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PRM-014: Use and Management of University Vehicles

Date: 04/15/2010 Status: Final
Last Revised: 03/06/2024
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Applies To:

Academic Division, the Medical Center, and the College at Wise.

Reason for Policy:

These requirements (a) contribute to the safe operation and management of University vehicles to protect the general public and the assets of the University; and (b) assist the University in complying with the State’s vehicle regulations in order to prevent denial of liability coverage.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV):A motorized off-highway vehicle designed to travel on four low pressure or non-pneumatic tires, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control.
  • Driver:A person who is authorized to drive University-owned vehicles on University business. 
  • Leased or Rented Vehicle:A vehicle that is licensed for road use which by agreement has been leased or rented by the University from a third party for University business use and is not owned by the University.
  • Motorized Utility Vehicle (MUV):A vehicle that is either rented or owned by the University and powered by an electric motor or internal combustion engine that is not intended for road use, nor licensed under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Examples include, but are not limited to: golf carts, Cushman vans, Kubotas, Bobcats, utility vehicles, Gators, Rough Terrain Vehicles, All Terrain Vehicles, and other similar vehicles.
  • University Vehicle:A Leased or Rented Vehicle, a Motorized Utility Vehicle, or a University-Owned Vehicle that is operated for University business.
  • University–Owned Vehicle:A vehicle that is licensed for road use and is owned by the University as evidenced by the vehicle’s title, registration, and license plate (normally light blue in color with an S as the last digit), regardless of the source of the funding the University used to purchase the vehicle, or whether the vehicle was acquired through donation in accordance with University Policy EXT-006: Solicitation and Acceptance of Gifts of Real Property, Life Insurance, Tangible Personal Property (Including Fine Art), and Intangible Personal Property.
Policy Statement:

University vehicles must be operated in accordance with this policy and the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia or jurisdiction in which the vehicle is being driven. University vehicles are to be used for official University business purposes only [refer to Executive Order 89 (2005)]. A valid business purpose includes transportation of (a) persons, equipment, or supplies for the University and (b) persons or students with temporary or permanent disability needs. The University prohibits operating a University vehicle in a careless and reckless manner.

Additionally, operation and management of University vehicles must comply with the requirements of the State’s vehicle regulations in order to prevent denial of liability coverage, as explained in policy FIN-006: Insurance Coverage, Section 3. A. [Certain vehicles (e.g., emergency and medical response vehicles) are exempt from state vehicle policies as noted in Virginia Vehicle Code 46.2-930.]

  1. Use of University Vehicles – Oversight:
    Vice Presidents and Deans are responsible for oversight of:

    • vehicle utilization, fleet management, and insurance in compliance with this policy; and
    • any measures, beyond those listed in this policy, to provide for the safe operation of vehicles.
  2. University Accident Review Committee:
    The University Accident Review Committee is appointed by the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Its charge is to evaluate each crash in which a University-owned vehicle is involved. The Office of Property Liability & Risk Management’s website describes the general responsibilities of the University Accident Review Committee and the responsibilities of the University community in complying with the Provisions of Section 52-4, of the Code of Virginia, of 1950 as Amended, Memo-2001-No.10, which requires each state agency to form an Accident Review Committee to review accidents that involve agency-owned vehicles.

    The University Accident Review Committee will review accidents involving Leased or Rented Vehicles and Motorized Utility Vehicles (MUVs) on an as-needed basis.

  3. Vehicle Fleet Management – Department or Unit Responsibilities:
    All departments or units assigned University vehicles must:

    • Register all University-owned vehicles through Parking and Transportation, Inter-facility Transportation (Medical Center), or the University’s College at Wise Fleet Management.
    • Have State license plates on the University-owned vehicles. Exceptions should be discussed with the Office of Property & Liability Risk Management.
    • Adhere to all State regulations, policies and procedures governing State-owned vehicles such as the State Travel Regulations and Office of Fleet Management Services Policies and Procedures and Executive Order 89 (2005).
    • Maintain each vehicle in safe operating condition and keep maintenance records on each vehicle.
    • Record miles driven and report the annual fiscal year mileage for each University-owned and long-term leased vehicle to the Office of Property & Liability Risk Management within 2 business days following the end of each fiscal year (in order to comply with State Police reporting requirements.)
    • Monitor the mileage and age of the vehicle fleet for vehicle retirement consideration.
    • Maintain vehicle registration, use logs with mileage and maintenance records in compliance with the Virginia Public Records Act and the Records & Information Management Office retention schedules.
  4. Insurance and Accidents – Department or Unit Responsibilities:
    The Manager/Supervisor must:

    • Contact the Office of Property Liability & Risk Management (924-3055) to arrange for insurance coverage upon purchase of a University-owned or long-term leased vehicle. Newly purchased University-owned vehicles must not be driven until insurance coverage confirmation is received.
    • Inform the Office of Property Liability & Risk Management of changes in the vehicle fleet of University-owned or long term leased vehicles in order to maintain insurance coverage. This includes responding to the annual Risk Management Vehicle Insurance survey by the prescribed due date.
    • Review FIN-006, Section 3 for information regarding liability coverage, physical damage coverage, and accident reporting procedures.
    • Obtain from the driver of a University vehicle, a copy of the Auto Loss Notice and request a Police Report (if available) for any accident occurring out-of-state or in the District of Columbia and send to the Office of Property Liability & Risk Management as mandated by the Provisions of Section 52-4, of the Code of Virginia, of 1950 as Amended, Memo-2001-No.10.
    • Maintain accident reporting documents in each University vehicle to include the Auto Loss Notice and Accident Reporting procedures to follow if involved in an accident.
  5. Proper Vehicle Use – Department or Unit Responsibilities:
    Each department or unit that is assigned or operates University vehicles must establish a system for authorizing vehicle use. The Manager/Supervisor must:

    • Allow only drivers with valid licenses to operate a University vehicle. Students who do not have an employment relationship with the University must not be authorized to transport passengers on behalf of the University. Additionally, others who do not have an employment relationship with the University who are under 21 years of age must not be authorized to transport passengers.
    • Initiate through Human Resources annual driving record checks for employees currently driving University vehicles as a requirement of the job.
    • Notify Human Resources of any position that requires driving so that the initial driving record check can be completed on those who apply for the position.
    • Equip each University vehicle with a copy of the Driver’s Responsibilities and provide a copy to each individual authorized to operate a University vehicle.
    • Provide authorized drivers with adequate training on specific features and handling followed by driving practice for unfamiliar vehicles.
    • Not transport groups of high school and younger students in the University’s care in vehicles designed to transport 10 or more passengers that do not meet school bus standards. These standards can be found in CFR Title 49-Transportation Chapter V Part 571 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 571.220 – 222.
  6. Driver Record Checks – Human Resources’ Responsibilities:
    Upon notification from a department, unit or school, Human Resources should request a driver record check when:

    • a condition of employment for a position requires driving a University vehicle;
    • the employee’s role changes to include driving responsibilities as a requirement of the job; or
    • the supervisor of an employee currently driving a University vehicle makes such a request.

    (Note: HR performs annual searches of the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse on those employees whose job requires the possession of a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) as prescribed in HRM-049: Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements for Commercial Driver’s License Holders.)

  7. Proper Vehicle Use – Driver Responsibilities:
    The driver of the vehicle has ultimate responsibility for seeking and possessing information about driving safety and road regulations. The driver must:

    • Have a valid driver’s license, at least 2 years of driving experience, and, if required, appropriate license certification for the type of vehicle he/she is operating.
    • Grant permission to the University to conduct checks of the driving record with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles or the motor vehicle authority where licensed.
    • Notify the supervisor of any change in license status.
    • Never drive with any known medical condition that precludes the safe operation of a motor vehicle.
    • Never operate a University vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or substances in violation of the law and University policy STU-001: Use of Alcoholic Beverages and Prohibition of Other Drugs.
    • Never use a cell phone while driving a University vehicle (per 4/29/09 memo from Governor Kaine).
    • Comply with both the 4/29/09 memo from Governor Kaine regarding the ban on text messaging while driving in Virginia and the Code of Virginia Section 46.2 -1078.1: Use of handheld personal communications devices in certain motor vehicles; exceptions; penalty).
    • Never smoke or vape in any University vehicle.
    • Park a University vehicle that is not operating properly or presents an unsafe condition and notify the supervisor immediately.
    • Wear a seat belt at all times while the vehicle is in operation and notify passengers of requirement to wear seat belts. [Transit buses, shuttle buses, and other high capacity passenger vehicles with standing room are exempt].
    • Not leave a University vehicle unattended with the engine running.
    • Lock University vehicles at all times prior to leaving the vehicle unattended when locks are available.
      EXCEPTION: If this would significantly impact fulfillment of the department’s mission, then the Department Head may exercise judgment and grant necessary exceptions provided the following are adhered to by the driver. The:
      • vehicle’s keys must never be left with an unoccupied vehicle;
      • driver must take appropriate measures to prevent the theft of University property left in the vehicle; and
      • vehicle must always be locked/secured at the end of each work shift.
    • Limit passenger transportation to University business.
    • Prohibit passengers from riding in the bed of a truck or other non-passenger area of a vehicle during operation. Passengers are only permitted in and must be seated in manufacturer-installed passenger seats.
    • Report all accidents and complete an Automobile Loss Notice. If the accident involving a University vehicle occurred in another state or the District of Columbia, the accident must be reported to the State Police, Highway Patrol, or local police department having jurisdiction. When possible, the driver must obtain the name, address, and policy number of insurers of other involved vehicles and a copy of the Police accident report and pass this information to their immediate supervisor.
    • Follow these steps when parking a University vehicle on a slope where the vehicle has the potential to roll and endanger people or property:
      • Vehicles with 20,000lbs and higher GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating = vehicle weight plus load weight) when loaded, being loaded, or being unloaded: the driver must make sure to engage the parking brake, make sure the vehicle is in gear for standard transmissions or in park for automatic transmissions, and block the wheels.
      • Vehicles with 9,000lbs and higher GVWR when connected to a loaded trailer or when connected to a trailer being loaded or unloaded: the driver must make sure to engage the parking brake, make sure the vehicle is in gear for standard transmissions or in park for automatic transmissions, and block the trailer wheels.
      • All trailers with GVWR of 4,000lbs or higher, when loaded, being loaded, or being unloaded shall have the trailer tires blocked whenever parked on a slope.
    • Read and adhere to the Driver’s Responsibilities.
    • Perform a pre-trip inspection to confirm the proper operation of critical equipment, including but not limited to:
      • Lighting – headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, flashing strobe light (as applicable)
      • Brakes/Parking Brake
      • Reflectors and signage
      • Steering
      • Horn
      • Back-up alarm
      • Tire inflation
    • Perform a walk-around noting any hazards or obstacles and condition of vehicle prior to each use.
  8. Passenger Van Use:
    The guidelines below establish minimum safety requirements when operating a 12- or 15-passenger van (van), regardless of the number of seats installed. Drivers should review the information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on 15-Passenger Vans and Safety Precautions.

    • No more than 12 people, including the driver, may ride in any van owned, leased, rented, or operated for University business. Passengers should sit in seats that are in front of the rear axle. If there is a back seat providing seating above the passenger limit it must be removed.
    • The number of passengers may not exceed the number of working seat belts. All passengers must be properly seated with seat belts fastened any time the van is in motion. Drivers are responsible for enforcing this requirement.
    • Roof racks may not be used under any circumstance. Luggage/cargo carried inside a van should be packed as close to the floor as possible and may not be stacked above the level of the seat backs. Whenever possible, luggage/cargo should be restrained to secure items against shifting or falling. Heavily loaded vans should have the load distributed evenly. Avoid excessive loading behind the rear axle of the van.
    • When operating a van with a trailer attached, there cannot be more than one passenger other than the driver in the vehicle.
    • 15-passenger vans are not permitted outside of the United States.
    • OPERATING GUIDELINES – The driver must:
      • Reduce van speed BELOW the speed limit posted for all turns. In addition, sudden jerky motions should be avoided when steering.
      • Adjust sideview mirrors so that the sides of the van can be seen. Convex mirrors should be used to increase the driver’s field of view.
      • Allow more time and distance when pulling into traffic or attempting to stop. Drivers should leave three to four car lengths between their van and the rear of the vehicle ahead.
      • When exiting a tunnel or being passed by a large truck, drivers should grip the steering wheel firmly and be prepared for the van to be pushed by the wind.
  9. Motorized Utility Vehicles Only - Department or Unit Responsibilities:
    Three-wheel ATVs are prohibited. Each department or unit that operates an MUV, as defined, must:

    • Provide Safe Operator Training and obtain a signed MUV Operator’s Agreement prior to driver operation of an MUV.
    • Equip* each University MUV with:
      • Seat belts for all passenger seats either installed by the manufacturer or aftermarket by a licensed professional according to manufacturer/ANSI specifications.
      • A “Slow Moving Vehicle” reflective orange triangle as mandated by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
      • Headlights, taillights and brake lights (2 each), and electric turn signals.
      • A Horn with an activation button/switch within reach of the driver.
      • An Ignition/on-off key or cypher lock to prevent unauthorized use.
      • A parking brake with adequate strength to hold the MUV securely at a fifteen-degree incline.
      • Wheel chocks.
      • An audible (at least 80 decibels at 10 feet) back-up alarm when placed in reverse.
      • An amber strobe light mounted at the highest point on the MUV to be observed from all directions at all times when in motion.
      • Rear and side view mirrors if cargo or other equipment could block vision.
  10. Motorized Utility Vehicles Only - Operator Responsibilities:
    Each Operator must:

    • Receive Safe Operator Training and sign the Operation of a Motorized Utility Vehicle Acknowledgement or a copy of policy PRM-014: Use and Management of University Vehicles.
    • Only operate the vehicle when all four wheels are touching the ground/roadway.
    • Stop the vehicle and yield to pedestrians whenever pedestrians are present. Pedestrians always have right of way.
    • Stop at all blind intersections, sound horn, then proceed with caution.
    • Operate the vehicle so as not to impede or interfere with normal pedestrian or vehicular traffic flow.
    • Park the vehicle in spots designated for parking. An MUV must not be parked in: a fire lane, a metered parking space, a handicap space, within 20 feet of entrances or exits of buildings, or on sidewalks or ramps that would impede pedestrian or handicap accessibility.
    • Not use headphones, cell phones or any other hand-held or hands-free device while operating the vehicle.
    • Wear a helmet when operating an MUV that is classified as an ATV and is not equipped with roll-over protection.
    • Not exceed manufacturer’s recommended load capacity of the vehicle – neither passenger nor cargo limits per VOSH code 16VAC25-60.
    • Advise passengers they must keep heads, legs, and arms within the vehicle whenever the vehicle is in motion.
    • Always lock and secure the vehicle with the parking brake when not in use.
    • Never operate the vehicle inside, under, or through the confines of University buildings, unless pre-authorized for special use (e.g., passenger transport in hospital.)
    • Not drive on roads highlighted in RED on the map unless there is no other reasonable route which provides access to the destination. The highlighted roads are restricted due to high traffic volume and increased congestion.
  11. Compliance with Policy:
    Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion in accordance with relevant University policies.

    Questions about this policy should be directed to the Office of Property & Liability Risk Management.


MUV Operators: Complete an Operation of a Motorized Utility Vehicle Acknowledgement form or sign and return a copy of policy PRM-014: Use and Management of University Vehicles.

For accidents, complete an Automobile Loss Notice.
For detailed information, see Instructions for Completing Automobile Loss Notice and Major Accident/Incident.

Major Category:
Physical Resource Management
Next Scheduled Review:
Approved By, Date:
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 04/15/2010
Revision History:

Added Note in Section 6, Changed passenger capacity from 9 to 12 in Section 8 3/6/24; Added Section 8 3/17/23; Revised compliance effective date in Section 8 3/24/22; Addition of MUVs effective 2/25/20; Edited Procedures 4/3/18; Updated 3/22/13.

Supersedes (previous policy):

SEC-001: 15-Passenger Vans