This policy applies to all George Mason University employees, students, volunteers, contractors and employees of contractors who operate any state-owned, leased or rented vehicle on either public or private property for University business.
II. Policy Statement
State-Operated Vehicles shall be operated in a safe manner and in accordance with all state and local traffic regulations.
The purpose of this policy is to establish a University Vehicle Accident Review Committee (Committee) to evaluate each accident involving a State-Operated Vehicle (SOV). As a result of the review process, each accident will be deemed “Preventable,” “Not Preventable,” or an “Incident” pursuant to the definitions provided by the Department of State Police. Preventable accidents may result in disciplinary action and/or financial responsibility for the driver.
The Committee shall be comprised of at least three members of the University community, which will include the Director, Office of Risk Management as the Chairperson. The remaining members will be appointed by the Assistant Vice President of Safety, Emergency and Enterprise Risk Management. The Committee will meet quarterly, or as needed, to evaluate each accident recommended for review.
State-Operated Vehicles (SOVs) – For purposes of this policy, SOVs are any motor vehicles or trailers licensed for highway use, owned or leased by the University from the Commonwealth’s Department of General Services and motor vehicles that are rented from rental car companies by drivers traveling on official, authorized University business. This definition does not include the personal vehicles of individual Mason operators.
Vehicle accidents will be classified into the following categories:
“Preventable” – an accident in which the Mason driver is found to be guilty of contributory negligence.
“Not Preventable” – where the Mason driver did not contribute to the accident.
“Incident” – a case in which the vehicle was damaged by natural forces, from acts other than human, from a deliberate act, from a non-perceivable object or while the vehicle was properly parked.
1. The Committee will delegate to the Chairperson the authority to make an initial review of each accident, with advice from the Risk Management staff, and to classify each accident as “Preventable”, “Not-Preventable”, or “Incident.” Those accidents which are deemed “Preventable,” and those for which no clear category applies, will be referred for review by the Committee.
2. The Committee will conduct a review of each referred accident, taking into consideration all available documents, reports, testimony or other relevant evidence. As a result of that analysis, the Committee will assign each referred accident to the appropriate category of “Preventable”, “Not-Preventable”, or “Incident.”
3. For those accidents which the Committee deems “Preventable,” the Committee will partner with the operator’s or contract administrator’s supervisor to determine whether some disciplinary action may be warranted against the operator at fault. Where disciplinary action is deemed appropriate for Mason employees, the supervisor will work with Employee Relations to determine the correct course of action, which may include:
a) a suspension of the operator’s right to operate SOVs; or
b) any other appropriate corrective or disciplinary action under the Standards of Conduct or other governing university handbook, up to and including termination. Termination will be reserved only for those cases involving serious conduct or repeated violations.
4. For each Preventable accident the Committee will make a finding as to whether the operator at fault must bear part of the financial burden resulting from the accident, as follows:
a) where the accident resulted from negligence on the part of a Mason operator, the driver may be required to pay the first $100.00 of the cost to repair the damaged SOV; or
b) in situations involving the unauthorized use of an SOV, the driver may be required to pay the entire cost of repairing any damage that the vehicle might have sustained as a result of the accident.
5. The Committee will forward its findings and recommendation regarding each Preventable accident to the Assistant Vice President of Safety, Emergency and Enterprise Risk Management, who will either approve the recommendation or return it to the Committee for reconsideration. The Committee will notify the affected operator(s) within 10 business days of a final decision or approval by the Assistant Vice President of Safety, Emergency and Enterprise Risk Management.
6. If an operator disagrees with the classification of an accident as Preventable, (s)he may appeal in writing to the Director, Office of Risk Management, within 30 days of notification from the Committee. The Director will forward the matter to the Department of State Police, which will review the facts of the case and provide a report and recommendation to the University.
Accident Findings and Recommendation Form
A. Effective Date:
This policy will become effective upon the date of approval by the Senior Vice President and Provost.
B. Date of Most Recent Review:
VII. Timetable for Review
This policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, annually to become effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.
Senior Vice President
Date approved: July 10, 2012
Revised: April 3, 2018