Business Services Policies

BS20 University Vehicle Operations or Use [Formerly Fleet Operations Vehicle Service]

Policy Status: 

Active

Policy Steward: 

Associate Vice President for Auxiliary & Business Services

Contents:

PURPOSE:

To state the University policy governing the use of motor vehicles on University business.

SCOPE:

This policy applies to all vehicles used in University business, regardless of whether the vehicle is owned, leased or rented by the University, personally owned by an employee, or otherwise, and regardless of whether the vehicles are licensed for road travel or are unlicensed special-purpose vehicles such as golf carts, utility or all-terrain vehicles; but this Policy does not apply to golf carts on the University Park golf course.

University owned, leased or rented vehicles may not be used for personal business except where specifically approved by the Risk Management Office.

WHO MAY DRIVE ON UNIVERSITY BUSINESS:

Employees: Any vehicle used in the commission of University business may only be driven by a University employee, regardless of whether the vehicle is owned or leased by the University, a commercial car rental agency, or an individual. All drivers must be 21 years or older.

The University retains the right to periodically check driver motor vehicle records and establish criteria to exclude employees from driving on business.

Employees between ages 18 and 21 may only drive University vehicles if:

  1. They have documented completion of a University-sponsored driver training program (which can be found by accessing the Online Driver Safety Training Course) during the time of their University employment;
  2. Their Motor Vehicle Record has been checked by the University's Office of Human Resources and found to contain no major moving violations; AND
  3. Driving is a significant responsibility of their approved job description.

Employees under the age of 21 may also act as a relief driver when accompanying a faculty or staff member on a long trip (4 hours or more each direction), without regard to items a-c above.

Students: Undergraduate students are normally not permitted to drive University-owned, leased or rented vehicles. A student can only serve as a driver for University business (other than a relief driver as described above) if they meet the requirements above AND if they are acting as an employee as part of the trip, AND driving a vehicle is part of their University job description. However, students may act as relief drivers when accompanying a faculty or staff member on a long trip (4 hours or more each direction). In the case of a rental vehicle, a student relief driver must be properly insured for the vehicle being driven, by noting the additional driver on the rental agreement at the time the vehicle is rented. Students employed on “work-study” assignments are NOT permitted to drive vehicles, as a condition of their federal funding.

Family Member Relief Drivers: In addition to the above provisions permitting employees under the age of 21 and University students to act as relief drivers, family members of University employees may also act as relief drivers when accompanying a faculty or staff member on a trip of 4 hours or more duration in each direction. All family member relief drivers must be 18 years or older. In the case of a rental vehicle, the relief driver must be properly insured for the vehicle being driven, by noting the additional driver on the rental agreement at the time the vehicle is rented.

NOTE: University vehicles are not to be parked at an employee's home overnight. Exceptions may be granted if the vehicle will be used for an early departure (prior to 7:00 a.m.) or a late return (after 7:00 p.m.) and/or the individual would reduce driving time to or from the final destination by taking the vehicle home the evening before or returning it the next day. Exceptions must be approved by the Budget Administrator whose budget will incur the University-owned vehicle charge (or the Budget Administrator's immediate supervisor if the Budget Administrator is the one using the vehicle). Even if an exception is granted, the vehicle cannot be used for personal use.

OPERATING LICENSE:

All drivers must possess a valid driver’s license issued by a state of the United States or by a Province of Canada. An overseas or international driver’s license does not meet eligibility requirements.

TOWING:

The towing of trailers and equipment by motor vehicles on University business presents liability exposure to the University and the drivers of the towing vehicles, as well as concerns for the safety of University employees and equipment. In light of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code (PA Title 75, which addresses motor vehicles, including trailers), and the insurance industry practice of insuring a trailer in tandem with the vehicle towing the trailer (known as the "power unit"), all University owned, hired, or leased trailers shall be towed by University owned, hired or leased power units. The towing of University owned, hired, or leased trailers by personally-owned vehicles is not permitted.

Power units shall be sufficiently designed and capable for the trailer and cargo, and the University’s Fleet Operations Office should be contacted to help evaluate the proper power unit and trailer.

TRUCK RENTAL:

From time to time University units may need to rent trucks from commercial vendors such as Budget, Ryder and Penske. The operation of these rentals is subject to the same rules and conditions as set forth above and applicable Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Law as well as other states and federal regulations.

When renting a truck from a vendor, the unit must adhere to the following:

  • If the rental is 30 days or less - the CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) and supplemental liability coverage must be purchased from the vendor. The University’s preferred coverages and limits are as follows:
    • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW): full coverage for the replacement cost of the truck.
    • Supplemental Liability Coverage: $100,000 bodily injury per person/$300,000 bodily injury per accident/$50,000 property damage.
  • If the rental is more than 30 days - please contact the Risk Management Office for insurance coverage.

INSURANCE FOR UNIVERSITY-OWNED OR LEASED VEHICLES:

The University maintains liability insurance on its vehicles as required by the Pennsylvania Financial Responsibility Act, as well as physical damage coverage which includes a $1,000 collision and $500 comprehensive deductible. The responsible department will be charged these deductible amounts, should damage occur. University vehicles are covered while operated in the United States and Canada.

NOTE: The University's contracts with National Car Rental and Enterprise Rent-A-Car include primary auto liability and collision damage to the vehicle itself. The University has elected NOT to purchase "personal property" coverage which is an option available to the renter, and for University business the payment of this expense is NOT reimbursable.

VEHICLE ACCIDENT REPORTING:

Any accident involving a vehicle (owned, leased, rented or personally-owned) driven on University business, must be reported by the driver to the Risk Management Office within 24 hours, using the Vehicle Accident Report Form. If a rental or personally owned vehicle is involved in an accident while used on University business, no matter how minor, it must be reported to the Risk Management Office. The Vehicle Accident Report Form may be found in the visor pack of fleet-serviced vehicles. For other vehicles, a copy of the form can be accessed on-line at http://controller.psu.edu/claims (see the "Auto Liability" section). The driver is responsible for completing both sides of the form.

Driver Responsibilities:

  1. In the event of accident resulting in a serious injury, death, non-drivability of the vehicle, or an alleged hit and run, you MUST contact the police.
  2. If you are involved in an accident involving serious injuries or death, you should also notify the Risk Management Office at 814-863-5539.
  3. If a Fleet vehicle is damaged so extensively that it cannot be driven, you should also notify Fleet Operations at 814-865-7572.
  4. Should an accident occur when driving a rental vehicle on University business, the driver must also notify the rental agency as well as the police, no matter how minor the accident.

FINES, TOLLS AND PARKING FEES:

All University drivers are responsible for any tolls, parking fees or violations/fines incurred while using a vehicle while on University business. Tolls and parking fees will be reimbursable as listed in the "Transportation" section of the Penn State Travel Policy. Violations and fines will not be reimbursed by the University.

Auxiliary and Business Services is the initial contact for unpaid violations/fines written on University vehicles. Violation documents are received which contain a license number of the vehicle in question. Utilizing their Vehicle Registration System, Auxiliary and Business Services personnel will search and locate the unit/department associated with that license number. If the license number identifies the vehicle as a Fleet Operations vehicle, Auxiliary and Business Services will forward the violation document to Fleet Operations for resolution. If the vehicle is not identified as a Fleet vehicle, Auxiliary and Business Services will contact the applicable unit/department on file for that vehicle for resolution. Once Auxiliary and Business Services contacts the appropriate responsible department, it will be that department’s responsibility to resolve the situation.

Units/departments/drivers should be aware that if violations are not paid or properly appealed within the prescribed time, the driver may be subject to any summons or warrants for arrest issued against the unpaid violation.

FLEET OPERATIONS VEHICLES:

The Department of Transportation Services’ Fleet Operations, a division of the Office of Auxiliary and Business Services of The Pennsylvania State University, has the responsibility for providing safe and well-maintained vehicles for the official business and travel needs of the University. Fleet Operations also provides professional driver services for University business and special events coordinated through the Nittany Lion Inn, Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, or Pasquerilla Spiritual Center. Fleet Operations has the sole authority for the purchase and management of University passenger vehicles, the assignment and scheduling of reservations, and the scheduling of all maintenance and repairs for Fleet vehicles. This policy should not be confused with the University’s Travel Policy.

Fleet Vehicle Program Eligibility:

  • University employees 21 years of age or older
  • Valid United States (issued by a “state”), or Canadian Province Operator’s license
    • NOTE: An overseas or international driver’s license does not meet eligibility requirements.
  • Undergraduate students are not authorized to reserve, sign for, or operate Fleet vehicles. They may, however, act as a relief driver when accompanying a faculty or staff member. The faculty or staff member must be present in the vehicle (see “Who May Drive On University Business,” above).
  • Under extenuating circumstances, exceptions may be considered when certain established criteria have been met and proper advanced approvals have been given, in writing, by Fleet Operations. Requests for exception must be provided and signed by the Dean of the College or the Department Head for review/approval, and must include the following:
    1. Student’s name and PSU ID number.
    2. Position title/brief description of student’s role/work duties.
    3. Why is driving a University vehicle necessary in this student’s work for the unit?
    4. Hiring college/unit and department.
    5. Budget and Fund covering various vehicle reservations.

NOTE: Graduate students with assistantships and serving as part-time teaching assistants are considered employees for purposes of Fleet vehicle rental. Please note that this exception to policy does not waive the basic Fleet eligibility requirement.

Reserving A Fleet Vehicle:

To submit a “request,” authorized personnel (those employees given ADBA access by their Financial Officers via the Financial Officer notification system in IBIS) may submit a request via the web-based “Fleet Vehicle Reservation Form" found at https://www.absecom.psu.edu/DTS_Fleet_VRES/PUBLIC/WELCOME_WIN.cfm.

All student organizations must go through the Student Affairs Office at 240 HUB to arrange reservations for vehicles and Fleet drivers. Please contact (814) 865-7117 for further information.

Long-Term Vehicle Assignments (Previously Full-Time or Permanently Assigned Vehicles):

Long-term assignments of Fleet vehicles made on the same vehicle with the same budget and fund numbers are made for a specific time period equaling 14 days or more in a one month period. To request a long-term vehicle assignment, customers must complete the Long-Term Vehicle Assignment Request, per GURU instructions. These forms must be signed by the Budget Executive and Financial Officer. Read instructions carefully and provide all information requested. Forms not properly completed will be returned for completion.

Requests made for a time period of fifteen (15) days to one month will be charged a minimum of a one month fee. Charges are still initiated on the pick-up date indicated by the requestor even if the vehicle is not picked-up when requested.

The person(s) designated as Point of Contact (POC) must ensure that the end-of-month odometer readings are accurately reported to Fleet Operations by the 2nd day of the month following the reporting month. In the event that monthly odometer readings are not received by the 2nd of the month, one mile will be added to the previous monthly reading and any overages will be billed the following month.

If the designated person(s) is not available on any given month, an alternate must be designated. The base monthly vehicle rate includes 1,000 miles. In the event that all of the 1,000 miles are not used, they do not “roll-over” to the next month. Failure to report monthly odometer readings may result in penalty charges and/or loss of the use of the vehicle.

All personnel utilizing long-term vehicles MUST maintain a Long-Term Vehicle Usage Log. A copy of the usage log is provided to the operator at the time of vehicle pick-up. Usage logs are subject to University audit and must be available upon request. Additional copies of the Long-Term Vehicle Usage Log can be obtained by contacting Fleet Operations at fleet@psu.edu or 814-865-7571.

Fleet Vehicle Restrictions:

  1. Towing

    Prior approval from Fleet Operations is required if the vehicle is to be used for towing. Only certain 4WD vehicles have a towing package. Additionally, some 4WD vehicles are limited to certain “classes of trailers.”

    When submitting the vehicle request, inform Fleet personnel of the need for a vehicle with a towing package. Please note that prior approval is needed to examine towing capacities and experience of drivers.

  2. Trailers

    The towing of trailers and equipment by motor vehicles on University business presents liability exposure to the University and the drivers of the towing vehicles, as well as concerns for the safety of University employees and equipment. In light of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code (PA Title 75, which addresses motor vehicles, including trailers), and the insurance industry practice of insuring a trailer in tandem with the vehicle towing the trailer (known as the “power unit”), all University owned, hired, or leased trailers shall be towed by University owned, hired or leased power units. The towing of University owned, hired, or leased trailers by personally-owned vehicles is not permitted.

    Power units shall be sufficiently designed and capable for the trailer and cargo, and the University’s Fleet Operations Office should be contacted to help evaluate the proper power unit and trailer.

  3. Alteration of Vehicles

    Any alteration of any Fleet vehicle system is strictly prohibited, including, but not limited to, the use of electronic transformers/transducers or any device used to plug in additional electronic equipment not authorized by Fleet Operations, roof racks, and mobile caution/emergency lights.

    In the event that a department requires such equipment, they may contact the Fleet Vehicle Manager who will work with them to coordinate such needs.

    Those vehicles with existing roof racks may be used for this purpose, but persons are cautioned against exceeding the weight limit of the roof. Repair of any damages caused by unauthorized alterations or modifications will result in additional charges to that department’s budget/fund.

    Exterior coverings on Fleet vehicles such as graphics or wraps must be approved by the Fleet Vehicle Manager prior to application due to possible surface damage.

  4. No text messaging or cell phone use when operating vehicles while on University business. (SY37)
  5. No pets/animals in the vehicle
  6. No smoking in the vehicle
  7. No alcohol consumption in the vehicle
  8. No removal of seats by the customer
  9. No transporting of bio-hazardous material(s)
  10. Fleet vehicles are intended for passenger, business use only

Fleet vehicles serve passengers and are not intended for hauling items to include animals or large items to include bicycles or equipment that may cause damage to the interior of the vehicle.

Any unauthorized use resulting in damage or necessary additional cleaning to the vehicle may result in additional charges and possibly suspension or termination of Fleet vehicle usage.

Fleet Vehicle Notifications:

Fleet Operations must be notified in the event of a vehicle breakdown or accident to determine and assess the situation in terms of safety of the customer and condition of the vehicle. Fleet Operations personnel will provide the driver with instructions appropriate to the particular circumstances in order to get the customer back on the road as quickly as possible.

Such information is vital for not only customer needs but also to determine the impact of that vehicle to future rentals.

Large Passenger Van Rental and Usage:

Large Passenger van usage requires that the University employee be 25 years of age or older, or possess a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL), and successfully complete two (2) WEB-based training and testing modules (accessible at the Penn State Large Passenger Van Training website).

For safety reasons, the University has instituted the following requirements:

  • A maximum of fifteen (15) passengers is authorized.
  • Seat belt use is mandatory for all passengers.
  • Luggage or items may not be stacked higher than the bottom edge of the windows.
  • Large Passenger vans are not authorized for towing purposes.
  • No materials may be carried on the vehicle roof.

Damage Or Abuse Of Vehicles:

Any damage occurring to a Fleet vehicle must be reported to Fleet Operations immediately. Do not wait until the vehicle is returned to Fleet Operations to disclose damage, due to the impact of the vehicle assignments. Long-term vehicles will be scheduled for necessary repairs.

If abuse or misuse of a vehicle is found to be the cause of vehicle damage, the department is held responsible for the full cost of repairs. Departments found to have persons abusing Fleet vehicles will be requested to immediately return the vehicle(s) and may be refused future assignments.

Additional reasons for possible termination of Fleet vehicle privileges include, but are not limited to:

  • reported reckless driving habits;
  • repeated accidents caused by driver negligence;
  • misuse of the fuel card;
  • late reporting of monthly odometer readings;
  • non-payment of vehicle violations;
  • noncompliance of University policies as outlined in this regulation and elsewhere; and
  • other behaviors or use of the vehicle(s) that are not in the best interest of the University.

Zero Deductible:

Daily Rentals- Fleet Operations offers an optional coverage that reduces the deductible to zero for a minimal fee. The zero deductible is offered on the Fleet Vehicle Reservation Form, or when picking up the vehicle by circling the “YES” for zero deductible on the “Check-out Confirmation” Form. Fleet Operations considers the zero deductible as applicable if either the department (when completing the Fleet Vehicle Reservation Form) or the individual signing for the vehicle, upon check-out, designates “yes” on either form, even if the two do not match.

Long-Term Vehicle Assignments- Departments with long-term assigned vehicles also have the option of selecting the “zero deductible” coverage. This must be selected and approved by the Budget Executive and Financial Officer when the Long-Term Vehicle Assignment Request is submitted.

Zero deductible does not cover misuse or abuse of a vehicle. The department will be charged the full amount of damages if misuse or abuse is determined. Fleet Operations reserves the right to refuse the zero deductible option to individuals or departments whose vehicle accident record reflects numerous or repetitive accidents.

A Fleet Driver trip is not eligible for the zero deductible option. (This includes cars dropped at airports, etc.)

The fee for zero deductible is available at the Fleet Operations web site.

Fuel Credit Cards:

All Fleet vehicles are assigned a fuel card which is located in the visor pack. Fuel cards may only be used for fuel, oil, and/or emergency repairs after receiving verbal authorization by Fleet Operations personnel.

The fuel card must accompany the vehicle when it is returned to Fleet Operations. Any vehicle returned without the credit card will not be considered “returned or checked-in” until the credit card is received by Fleet Operations. The department will be responsible for any additional costs involved for additional days accumulated on the original reservation.

If a card is “Lost or Stolen” it must be reported immediately to Fleet Operations. Because Fleet Operations receives electronic copies of all transactions, any paper receipts may be properly disposed of by the user. The fuel card is widely accepted and can be used at all major gas stations. If for some reason, a customer must use another method of payment to fuel a Fleet vehicle, he/she must provide Fleet Operations with the original receipt and complete the Fleet Fuel/Repair form. University Purchasing cards are not authorized for the fuel purchases of Fleet vehicles. As an instrumentality of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, fuel purchases on the Fleet fuel cards are exempt from any applicable liquid fuels tax and fuel use tax. Fleet Operations will not reimburse fuel paid for with the University Purchasing card.

Fleet Operations will not reimburse fuel paid for with the University Purchasing Card.

Vehicle Maintenance:

Fleet vehicles are serviced and maintained on a regular basis.

Personnel with vehicles located within easy access of University Park will arrange and bring the vehicles to Fleet Operations for this service. Vehicles maintained at the Commonwealth Campuses may have the service performed at their locations with prior approval and arrangements by the Fleet Operations Vehicle Manager. Any unscheduled vehicle repairs (i.e., caused by accident), need to be coordinated and approved by Fleet Operations PRIOR to the work being conducted.

Billing and Invoicing:

All billing and invoices are done electronically. Persons designated to receive weekly/monthly billing must have their Financial Officer provide VAUX authorization via the IBIS system.

Professional Fleet Driver Services:

Fleet Operations provides professional, commercial-licensed drivers for University business purposes and special events coordinated through the Nittany Lion Inn, Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, or Pasquerilla Spiritual Center. This service is available in conjunction with vehicle reservations for many vehicles such as buses, the trolleys, mini-vans, maxi-vans and Fleet cars through a Penn State budget. The contact at the venue will provide specific information regarding rental processes. All Fleet buses and trolleys are ADA accessible and include a wheelchair lift. Vehicle rentals without Fleet drivers are not authorized for special events. All Fleet driver reservations must be processed through the online reservation system.

Driver Services trips involving extended periods may include charges for lodging, meals, tolls, parking, etc.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

For additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Associate Vice President, Auxiliary & Business Services.

CROSS REFERENCES:

See other associated University policies, especially the following:

BS03 - Faculty and Staff Parking Rules and Regulations

BS18 - Procurement or Acquisition of Light-Duty Motor Vehicles (8,500 GVW or less) [Formerly Procurement of Passenger Vehicles]

Penn State Travel Policy

SY37 - Text Messaging and Cell Phone Use When Operating Vehicles While on University Business

Effective Date: February 27, 2017
Date Approved: February 24, 2017
Date Published: February 27, 2017

Most Recent Changes:

  • February 27, 2017 - Revisions have been made to the WHO MAY DRIVE ON UNIVERSITY BUSINESS and FLEET OPERATIONS VEHICLES (Long-Term Vehicle Assignments) sections, to clarify the particulars of current operations and bring policy verbiage in sync with the Penn State Travel Policy.

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • November 2, 2016 - Addition of a SCOPE section, to clarify the parameters and restrictions applicable to all vehicles used for University business.
  • December 2, 2014 - Revisions to the PURPOSE, WHO MAY DRIVE ON UNIVERSITY BUSINESS, TRUCK RENTAL, VEHICLE ACCIDENT REPORTING, FINES, TOLLS AND PARKING FEES and FLEET OPERATIONS VEHICLE sections to clarify current operations.
  • April 7, 2014 - Editorial changes. Clarification in the "Who May Drive On University Business" section on the permitted age of those who may drive a University vehicle on University business (18 years old is minimum).
  • January 20, 2014 - A complete revision of the policy to reflect current operations, restrictions and practices, as it applies to all University vehicles.
  • October 25, 2013 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • June 10, 2011 - Editorial changes. Revised all former references of "Maxi-van" throughout the policy to "Large Passenger" van.
  • December 3, 2009 - Editorial change in the "Fuel Credit Cards" section. The statement "In Canada, only 'Shell' stations accept the fuel card" was removed, per directive of Fleet Operations.
  • August 13, 2009 - Extensive revisions to the entire policy, to reflect current operations.
  • May 29, 2008 - Editorial change to the "Departure and Return Times" section, to bring the policy into sync with University Travel Policies, pending future, more extensive revisions to this policy.
  • January 5, 2007 - This policy was relocated to the Business Services section, per major changes and relocation of University Travel Policies.
  • May 25, 2005 - Editorial changes to eliminate "General Forms Usage Guide" references, and to add the correct links for the forms referenced in the policy.
  • November 1, 2002 -
    • Added requirements for the use of 15-passenger maxi-vans.
    • Revised the process for the handling of a parking or moving violation notice and resulting fine involving a University Fleet Operations vehicle.
  • October 1, 1996 - Moved rates to Appendix 12.
  • September 30, 1992 - Rate changes.
  • August 19, 1991 - Rate changes and collision deductible changes from $250 to $500.
  • March 15, 1991 - Added notification about possible oil-related surcharges.
  • July 27, 1990 - Reformatting and editorial changes.
  • November 10, 1989 - Rates changes; introduction of IBIS VRES form.
  • November 17, 1988 - Rate changes; change in time of hours of operation of Fleet Operations.
  • November 21, 1986 - Rate change.
  • August 30, 1985 - Rate changes.
  • June 21, 1985 - Change in time of hours of operation of Fleet Operations.
  • February 22, 1985 - Introduction of reservation form.
  • September 21, 1984 - Insurance collision deductible increased from $100 to $250.
  • May 30, 1984 - Rate changes.
  • August 4, 1983 - Rate changes.
  • September 17, 1982 - Rate changes.
  • December 9, 1981 - Change in time of hours of operation of Fleet Operations.
  • September 25, 1981 - Eliminated requirement for drivers to be 21 year old in order for extenuating circumstances to be considered.
  • February 6, 1981 - Permitted undergraduate students to act as a relief driver with a full-time University employee.
  • September 3, 1980 - Rate changes.
  • March 5, 1980 - Rate changes.
  • July 14, 1979 - Rate changes.
  • January 25, 1979 - Rate changes.
  • September 28, 1978 - "Insurance Office" changed to "Risk Management;" added vehicle rates by class.
  • May 14, 1962 - New policy.