of Texas at Dallas. All operators must have a valid driver's license for the particular vehicle being operated, and must have a current BMDRIV rating on file. Environmental Health and Safety can be contacted for information on obtaining a rating.
  5. Travel by Privately-Owned Vehicles: Students are strongly discouraged from using their personal vehicles to travel to events covered by this policy.
    1. When requesting authorization to travel in a personally-owned vehicle, the requestor, in addition to submitting the information described in Item 2 under Travel Authorization, must submit a copy of a current liability insurance certificate for any vehicle he/she will use for the proposed travel.
    2. The persons responsible for the proposed activity and travel shall inform students who will drive their privately-owned vehicles that the students' personal liability insurance policies will be primarily responsible to cover any liability that results from the use of the vehicle for the proposed travel.
  6. Volunteer Drivers and Passengers: Non-student/non-employee drivers and passengers who accompany students on travel covered by this policy must sign the Release and Indemnification and the Medical Information and Release forms prior to the trip. Forms can be downloaded from https://utdallas.edu/ehs/programs/risk/travel.

Policy History

  • Issued: 2002-07-01
  • Revised: 2004-05-18
  • Revised: 2017-02-24
  • Revised: 2006-06-29
  • Revised: 2011-04-29
  • Revised: 2012-06-15