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Use of College Vehicles Procedure -70.02.01

College Policy Number/Title:

Howard Community College (HCC) has college-owned vehicles available for employees to use for official college business.  Requests for vehicle use should be made to the responsible office well in advance to ensure vehicle availability.  Employees requesting use of a college-owned vehicle must be on the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) approved drivers list. 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 employees on official business when college vehicles are used. The facilities and the athletic departments control and maintain the vehicles assigned for general college use.  Facilities maintains the records of the vehicles.

Reserving and Driving a College-Owned Vehicle

  1. If a college-owned vehicle is required for official business, the employee will obtain a vehicle reservation trip form from the employee portal. Submit the form to the facilities department or the athletic department to reserve the vehicle. The reservation will not be finalized until the completed form is received.
  2. To be an “approved driver”, the employee must complete a driver’s record form and certify possession of a valid driver’s license. The driver must also sign an authorization for college staff to obtain their driving record from the MVA.  Forms can be obtained by contacting the office of the vice president of administration and finance.  Once the driving record is checked, the driver will receive confirmation of their status as an “approved driver” as long as the driving record does not contain significant infractions. The list of authorized drivers is maintained in the office of the vice president of administration and finance with copies sent to human resources, facilities, and athletics.
  3. Students and college volunteers are not permitted to drive college vehicles. Only college employees can drive.
  4. If vehicles are assigned directly to an employee, the responsibility for keys, credit cards, and vehicle cleanliness and fueling shall be the responsibility of that employee.
  5. Normally, an employee may not drive college-owned vehicles home.  Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis and should be noted on the vehicle reservation trip form to receive approval.
  6. Vehicles should not be away from the college overnight unless noted and approved on the vehicle reservation trip form.  
  7. Vehicles picked up from the facilities department 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.
  8. Vehicles picked up from the athletic department are to be returned to the parking area in front of the athletic and fitness center. 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 the public safety office.

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. Individuals who are not on college business are not permitted in the vehicle. Hitchhikers must not be picked up.
  4. Traffic citations and moving violations issued to the vehicle are the responsibility of the driver. List any known citations or violations on the vehicle reservation trip form under remarks. These include red light tickets, speeding tickets, parking tickets, and toll violations. The college will assess violations on a case-by-case basis to determine the employee’s obligation to pay, however, driver-related penalties are the employee’s responsibility.
  5. The assigned driver is responsible for the safe operation and reasonable care and security of the college vehicle during the entire trip.
  6. The assigned driver will not smoke or allow smoking in the college vehicle.
  7. Cell phone use is prohibited by the driver when operating the college-owned vehicle.
  8. Seatbelts must be worn at all times by the driver and passengers.
  9. Upon return, the driver must report any malfunctions noted during operation on the vehicle reservation trip form under remarks.
  10. Immediately upon return, the facilities department will inspect the vehicle which is expected to be in good condition.  Vehicles not left in good interior condition will be cleaned and charged to the driver.
  11. All facilities employees that will be using college vehicles will be required to take the driving safety course  through HCC professional development in addition to having a valid state of Maryland class C license. Any facilities employees that will be operating any Department of Transportation (D.O.T) vehicles must be in compliance with D.O.T regulations. This will be the responsibility of the employee.

 Mechanical Failure

  1. If mechanical failure occurs to a vehicle within a 25-mile radius of the college, facilities must be contacted if the occurrence is during normal business hours (Monday through Friday between 8:30AM-5:00PM).  Otherwise, a local garage can be contacted for assistance.  If the repair estimate exceeds $100, the facilities office must be contacted for authorization of the repairs.
  2.  If mechanical failure occurs to a vehicle beyond a 25-mile radius of the college, the driver must contact senior administration or area vice president for instructions.  A decision will be made 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 employees.
  3.  Every effort will be made by the driver to obtain supplies or services from service stations using college-issued credit cards.  If it becomes necessary to purchase supplies or services with cash or personal credit cards, a receipt must be obtained in order to receive reimbursement.  Bills for repairs should be turned in with the vehicle reservation trip form upon conclusion of the trip.

Responsibilities of the Facilities Department and the Athletic Department

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

Vehicle Accident Reporting

All vehicle accidents including liability, loss, or damage will be reported in detail directly to facilities and to the office of the vice president of administration and finance regardless of the degree of severity.

  1. The driver should immediately contact the police, prior to leaving the scene of the accident.
  2. The driver should only state the facts but not admit any guilt to any party; a claims adjustor will be assigned to assist the driver and be involved with the accident investigation.
  3. The driver must report the accident to the college within 24 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 accident report form must be completed by the employee and two copies submitted, one to facilities and the other to the senior administration office, within  24 hours of the accident.  If possible, take photos and attach to the report or email to the facilities department and senior administration.
  5. If  police respond to the accident, a copy of the police report should be attached to the vehicle accident report completed by the driver and submitted to the facilities department and senior administration.  If the accident occurs on campus, public safety will also complete an incident report and take photos of the damage.
  6. Personal injuries of an employee resulting from any vehicle or equipment accident will be reported to human resources.
  7. The senior administration office will contact the insurance carriers (including accident reporting), except where express authorization is granted to do otherwise.
  8. The deductible for an accident must be covered by the cost center of the employee using the vehicle.
  9. Repair of damaged vehicles or equipment will not be made until approved by facilities.  Such approval may be obtained by telephone if damage has occurred and immediate repair is required.

Driving Records and Defensive Driver Training

In order to be eligible to drive a college-owned vehicle, the employee must be an “approved driver”. The driver gives senior administration their  driver’s license number in order for the record to be obtained. Records are obtained from the Motor Vehicle administration (MVA) and 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. An individual who moves to the State of Maryland must obtain a Maryland driver’s license within 60 days. Upon review of all records and determination that the record contains no violation of consequence, the employee becomes an approved driver.  A copy of the report is mailed to the operator and the original remains in the personnel file in human resources. Driving records are reviewed every two years. 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 senior administration office.  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. Driving records of approved drivers are maintained in the senior administration office and in each employee’s personnel file.  

A driver who has accumulated six or more points on the driving record for a moving violation, is not allowed to operate a college vehicle until the accumulated point total is reduced below four points.  Drivers who accumulate three or more accident claims are no longer eligible to operate college vehicles.  If a driver receives a driving under the influence (DUI) or drug-related citation on the license, the employee is not permitted to drive a college vehicle until three months after MVA 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 driver’s responsibility to immediately notify the supervisor. Failure to notify the supervisor will be grounds for immediate termination. If the driving record of the approved driver shows that the driver was operating any vehicle under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or the misuse of legal/over the counter medication, that driver is not 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.

Effective FY17, employees required to operate a college vehicle on a regular basis must take a defensive driving course before being permitted to drive any college vehicle.  In addition, all individuals who have incurred an infraction or accident using a college vehicle or other college equipment will lose driving privileges and are required to take a defensive driving course before permitted to drive a college vehicle. If warranted, accidents can be evaluated on a case-by-case basis with training required based on a determination of fault. Details for available courses are found in Defensive Driver Training Requirements and can be obtained from the office of the vice president of administration and finance. Those who already have driving privileges at the college are grand-fathered and will not have to take the defensive driving course unless they incur an infraction or accident. All other items and conditions of the college procedure 70.02.01, Use of College Vehicles, remain in full force and affect. 

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.

Effective Date:  11/15/19

President's Office Use:  VPAF

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