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General Vehicle Safety

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death and crippling injury in the United States . Traffic safety laws are important components of vehicle safety, but the most important aspect of vehicle safety is the driver.

All Texas State University employees who operate a motor vehicle for company business (whether a company vehicle, rental vehicle, or personal vehicle) must possess a valid state driver's license for their vehicle's class.

The University Police Department (UPD) is responsible for regulating moving vehicles and bicycles on university property. To ensure driving safety, follow these driving practices:

  • Never drink and drive. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited.
  • Obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals.
  • Respond to dangerous driving conditions as appropriate.
  • Maintain a safe distance between your car and any car in front of you. Allow at least one car length for each 10 MPH (e.g., three car lengths if you are driving 30 MPH).
  • Keep your eyes moving to avoid fatigue, especially if you plan on driving for a long period.
  • Always use your turn signal to indicate your intended action.
  • Leave yourself an "out" by either driving in the lane with a shoulder, driving in the middle lane of a multi-lane road, or following other vehicles at a safe distance.

Defensive Driving

By taking defensive driving courses, employees can promote driving safety and lower their insurance rates. The principles of defensive driving include the following:

  • Knowledge:
    Know your vehicle and know the law.
  • Control:
    Always maintain control of your vehicle. To improve your control, perform routine vehicle maintenance and respond to road conditions as appropriate.
  • Attitude:
    Be willing to obey all laws and be willing to yield to all other vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Reaction:
    Respond to driving conditions appropriately. Do not impede your reaction time by driving when tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Observation:
    Be aware of potential accidents and take preventive measures. Always try to anticipate the actions of other drivers.
  • Common Sense:
    Do not risk your safety to save time. Do not respond to rude or obnoxious drivers by violating traffic laws.

Distracted Driving

Texas State is committed to ending the epidemic of distracted driving, and have created the following rules, which apply to any employee operating a company vehicle or using a company-issued cell phone while operating a vehicle:

  • Employees may not use a hand-help cell phone while operating a vehicle whether the vehicle is in motion or stopped at a traffic light. This includes, but it not limited to, answering or making phone calls, engaging in phone conversations, and reading or responding to emails, instant messages, and text messages.
  • If ‚Äčemployee needs to use their phones, they must pull over safely to the side of the road or another safe location.
  • Additionally, employees are required to:
    • Turn cell phones off or put them on silent or vibrate before starting the car
    • Consider modifying voice mail greetings to indicate that you are unavailable to answer calls or return messages while driving
    • Inform clients, associates and business partners of this policy as an explanation of why calls may not be returned immediately

Backing Vehicles

Backing a large vehicle can be very difficult. Try to avoid backing whenever possible. If you must back a vehicle, follow these guidelines:

  • Get out of the vehicle and inspect the area you want to back into.
  • If possible, have someone outside help guide your vehicle into position.
  • If your vehicle does not automatically sound a horn when in reverse, sound the horn once before moving backwards.
  • Back slowly and check your mirrors often.

May 2011
Reviewed November 2014