EHS Vehicle Use Guidelines

Updated: September 2, 2021

The guidance below is reflective of the current Yale Covid-19 Alert Level: Yellow

Transportation safety is a key element in preventing transmission of COVID-19. As such, the university has created this guidance related to vehicle transportation while working on campus, and to/from any off-campus events, and educational sites. 

Faculty, staff or students planning on or off campus gatherings must also follow the Events, Gatherings & Meetings policy requirements.

The general principles in this guidance apply to all use of vehicles, but any research and fieldwork vehicle use is subject to review and approval by the Off-Campus Research and Field Work Review Committee.

  • Do not travel if you are feeling unwell or if you exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Regardless of the mode of transportation, masks must be worn at all times if there are passengers.

When possible, trips by vehicle should be limited to a solo occupant (the driver). When more than one occupant will need to travel in the same vehicle for short duration trips (<15 minutes), keep the number of passengers to a minimum. Consider using multiple vehicles to keep the number of passengers in each vehicle lower.

Unvaccinated passengers must maintain as much distance as possible from other passengers. Unvaccinated passengers should consider driving solo or sitting alone in the back seat of the vehicle. University-sponsored travel outside of CT or overnight is not permitted for unvaccinated individuals (in-state, day trips are allowed for unvaccinated individuals).

Requirement for all vehicles:

  • Hand sanitizer must be available for use when entering the vehicle. Hand sanitizer should be used after touching public surfaces such as gas pumps, parking meters, and pay stations and when entering and exiting buildings.
  • If the vehicle is shared with others or there are multiple occupants, frequent touchpoints within the vehicle should be disinfected with wipes before and after each trip (e.g., the steering wheel, gear shift, door frame/handles, windows, radio/temperature dials, and seatbelt buckles).

Requirements for all vehicles involving two or more occupants and regardless of trip length:

  • Vehicle occupants must wear masks at all times - regardless of vaccination status.
  • Distancing in the vehicle should be maximized where possible by alternating passenger side seating and driver side seating by row.
  • For vehicles with a single row of seats, each person should be seated by a window as far apart as possible.
  • Food and drinks must not be consumed during the trip
  • All windows should remain open a minimum of three inches to allow for air flow throughout the vehicle. Use of air conditioning is not as effective at reducing transmission as open windows. When using the vehicle air conditioner, avoid use of the re-circulating feature. Vents should be pointed down in the vehicle.
  • Minimize conversations and speak softly when talking. Speaking loudly and frequently increases the probability of transmission.

Drivers must have a clean motor vehicle record and Yale driver safety awareness training is recommended. Personal automobile insurance will be the insurance that responds first in the event of an accident. 

Zipcar use is allowed, but it is the responsibility of the users to wipe down the inside of the car prior to use. Follow requirements outlined above.

Rental vehicles are allowed, subject to restrictions in the University’s Fleet Policy. Follow requirements outlined above.

Use of 12-15 passenger vans continues to be prohibited, as per the University’s Fleet Policy.  

Rideshare services (Uber, Lyft, etc.) are generally discouraged. If they must be used, follow the guidance listed above and avoid touching surfaces and your face as much as possible. Carry your own hand sanitizer in case it is not provided by the rideshare. If the driver is not wearing a mask, please cancel the ride, request another ride, and report the issue to the rideshare company. Uber and Lyft will not charge for a cancelled ride if the cancellation is due to the failure of the driver to wear a mask.

Employees using public transportation should be aware of CDC guidance and Connecticut Department of Public Health rules that require mask-wearing inside or outside waiting areas at transportation hubs or when using public or private transport services including:

  • Buses and bus stations and stops (this includes the Yale shuttle and while waiting at shuttle stops);
  • Trains and train stations;
  • Airports;
  • Taxi stands, rideshare vehicles, or any privately hired transportation vehicles (such as Uber, Lyft, taxis, livery); and
  • Ferries and ferry slips.

If you have other questions related to Yale’s travel policy and best practices for safety, please review Yale’s Travel Policy as well as CDC safety advice.

Guidance may change with Yale’s Covid-19 Alert Levels.

If lowered to Green:

  • Masking requirements may be lifted.
  • Vehicle occupancy recommendations may be removed.

If raised to Orange:

  • Travel by vehicle may be restricted to approved uses only.
  • Stricter vehicle occupancy restrictions may be put in place.

If you have any questions regarding vehicle use, please contact Environmental Health and Safety at ehs@yale.edu.