Driving and Vehicle Safety

Approval Date
9 March 2021
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
30 November 2022
Deputy Chief Executive: Corporate Services
Baldrige Criteria

To provide rules, guidelines and raise awareness of safe driving practices that Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd) expects staff and learners to follow when driving on Otago Polytechnic Ltd related activities.


1.          All employees who drive for work must hold a current full driver’s licence for the class of vehicle driven.

2.          All road rules and traffic laws must be always followed. Any breach may result in disciplinary procedures, as well as incur legal consequences and costs such as impoundment of the vehicle and or fines.

3.          Otago Polytechnic Ltd will not be liable for, nor pay for, any fines or legal expenses in circumstances where there has been any traffic infringement.

4.          Employees are required to provide their current full drivers licence for view by their formal leader, who will send a photocopy to the People and Culture Team for record keeping.

5.          Employees are required to inform their formal leader if there is a change in status of their driver licence.

6.          Staff whose Polytechnic work requires driving as a component of that work, must complete a Staff Designated Driver Agreement (see SOP).

7.          Safe Driving Practices

7.1.         Safe Driving Practices must be followed at all times:

7.1.1.    Fatigue: Polytechnic business travel time is to be included as part of a workday, which for driving safety reasons should not extend beyond 11 hours. 10-minute refreshment breaks every 2 hours are recommended when driving for prolonged periods.  Driving between midnight and 6 am is not recommended.

7.1.2.    Alcohol and drugs: All staff must comply with New Zealand law/Land Transport Safety Act and Rules regarding driving and alcohol/drug consumption. To avoid accident or injury or infringement, it is recommended that no alcohol should be consumed for at least an 8-hour period prior to travel, or during travel. No drugs or medications which may affect driving should be taken prior to or during a period of driving.

7.1.3.    Cell phones:   Texting and emailing whilst driving is not permitted.  Cell phones are to be turned off while driving unless there is a legally compliant hands-free kit.

7.1.4.    Visibility: It is recommended that staff drive with lights on at all times when on the open road.

7.1.5.    Weather conditions:  It is recommended that travel be postponed during adverse weather conditions or if they are forecast during your travel period.


8.          Learner driving

8.1.         Learners are not permitted to drive Polytechnic vehicles or rental vehicles unless this is as part of course requirements.

8.2.         Learners driving to work experience locations are responsible for their own safety and vehicle safety.

8.3.         Staff cannot require learners to drive other learners to work experience locations. Staff may choose to arrange group transport to locations off campus. In this case a minivan or a bus should be used.

8.4.         Where special arrangements are required, for example when driving a van is agreed to be a part of learners’ work experience, e.g., outdoor recreational careers involve attainment of safe driving skills:

8.4.1.    The formal leader must give prior approval and a Learner Designated Driver Agreement is signed by the learner and the formal leader (SOP).

8.4.2.    Appropriate safe driver training has been provided and this is documented. Attendance at a defensive or safe driving course or equal equivalent is strongly recommended, or close supervision and training by a staff member who has attended this course is required.

8.4.3.    The Programme Head must obtain written agreement from the other learners in the vehicle who are to be driven by the designated learner(s).


9.          Group/Field Trips/Mini Vans

9.1.         Numbers in each vehicle

The number of passengers must not exceed manufacturers specifications.  Each passenger must be seated in a designated seat and have approved safety restraints.

9.1.1.    When groups of people are being transported in minivans, a maximum of 12 people, including the driver, can be accommodated in one van. This applies whether the minivan is owned by Otago Polytechnic Ltd or hired.

9.1.2.    For groups greater than 12 people – either two minivans, a minivan and car, or a bus with driver must be hired unless the staff driver has a current ‘P’ Class Drivers Licence.

9.2.         Costs for transport for compulsory field trips is part of the general course costs for learners; there shall be no on-charge to learners.

9.3.         Overnight Trips
If required to drive on overnight trips, at least 2 designated drivers are assigned for the trip. Staff should be aware of potential fatigue after long days and should add travel/driving time to the length of activity.

9.4.         Driver Safety Training
               Drivers of Polytechnic minivans, both staff and approved learners, should attend a Polytechnic approved Driver Safety Training programme. Details are available from the Health and Safety Advisor. The College will cover the cost of the training.

9.5.         Seatbelts
                Law requires that all passengers in minivans and cars with seatbelts must wear them. The driver may refuse to take anyone not wearing a seatbelt.


10.       Emergencies

10.1.      All Otago Polytechnic Ltd vehicles must have a fully stocked First Aid Kit. (Refer to policy - First Aid.).  It is the designated driver’s responsibility to ensure it is stocked before departure.

10.2.      Staff must be aware of procedures for dealing with emergencies a copy of which is provided with each Otago Polytechnic Ltd vehicle. See SOP.


11.       Vehicles (in accordance with Policy - Travel on Otago Polytechnic Limited Business

11.1.      All Otago Polytechnic Ltd business-related driving must occur in accordance with Policy - Travel on Otago Polytechnic Ltd Business.

11.2.      Staff must use Polytechnic vehicles as first choice for transport. Bookings are made with Campus Services.

11.3.      If it is not possible to use a Polytechnic vehicle, with formal leader’s approval, the priority of use thereafter is

11.3.1. Taxis

11.3.2. Rental vehicles

11.3.3. Private vehicles must only be used in the absence or unavailability of an Otago Polytechnic Ltd.  Private vehicles to operate under the same safe driving practices outlined for OP vehicles.   The employer’s responsibilities are the same as when the employer owns the vehicle.  We need to check that the vehicle is safe, suitable and complies with regulatory requirements, limited vehicle, or inability to use a taxi or rented vehicle. Use of a private vehicle must be approved by the formal leader prior to the commencement of the travel or reimbursement will not be paid.


The following reimbursement can be claimed and includes the cost of petrol in the daily amount:

Whichever is the lesser of:

a.    77c per Km (IRD rates)


b.    A maximum for one round trip of $180


Note that it is the responsibility of the individual staff member to ensure their vehicle has insurance and that they notify their private insurer that they are using their vehicle for work purposes. In the event of an accident causing damage, the responsibility for cost of repairs is with the owner of the vehicle and their insurer.


12.       Maintenance of vehicles

12.1.       Otago Polytechnic Ltd Vehicles

12.1.1. Maintenance, warrant of fitness and registration of fleet vehicles is the responsibility of the Director: Campus Environment.

12.1.2. Bookings, maintenance, registration and WOF of departmental vehicles and trailers is the responsibility of the College Operations Co-ordinator or Programme Head.

12.1.3. Pre-start checks should be carried out considering distance of travel, time of travel and terrain.

12.2.      Rental Vehicles

12.2.1. The Rental Company is responsible for ensuring the safety and legal compliance of rental vehicles.


13.       Securing Loads, Passenger Safety

All loads such as course materials, hazardous substances, display stands, suitcases, heavy goods, and other materials must be secured appropriately.


14.       Use of Polytechnic Vehicles for Private Use

14.1.      If exceptional circumstances mean that a staff member genuinely needs to use an Otago Polytechnic Ltd vehicle for personal use, this use must be approved in advance by their formal leader to ensure insurance cover.

14.2.      When a staff member uses Otago Polytechnic Ltd vehicles for private use (or for business use), this is only covered by Otago Polytechnic Ltd’s insurance where the use is authorised by Otago Polytechnic Ltd.

14.3.      When unauthorised private use occurs, the staff member will be liable for any damage.


15.       Driver Education

Otago Polytechnic Ltd frequent drivers and van drivers are strongly encouraged to complete safe driving courses. Formal leaders can approve staff to undertake these courses, with the costs charged to the respective department.



First Aid
Smokefree/Auahi Kore Policy
Travel on Otago Polytechnic Limited Business

Staff Driver Agreement
Learner Driver Agreement


megan gibbons signature

Approved by:
Dr. Megan Gibbons
Chief Executive