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Safe Driver Program

Northwestern University Office of Risk Management has outlined the Safe Driver Program to serve as a guide to promote the safety of drivers and passengers when vehicles are used on University business. The program outlines the eligibility, requirements, and responsibilities of those who drive on behalf of the University.

The University's Auto Insurance Program covers all authorized Students, Staff and Faculty when operating University vehicles on University business. In consideration of being authorized to drive a University vehicle, all Faculty, Staff, and Students must complete a Safe Driver Application.  Applicants will be subject to MVR review and may be subject to completing the Defensive Driving Course.

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Safe Driver Application

Application To Use Northwestern Vehicles

To access the Safe Driver application, it is necessary for you to log in using your Northwestern NetID.

SUBMIT AN Application (NETID) 

Don't have a NetID at this time?


Important: To ensure that you receive automatic email notifications, add to your address book.

List of Certified Student Drivers

 To access the Certified Student Driver's list, it is necessary for you to log in using your Northwestern NetID


Operational Rules and Trip Management for Students

Any exceptions to these rules require permission from Risk Management. To request an exception, please provide a detailed itinerary for the trip along with your justification.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below you will find our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, which is designed to provide you with quick and comprehensive answers to common queries regarding the Safe Driver Program.

Who is required to fill out the Safe Driver application?

Any individual affiliated with the university who may drive a university vehicle for official university purposes.

What criteria must be met to qualify as an Approved OR Certified Driver?

  • Students, Faculty, & Staff
    • All students, faculty and staff are required to: i) Have a valid driver’s license; ii) Have a driving record with no more than one major moving violation or one accident in the past year (whether damaged caused either to or by the vehicle), and iii.) Have a driving record with no serious events. Serious events include but are not limited to any alcohol or drug related offense(s), failure to report an accident, and operating during a period of license suspension or revocation.
  • Additional Eligibility Requirements for Students
    • All students are required to i.) Complete and pass the Office of Risk Management’s Defensive Driving Course; ii.) Have a valid driver’s license for at least two years; and iii.) Consent to having a motor vehicle record run and reviewed in accordance with applicable privacy laws.
At the discretion of Office of Risk Management and student(s) sponsoring department or school, students may be required to complete and pass Golf Cart Defensive Driving Course prior to operating a University-owned golf cart.
  • Additional Eligibility Requirements for Faculty & Staff
    • In consideration of being authorized to drive a University vehicle, all faculty & staff will be monitored for regular compliance with the procedures, policies and rules in this Safe Driver Program. Faculty and staff will be subject to MVR review and the University will conduct more frequent checks if at-risk behaviors are identified.

Is it necessary to upload a copy of my Driver's License?

Not necessarily. Typically, if we are unable to process your Motor Vehicle Record, we may ask for a copy of your driver's license. If this situation arises, we will get in touch with you and request that you provide us with a copy of your driver's license.

Who is required to complete the Defensive Driving Course?

The Defensive Driving Course is a required course for all students to complete in order to be eligible to operate University Vehicles. In some cases, Staff & Faculty may be required to complete the Defensive Driving Course by the discretion of Risk Management and/or their respective department.

Whom should I list as my supervisor/advisor?

Your supervisor/advisor is the individual within your unit, department, group, or club who is responsible for your vehicle usage. You should not list yourself, another employee, or a student. Please do not use general emails (e.g.,

Is the Defensive Driving Course still conducted through in-person sessions?

No. You can now complete the Defensive Driving Course remotely. Once you complete a Safe Driver application and your MVR is approved,  you'll receive a link to complete the course.

What is the process for obtaining approval to operate University Golf Carts?

Applicants should complete a Safe Driver application, and sign up to complete the Golf Cart Safety course. Faculty and Staff should check with their departments and/or Risk Management on whether or not they must complete the course.

Are there any specific operational guidelines or regulations in place for Student driver's?

Yes. Please review the information below and kindly note that any exceptions to these rules require permission from Risk Management. To request an exception, please provide a detailed itinerary for the trip along with your justification.

Operational Rules and Trip Management for Students
  • 4 Hours / 2 Consecutive Hours - Each driver may only drive a total of four hours per day and no more than two consecutive hours.
    • All trips over two hours require at least two approved drivers. At least one passenger shall remain awake at all times.
  • 5:00 am to 11:00 pm - Drivers are only able to drive between 5:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
  • 150 Mile Radius – During the week, trips must stay inside of a 150-mile radius. On the weekends, the radius is extended to 300 miles, requiring an overnight stay.
  • 10 Hours per Day Total – The maximum a vehicle can be driven in one day is 10 hours.

Can I still drive university vehicles if my Driver's License has expired but the issuing state has granted an extension?

No. Risk Management will suspend the drivers university driving privileges until the license is renewed. Per the Safe Driver Program, all drivers must hold a valid drivers license.

Can I submit an application of my Driver's License is expiring soon?

Yes. You may still submit an application if your drivers license is expiring soon. However, you will not be able to submit your application if your drivers license expires on the same day of your submission.

We will notify you via email that your drivers license is expiring soon and provide you with a link to update your drivers license information on file.

Please add to your address book to ensure delivery of these notifications.

What is the duration of certification for Student Drivers?

Student Driver's who remain in compliance with the policies, procedures, and rules of the Safe Driver Program  can hold their certification for up to 2 years*. However, this is dependent upon acceptable annual and/or semi-annual motor vehicle record checks.

Please note that, at minimum, all driver's must renew their Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) annually.

How can I obtain a copy of my certificate if I have completed the course but did not receive it?

Return to the course link email and follow the confirmation link. If you need help, contact Risk Management.

Once I have obtained approval from Risk Management, what is the procedure for renting a vehicle?

Northwestern's Procurement and Payment Services department manages the Vehicle Rental program with National Car Rental and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. To learn more, visit Vehicles: Procurement and Payment Services - Northwestern University

What is the process for acquiring a copy of the Auto-ID card?

The Auto-ID card is updated annually. To access the Auto-ID card, visit If you experience any issues accessing the Auto-ID card, please contact Risk Management.

Why is my name not appearing on the list of certified student drivers?

A couple things may cause your name not to appear on the certified student drivers page.

  • The listing is updated daily, around 9:00am. Therefore, the time in which you became certified may affect when your name appears on the webpage.
  • If you currently hold a Defensive Driving Certification and do not see your name listed on the Certified Student Drivers list, Your MVR check may be expired. Your MVR expiration date is approximately 1 year before your DDC Certification expires.

If you need more assistance, contact Risk Management.

I'm experiencing issues. Who should I contact?

If you are experiencing any issues with the program and/or application process, please contact Risk Management.


For additional information, contact Juan-Carlos Perez at