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Howard Community College (HCC) makes college-owned vehicles available for official college use.  Requests for vehicle use should be made to the responsible office well in advance to ensure vehicle availability.  Priority for the use of a vehicle will normally be in accordance with the requests received.  Exceptions, if any, will usually be based on obtaining the greatest economy in the use of college travel funds.  No monetary reimbursement for mileage is authorized for local travel by faculty, staff, or administrators on official business when college vehicles are used.

Responsible Offices

Plant operations and the athletic department control and maintain the vehicles assigned for general college use.  Plant operations maintains the records of the vehicles.

Guidelines

  1. If an employee requires a vehicle for college business, the employee must contact plant operations or the athletic department to determine the availability of a college vehicle.  If a vehicle is available, the vehicle reservation/trip form, which is available on the college portal, must be completed by the employee who will be operating the vehicle. A reservation will not be finalized until the completed form is received.
  2. In addition to the vehicle reservation/trip form, the driver will also need to complete a state driver’s record form and certify possession of a valid driver’s license at the time the vehicle and keys are picked up.  Failure to possess a valid driver’s license on the date any vehicle is driven could result in disciplinary action or dismissal.  The driver must also sign an authorization letter for authorized college staff to obtain the driving record from the motor vehicle administration (MVA).  An employee may not drive college vehicles unless a current driving record has been checked and is on file in the human resources office.  A list of authorized drivers will also be maintained by the plant operations office.
  3. Students and college volunteers are not authorized to drive college vehicles.
  4. College-owned vehicles are to be used for official college use only and by the designated person indicated on the vehicle reservation/trip form.  This form is not a travel authorization; it is a vehicle reservation/trip authorization only.    
  5. For those vehicles assigned directly to an individual staff member, responsibility for keys, credit cards, and maintenance shall be the responsibility of the individual staff member.
  6. Normally, an employee may not drive college-owned vehicles home.  When it is necessary to do so, the employee must include this information on the vehicle reservation/trip form to receive appropriate authorization in advance.
  7. No vehicle is to be away from the college overnight unless permission is granted and acknowledged on the vehicle reservation/trip form.  College vehicles will not be kept out locally overnight without prior approval of the vice president from the driver’s area of the college.
  8. Vehicles picked up from plant operations are to be returned to the designated motor pool vehicle parking spaces.  The keys, credit cards, and completed vehicle reservation/trip form must be deposited in the key drop box upon return of the vehicle.
  9. Vehicles picked up from the athletic department are to be returned to the parking area in front of the athletic and fitness center upon completion of travel, regardless of time or day.  If a college vehicle is returned when the athletic department is closed, the keys, credit cards, and completed vehicle reservation/trip form must be given to a guard in the public safety office.
  10. Only drivers may arrange to park their personal vehicles in the plant operations college vehicle parking space during the travel time.  Other passengers may park in regular college parking spaces and must notify public safety that their vehicles will be parked overnight.  The college does not assume responsibility for the personal vehicle or the contents during the time it is parked. 

Responsibilities of Driver

  1. It is the responsibility of the driver to comply with all laws of the State of Maryland, including but not limited to, laws governing cell phones and seat belt use.  Any driver found in violation of the laws of the State of Maryland will lose driving privileges and may be subject to disciplinary action.
  2. In addition to compliance with the laws of the State of Maryland, drivers traveling outside of Maryland must comply with motor vehicle laws of the local jurisdiction.
  3. Should the driver’s plans change and the vehicle not be used as scheduled, plant operations, or the athletic department, must be notified immediately to cancel the request for a college vehicle to allow other use.
  4. Individuals who are not on college business shall not be passengers in the vehicle. Hitchhikers must not be picked up.
  5. Traffic citations issued to the vehicle are the responsibility of the driver and must be noted on the vehicle reservation/trip form under remarks, with the exception of E-ZPass® violations.  The college will pay for E-ZPass® violations, however, any driver-related penalty would be the employee’s responsibility.
  6. If the assigned driver of a college vehicle receives a ticket for running a red light or a parking citation, that driver is personally responsible for the ticket.  In the case of red light tickets, the college will notify the employee upon receipt.  In the case of parking tickets, the employee must immediately turn the ticket into the college.  In both cases, the college will pay the ticket and the employee will reimburse the college.  If reimbursement does not occur before the fine due date, the college will deduct the amount from the employee’s paycheck.
  7. The assigned driver is responsible for the safe operation and reasonable care and security of the college vehicle during the entire travel status.
  8. The assigned driver will not smoke or allow smoking in the college vehicle.
  9. No vehicle should be returned after use with less than one-half tank of fuel. 
  10. Immediately upon return, the driver will report any malfunctions noted during operation on the vehicle reservation/trip form under remarks.
  11. Immediately upon return, plant operations will inspect the vehicle.  Vehicles not left in good interior condition will be cleaned by an outside company, the cost of which, up to $400, will be charged to the driver’s cost center.
  12. Every effort will be made by the operator to obtain supplies or services from service stations using college-issued credit cards.  However, circumstances may arise that prevent this procedure from being accomplished.  When it becomes necessary to purchase supplies or services with cash, a receipt must be obtained in order to receive reimbursement.  The receipt must have the following information:
    1. Amount of cash paid;
    2. Supply or service being paid for;
    3. Name, address, telephone number of company on printed invoice, letterhead, etc.; and
    4. Date and signature of company representative.
  13. If mechanical failure occurs to a vehicle within a 25-mile radius of the college, plant operations must be contacted if the occurrence is during normal business hours.  Otherwise, a nearby local garage, preferably one that specializes in the make of the vehicle affected, should be contacted for assistance.  If the repair estimate exceeds $100, plant operations must be contacted for clearance prior to authorization of the repairs.

    If mechanical failure occurs to a vehicle beyond a 25-mile radius of the college, the driver must contact the vice president of his or her department for instructions.  The vice president will decide on a case-by-case basis whether the vehicle should be towed or repaired locally, and whether the occupants of the vehicle should stay overnight near the breakdown site or will be picked up by other college staff.

Bills for repairs should be turned in with the vehicle reservation/trip form upon conclusion of the trip.

Responsibilities of Plant Operations and the Athletic Department

  1. Plant operations and the athletic department will maintain keys and credit cards for general use of college vehicles.
  2. When plant operations or the athletic department is contacted by the driver of a vehicle in the event of a mechanical failure of the vehicle within a 25-mile radius of the college, arrangements for repairs will be coordinated by plant operations.
  3. Plant operations must give clearance prior to authorization of repairs that total more than $100.
  4. Bills for repairs will be reimbursed through plant operations from the appropriate vehicle repair account with the authorization by the executive director of plant operations.
  5. In the event of an accident, the written report from the driver involved will be given to the office of the vice president of administration and finance within 24 hours of the driver completing the trip.

Vehicle and Equipment Accident Reporting

All vehicle or equipment accidents of potential liability, loss, or damage will be reported in detail directly to plant operations regardless of the degree of severity.

  1. A driver of a college vehicle involved in an accident should immediately contact the local police, prior to leaving the scene of the accident.
  2. When involved in an accident, the driver should not admit any guilt to any party involved with the accident investigation.
  3. The driver will report accidents involving college-owned vehicles or equipment to the employee’s immediate supervisor the same working day of the accident or the following working day if the accident occurs after normal working hours. Failure to fully report college accidents and all damage to vehicles may result in disciplinary action to the driver.
  4. An on-the-scene vehicle/equipment accident report form must be completed by the employee or the supervisor, and two copies must be submitted, one to plant operations and the other to the vice president of administration and finance, within  24 hours of the incident.  The employee should complete as much of the form as possible while at the scene of the accident.
  5. A police accident report should be obtained whenever a college-owned vehicle or college equipment is involved in an accident.  This report should be filed in addition to the vehicle/equipment accident report.  When contacting the police, college employees should tell them that the vehicle involved in the accident is a local government vehicle. If possible, the police will try to respond. Occasionally, however, if it is a fender-bender, they will not.  If this occurs, all other information listed on the form should be obtained.  If the accident occurs on campus, public safety should also complete an incident report and take photos of the damage.
  6. Supervisors are required to investigate the circumstances of the incident and forward a supervisor’s accident investigation report to plant operations and to the vice president of administration and finance within five working days from the date the vehicle/equipment accident report was submitted.
  7. Personal injuries resulting from any vehicle or equipment accident will be reported to human resources.
  8. The vice president of administration and finance or designee will conduct all contact with insurance carriers (including accident reporting), except where express authorization is granted to do otherwise.
  9. The deductible for an accident must be covered by the cost center of the employee using the vehicle.
  10. Repair of damaged vehicles or equipment will not be made until approved by plant operations.  Such approval may be obtained by telephone if damage has occurred and immediate repair is required.

Driving Records

To ensure the safety of operators of college vehicles and to protect the vehicles, authorized college staff will review the driving records of prospective operators and records must be updated every two years in order to operate a college vehicle.  Should an employee have a violation that impacts the driving record before the next two-year update, the employee must notify the employee’s supervisor and the office of the vice president of administration and finance.  If a driver has a questionable driving record, the record must be re-evaluated on a semi-annual basis.  A questionable driving record consists of a combination of one moving violation or an indication of past license suspensions or mandated driver improvement programs during the past three years.  It is the responsibility of the operator to complete the necessary paperwork from plant operations in order for the record to be obtained.  Driving records of prospective and current operators will be maintained in the employee’s personnel files.  Records are obtained electronically from the Motor Vehicle Administration.  Prospective and current operators must give the office of administration and finance their driver’s license number in order for the record to be obtained.  Only State of Maryland driving records can be obtained electronically.  Out-of-state license holders must make arrangements to obtain their own driving record with the local motor vehicle administration in their jurisdiction. Any out-of-state license holder who lives in the State of Maryland must obtain a Maryland driver’s license within 60 days of moving into Maryland.  The original record must be given to the authorized employee for review.  The cost of obtaining an out-of-state driving record will be the responsibility of the cost center of the individual using the vehicle.  Upon review of all records, if it is determined that the record contains no violation of consequence, the prospective operator may be permitted to drive the college vehicle.  A copy of the report is mailed to the operator and the original remains in the personnel file in human resources.

A driver who has accumulated six or more points on the driving record for a moving violation, will not be allowed to operate a college vehicle until the accumulated point total is reduced below four points.  In addition, drivers who accumulate three or more accident claims will no longer be eligible to operate college vehicles.  If a driver receives a driving under the influence (DUI) or drug-related citation on the license, the employee will not be permitted to drive a college vehicle until three months after the Motor Vehicle Administration has removed the citation from the record.  If a driver accumulates six or more points or receives a suspension of the driver’s license, or receives a DUI, it is the responsibility of the driver to immediately notify the supervisor. Failure to notify the supervisor will be grounds for immediate termination.

If the driving record shows that the driver was operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or the misuse of legal/over the counter medication, that driver shall not be allowed to operate a college vehicle and further disciplinary action may be taken and may result in the employee being terminated.

If driving is a significant part of an employee’s responsibility and the driver’s license becomes suspended or revoked or the employee has a large number of infractions, the record will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine continued eligibility for operating a college vehicle once the license has been reinstated.  If a college employee continues to drive a college vehicle after the driver’s license has been suspended or revoked or the employee has a large number of infractions, this will result in disciplinary action and may result in the employee being terminated from employment at Howard Community College.

Since the college is audited by the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT) every two years, this procedure must mirror Howard County Risk Management’s procedure.

Policy Manual Review/Revision: 12/12/14