MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY
For more information contact:
Requirements for Driving Vehicles on University Business
For Use of All Vehicles
For Use of Full-Size Passenger Vans
- Full-Size Van Driver Safe Driving Practices Acknowledgment Statement
- Full-Size Van Driver Valid License to Drive and Driving Experience Statement
- Full-Size Van Safety References and Tips
- Reducing the Risk of Rollover Crashes in Passenger Vans
- Alert! Passenger Van Drivers hangtag
This section provides policies and procedures on the following topics regarding the use of vehicles for official University business:
- Requirements for use of all vehicles, including:
- Additional requirements for use of full-size vans, including:
- Policy Exceptions
The department chair, director, or equivalent or higher administrator may grant personnel associated with the department authorization to drive state vehicles or privately-owned vehicles on official University business. Such personnel must be employees, students, or designated volunteers. The President has delegated this authority to department chairs, directors, or equivalent administrators.
Administrators may assign department staff members to prepare documents, complete verifications, and conduct training as required by this policy.
Use of University vehicles for student activities not under direct supervision by University employees, as defined under Definitions, is prohibited. Student activities are excluded from the state’s Self-Insurance Liability Program.
15-Passenger Full-Size Van (12-15 Seats)
A 15-passenger full-size van is defined as an extended version of a full-size van that is designed to accommodate up to 15 seats.
With the exception of the commuter ride-sharing program, WSU prohibited use of these vans for transporting passengers effective January 1, 2008.
12-Passenger Full-Size Van (8-12 Seats)
A 12-passenger full-size van is defined as a van with a maximum seating capacity of 12. It should not be confused with the longer 15-passenger full-size van that is configured with 12 seats or less.
Mini-Van (Up to 7 Seats)
A mini-van is defined as a passenger vehicle with a maximum seating capacity of six to seven. It is smaller in size than the 15- or 12-passenger full-size van and is commonly referred to as a “mini-van” by automobile manufacturers.
Cargo or Maintenance Full-Size Van
A cargo or maintenance full-size van is defined as a full-size van (12- or 15-seat capacity) which is designed or converted to be used for cargo or maintenance purposes only.
Official University Business
Official University business is defined as activities performed by an official or University employee, registered volunteer, or student as directed by his or her supervisor to accomplish University programs or as required by the duties of his or her position or office.
A University vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle owned, rented, leased, or otherwise under the possession and control of the University.
If a duly-authorized employee rents a vehicle at University cost and uses the vehicle solely for official University business, the rental vehicle is considered to be a University vehicle.
A student is defined as an individual who meets the University’s criteria for student status.
Student activities, including activities of registered student organizations, are defined as activities which are not under the direct supervision of University employees.
A volunteer is a person who, of his or her own free choice, performs any assigned or authorized duties for the University. A volunteer receives no wages and is registered and accepted as a volunteer in accordance with the policy and procedures in Business Policies and Procedures Manual, BPPM 60.81. The department must report the volunteer’s hours to Human Resource Services and pay a workers’ compensation coverage premium.
Requirements for Use of All Vehicles
The following requirements apply to the use of any vehicle that is driven for official University business.
See also Additional Requirements for Use of Full-Size Passenger Vans for additional requirements regarding the use of full-size passenger vans.
University departments that operate motor vehicles must comply with the following policies:
- This section (SPPM 7.10)
- SPPM 7.20: Motor Vehicle Accidents
- BPPM Chapter 95: Travel
- Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (DES), Enterprise Wide Transportation Policy (12.30.40(13))
Authorizing officials are also responsible for ensuring that drivers comply with all requirements specified in the above policies.
Authorizing officials must ensure that individuals engaged to drive on University business meet all of the requirements in this section.
Prior to Vehicle Operation
At the initial driving assignment and prior to vehicle operation, department managers, supervisors, or assigned personnel must:
- Visually check that each driver has in his or her possession a license valid under Washington State laws. The visual check is to verify that the driver’s license:
- Has not expired.
- Photo matches the employee/operator.
- Name matches University records.
- Birth date indicates driver is at least 18 years of age.
- Obtain verbal verification from the driver that he or she has at least two years of driving experience. There is no requirement to document this verification.
- Inform the driver that he or she must report to the manager/ supervisor anytime the applicable license-issuing authority notifies the driver of invalid or suspended license status.
- Provide the driver with online access to state and University policies pertaining to the authorized, safe, and efficient operation of vehicles used on official University business. See this section (SPPM 7.10), SPPM 7.20, BPPM Chapter 95, and the Enterprise Wide Transportation Policy (12.30.40(13)).
In addition to all of the requirements listed under Departmental Drivers and Requirements for All Drivers, a student must have prior authorization to drive from the department chair, the head of the employing department, or the faculty advisor, as applicable (see BPPM 95.13).
A student who performs work for compensation by a department and drives in the capacity of his or her employment is considered to be an hourly employee for purposes of this policy.
A student on a paid graduate appointment who drives in the capacity of his or her appointment is considered to be an employee for purposes of this policy.
A student volunteering his or her time to assist a WSU department in the conduct of University activities is considered to be a volunteer for the purposes of this policy.
NOTE: State law prohibits individuals under 18 years of age from performing jobs requiring motor vehicle operation. (WAC 296-125-030(2))
In addition to all of the requirements listed Departmental Drivers and Requirements for All Drivers, the department must submit written authorization to Motor Pool for a volunteer to drive Motor Pool vehicles.
Requirements of the driving safety program for specified drivers apply only to University drivers who meet the high mileage driving criteria or are involved in frequent accidents due to alleged driver error as described below.
Department managers, supervisors, or assigned personnel are required to notify Risk Management Services when drivers meet the following criteria:
- High mileage driving: Operates state vehicles 1,000 or more miles per month at least six months out of the year (need not be consecutive), regardless of whether the mileage is generated by local or long distance driving.
- Frequent accidents due to alleged state driver error: Is involved in either, or both, of the following outcomes due to alleged state driver error, regardless of miles traveled or law enforcement actions taken:
Two accidents due to alleged state driver error involving state or third party vehicle/property damage (other than damaged windshields) within a 24-month period.
One or more accidents due to alleged state driver error resulting in injuries to the state driver, passenger(s), or third party within a 24-month period.
Any person driving a WSU motor vehicle must:
- Be on official WSU business.
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Have at least two years of driving experience.
- Possess a valid driver’s license and any insurance as required by appropriate laws, rules, and/or regulations.
The license must be in the operator’s possession while he or she is driving a WSU vehicle.
The license must be valid for the type of vehicle driven. Anyone driving one of the following vehicles must have a commercial driver’s license:
Vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more.
Vehicles hauling trailers weighing 10,001 pounds or more.
Vehicles transporting 16 or more people, including the driver.
Vehicles carrying placarded amounts of hazardous materials.
For further information on valid licensing requirements, refer to the Washington State Department of Licensing’s Driver’s License website at:
- Comply with and report any legal prohibition and/or restrictions against driving to the authorizing department chair or administrator. Drivers must comply with corrective lens requirements, but are not required to report the use of corrective lenses.
Legal prohibitions and/or restrictions include, but are not limited to, revoked or suspended license, court imposed restrictions, restriction to drive a particular type of vehicle or equipment, and other Department of Licensing restrictions.
- Comply with all driving safety requirements in this section.
WSU drivers authorized to drive state vehicles on official University business are responsible for adhering to the following requirements.
Drivers must comply with state, University, and departmental policies (see Complying With Policies). Failure to follow these policies may result in disciplinary action, including deductions from salaries or other allowances due, suspension without pay, or termination of employment.
Privately-Owned Vehicles (POVs)
Drivers using privately-owned vehicles (POVs) on official University business are responsible for complying with all policies in the Safety Policies and Procedures Manual (SPPM) and with BPPM 95.11.
NOTE: Several policies include exceptions for drivers using privately-owned vehicles on official University business. Such exceptions are identified below.
- License Restrictions
A driver must notify the department manager, supervisor, or assigned staff person by the end of the next business day upon notification by the applicable licensing agency that his or her driver’s license has been suspended, revoked, or otherwise determined to be invalid.
- Safe Operation
Drivers must operate vehicles at all times in a professional and safe manner, and comply with applicable traffic laws and regulations.
A WSU driver may transport individuals, e.g., students, volunteers, contractors, clients, and private citizens, traveling on official state or University business only.
Personnel employed by other public entities who are traveling on official public business may accompany a WSU driver if the use is for official WSU purposes.
WSU drivers are not to provide rides for any nonofficial passengers, including family members, relatives, friends, and pets.
EXCEPTION: Drivers who use privately-owned vehicles for official University business may provide rides for nonofficial passengers, provided that the drivers have private insurance that covers the passengers.
University drivers may not transport non-college-enrolled high school or younger children in full-size passenger vans or other specialty vehicles not meeting state and federal school bus standards. Drivers may transport non-college-enrolled high school or younger children in mini-vans and sedans. Transportation of children must meet the definition of official University business.
Hourly employees and students may not operate any van carrying non-college-enrolled high school or younger passengers. Qualified faculty, adult volunteers, or staff drivers must operate vans transporting non-college-enrolled high school or younger passengers.
- Seat Belts
Drivers must properly use seat belts as required by state law. (RCW 46.61.688)
Drivers should verbally remind passengers of their responsibility to use seat belts at all times the vehicle is in operation. Also, drivers must ensure that authorized passengers under 16 years of age are properly restrained in safety belts or car seats, as appropriate. (RCW 46.61.687)
Drivers must adjudicate or handle all parking tickets, citations, or infractions received while operating a University vehicle in accordance with the procedures outlined on the ticket, citation, or infraction documents. Payment of fines and citations under such circumstances is the sole obligation and responsibility of the driver and is not to be reimbursed or paid by the University.
- Weather Conditions
Drivers must adjust driving speed and vehicle equipment (e.g., use of lights, tire pressure) to changing weather conditions. Additionally, the driver must alter travel plans as needed for safety due to inclement weather or sudden illness.
- Road Conditions
University owned vehicles are to be driven on maintained roads whenever possible. When official University business requires that vehicles be used off-road, the following process must be followed:
- Departments ensure their employees, students, and volunteers are authorized before driving University owned vehicles off-road.
- Departments notify Risk Management Services which of their vehicles insured with the Vehicle Accident Loss Reserve Fund are authorized to be driven off-road.
Risk Management Services may charge an additional premium or deductible for the Vehicle Accident Loss Reserve Fund for vehicles that are used off-road, depending on vehicle type and loss history.
- Departments renting motor pool vehicles must authorize that the driver is going off-road for University business and notify Motor Pool that the rented vehicle is being used off-road. Beginning July 1, 2017, an additional surcharge is added to the rental rate to include off-road insurance.
If departments fail to authorize and notify motor pool that the University vehicle is being used off-road, they are responsible for paying all fees and damages to repair the vehicle that is not authorized to be used off-road.
Damage investigations and final assessment of damages for off-road use of motor pool vehicles are made by Risk Management Services and Motor Pool.
Drivers must follow department or Motor Pool policies for reporting vehicle mechanical problems and arranging for service repairs or maintenance. See BPPM 95.35 for Motor Pool policies.
- Vehicle Appearance
Drivers must maintain the cleanliness and good appearance of motor vehicles.
See SPPM 7.20.
Safety is a priority when driving a University-owned, privately- owned, or commercially-leased/rented vehicle. To promote safety, all drivers must comply with the following requirements.
Drivers must not use tobacco products in University vehicles. EXCEPTION: Drivers may use tobacco products in privately-owned vehicles used on official University business if otherwise lawful.
Drivers must not drive while under the influence of intoxicating beverages, drugs, or any other impairing substances.
Drivers must not transport alcohol/intoxicating substances in University vehicles unless transporting such substances is within the scope of the driver’s official job duties.
EXCEPTION: Drivers may transport alcohol/intoxicating substances in privately-owned vehicles used on official University business if otherwise lawful.
Firearms, Weapons, or Explosives
Drivers must not transport firearms, weapons, or explosives (concealed or otherwise) unless the transportation of such devices is in accordance with performance of official University business.
EXCEPTION: Drivers may transport firearms, weapons, or explosives in privately-owned vehicles used on official University business if otherwise lawful.
Radar or Speed Detecting Devices
Drivers must not use radar or speed detecting devices in University vehicles.
EXCEPTION: Drivers may use radar or speed detecting devices in privately-owned vehicles used on official University business if otherwise lawful.
Hand-Held Electronic and Communication Devices
Subject to the limitations below, a driver is to avoid the use of electronic devices while operating a University vehicle. Electronic devices include but are not limited to cellular telephones, portable video/music players, and GPS navigation devices.
Except as provided below, drivers are prohibited from operating a moving motor vehicle while holding a wireless communication device to his or her ear. (RCW 46.61.667)
Drivers must not send, read, or write text messages while driving. (RCW 46.61.668)
Drivers may use electronic and hand-held communication devices in hands-free mode. Hands-free mode is defined as the use of a hand-held communication device with a speaker phone, headset, or earpiece. (RCW 46.61.667)
Except for occasional use with a communication device in hands-free mode, drivers must avoid the use of ear phones/buds. Such use could prevent drivers from hearing warnings of hazardous situations.
Drivers may operate moving motor vehicles while using hearing aid devices. (RCW 46.61.667(2)(d))
Drivers may use hand-held communication devices while driving under the following circumstances only:
- When operating an authorized emergency vehicle or tow truck responding to a disabled vehicle.
- To report illegal activity.
- To summon medical or other emergency help.
- To prevent injury to a person or property.
Drivers must safely organize and store equipment/supplies in the vehicle so they are secure in the event of a sudden stop.
Drivers must select well-lit, safe areas, for parking University vehicles, if possible. Place valuable equipment out of view and lock the vehicle when unattended.
Minimize Driver Fatigue
Drivers must minimize driver fatigue on long trips by taking appropriate breaks and/or sharing driving with other authorized drivers.
- Overnight or Outside Local Area
It is recommended that travelers engage at least two authorized drivers for overnight trips or trips out of the local area. Local area is defined as the area within a 150 mile radius of the work location.
- Hours of the Day
Drivers should limit driving and travel to the hours between 6:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight.
- Total Driving Time
Total combined driving time for all drivers in a vehicle in a single day must not exceed ten hours.
Maximum Passenger Capacity
Drivers must not exceed the maximum passenger capacity for which the vehicle was originally manufactured.
Drivers must adhere to posted speed limits.
Each University department with one or more assigned or owned vehicles must establish a preventive maintenance program for each vehicle.
- WSU Pullman Vehicles
All departmental vehicles at the Pullman campus must be delivered to Motor Pool for preventive maintenance services and emission control inspections. WSU Pullman departments must also have emissions testing and annual safety inspections conducted by Motor Pool for each vehicle. See BPPM 95.35 for more information.
Required Items in All Vehicles
Departments must maintain the items listed below in each vehicle’s glove compartment:
- Vehicle Registration
- Motor vehicle accident procedures (see SPPM 7.20)
- Operator’s Responsibilities handout
- Emergency and Post-Accident Guidelines handout
- State of Washington Employee Vehicle Collision Report (SF-137)
Obtain the form (SF-137) from the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (DES) website at:
Click on the State Driver Vehicle Collision Report link.
- Proof of Liability Insurance Certificate for State Vehicles
Obtain the proof of liability from the Washington State DES website at:
- Driving Program Sticker
Departments must affix a “WSU How’s My Driving?” program sticker to the left rear of each University-owned vehicle. Stickers are available from Risk Management Services.
- Internal Self-Insurance for Vehicle Repairs
WSU maintains an internal self-insurance fund, the Vehicle Accident Loss Reserve Fund, for repair of University vehicles for which departments pay premiums.
The department that owns the vehicle pays the annual premiums. Risk Management Services collects and deposits annual premiums submitted by departments into the fund.
Money from the fund is used to pay for repairs to covered University vehicles damaged in accidents and the administrative costs of processing vehicle-related claims. Coverage includes department reimbursement for towing or recovery involving distances up to 100 miles for University vehicles damaged in accidents. The fund does not pay for vehicle damage resulting from maintenance or related repairs, gross negligence, abuse, or neglect.
Contact Risk Management Services for the current self-insurance premiums. Risk Management Services periodically reviews and adjusts the premium as required.
- Self-Insurance Liability Program (SILP) for Vehicle Tort Claims
The state’s Department of enterprise Services, Office of Risk Management Division (ORM) administers the Self-Insurance Liability Fund (SILP). The SILP covers liability claims against state employees who are operating vehicles in good faith in performance of their official state duties. The state ORM:
- Assigns claims for investigation, coordinates their defense, approves settlements, and pays covered state agency tort claims from the Self-Insurance Liability Fund.
- Administers the Washington Self-Insurance Liability Program fund.
- Provides auto liability coverage for state owned and rented vehicles driven on state business in the United States and Canada.
- Provides excess liability insurance coverage on behalf of state for employees who drive personally owned vehicles on state business whose private auto insurance liability coverage is insufficient to cover damages paid to third parties.
- Assigns most vehicle claims for investigation and resolution to the ORM or to the Tort Claims Division of the Attorney General’s Office.
- Makes all tort claim payments for third party injuries and damages.
The Self-Insurance Liability Fund (SILP) does not provide uninsured or underinsured coverage for a state employee who is injured while in a state vehicle. The SILP does not pay for insurance deductibles or damage to a state employee’s personal vehicle.
See BPPM 95.12 for more information regarding the University’s rental car policies and procedures.
- State Contract Rentals
Travel Services administers the state rental car contracts for WSU.
State rental car contracts generally provide liability and loss damage waiver insurance coverage under the contract base rate. Loss damage waiver (LDW) coverage provided under the base rate includes:
- Third party liability insurance coverage for payments made to other parties who sustain injury or property damage as a result of an accident caused by a state driver authorized to operate a rental vehicle.
- Repair costs for the rental vehicle.
Consult the rental contract agreements for any restrictions (i.e., age, in the case of student drivers).
- Non-State Contract Rentals
Departments may obtain loss damage waiver (LDW) coverage for non-contract rental cars by placing the vehicle rentals on a University Travel Charge Card (see BPPM 95.03).
For more information, see the Travel Services website at:
The department determines whether or not to purchase loss damage waiver coverage when renting a vehicle that is not included under the state’s rental contract.
If the department does not obtain liability coverage for a rental vehicle, the Washington Self-Insurance Liability Fund provides excess coverage for third party liability claims, but will not cover damage to the vehicle. The department is responsible for all repair costs for a rental vehicle if loss damage waiver coverage is not acquired on the vehicle.
Privately-Owned Vehicles (POVs)
Authorized drivers of privately-owned vehicles (POVs) used for official University business are required to comply with the State of Washington mandatory liability insurance requirements as defined in RCW 46.29 and RCW 46.30. See also BPPM 95.11.
A driver of a privately-owned vehicle involved in an accident while on official University business may be covered by his or her private insurance policy. This insurance policy is considered “primary” for payment of all losses and/or recoveries arising from an accident while driving a privately-owned vehicle. The cost of insurance is considered to be covered by state’s mileage reimbursement rate. NOTE: The state does not reimburse state drivers for insurance deductibles.
The Washington Self-Insurance Liability Fund acts as an “excess policy” in the event third party liability limits of the private insurance policy are exhausted. The Fund does not pay for damage to a privately-owned vehicle. Under certain circumstances, the state may assist in the defense and settlement of liability claims, including possible lawsuit defense, if warranted and allowed under law.
The Office of the Attorney General may represent the University driver if a lawsuit is filed against a University driver who was in good faith operating the vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties.
In addition to the requirements for the use of all vehicles driven for official University business (see Departmental Drivers), the following requirements apply to the use of full-size passenger vans.
Reduce seating in University-owned full-size passenger vans to eight passenger seat positions. Restrict commercially-leased or rented vans to eight passengers.
NOTE: Mini-vans are excluded from full-size van requirements.
Commuter Ride-Sharing Program
The commuter ride-sharing program (van pool program) is permitted to use 12- and 15-passenger full-size vans with the original number of seats. The commuters must pay the program’s prorated capital depreciation and operational expenses, including a business auto liability policy.
At the initial driving assignment and prior to van operation, department managers, supervisors, or assigned staff personnel must complete the steps below:
- Review the driver’s driving abstract against the minimum driving record standard (see Van Driver Requirements) for items that prohibit a prospective driver from driving a van.
The department manager, supervisor, or assigned staff person must attach the most current driving abstract and proof of insurance to the Full-Size Van Driver Valid License to Drive and Driving Experience Statement.
- Visually verify that the birth date on the license indicates that the driver is at least 21 years of age.
- Obtain verbal verification from the driver that he or she has at least five years of driving experience.
- Inform the driver that policy requires him or her to notify manager or supervisor the following business day after any existing or new conviction, revocation, suspension, or moving violation as set forth in the minimum driving record standard. (See Van Driver Requirements.)
- Require the driver to review all van safety education information prior to her or his initial van assignment. (See Van Driver Safety Education.)
Require the driver to review all van safety education information every two years.
Van Driver Required Documentation
The department manager, supervisor, or assigned staff person must have each University full-size van driver sign the following documents at the time of his or her initial passenger van driving assignment.
- Full-Size Van Driver Safe Driving Practices Acknowledgment Statement.
- Full-Size Van Driver Valid License to Drive and Driving Experience Statement.
The department manager, supervisor, or assigned staff person must sign the manager/supervisor responsibilities checklist portion of the Full-Size Van Driver Valid License to Drive and Driving Experience Statement form.
Risk Management Services recommends that the department print these documents back to back on a single sheet. The department is to retain these documents in accordance with applicable records retention requirements (see BPPM 90.01).
Participants in the commuter ride-sharing program must have a WSU Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability form on file with the campus motor pool office.
To obtain copies of the release of liability form, see the Risk Management Services website at:
Select Liability Releases.
Department managers, supervisors, or assigned staff personnel must provide initial safety education information to drivers prior to van operation. Van safety information must include:
- Review of this safety policy and procedure (SPPM 7.10)
- Review of the Reducing the Risk of Rollover Crashes in Passenger Vans.
- Review of Alert! Passenger Van Drivers hangtag.
- Review of information in one of the following:
Full-Size Van Safety References and Tips
The Washington DES Loss Prevention Requirements for Van Safety website at:
- Review of information at one of the following National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) websites:
- Van Safety Training Course
Risk Management Services highly recommends that all van drivers complete a van safety training course.
Human Resource Services (HRS) conducts the University’s van driver training sessions. To register to attend a training session, go to the HRS Employees Training and Development website, at:
Commuters must have completed the Van Safety Training Course prior to their initial assignment to drive a full-size passenger van. (See Van Safety Training Course.)
In addition to the requirements for all drivers (see Requirements For All Drivers), any person driving a University full-size passenger or cargo van must meet all of the following additional criteria:
- Be at least 21 years of age.
- Have at least five years of driving experience.
- Possess a valid driver’s license and proof of personal automobile insurance policy.
- Meet the minimum driving record standard.
Driving Record and Insurance
A full-size passenger van driver must provide a copy of his or her driving abstract or record and proof of a personal automobile insurance policy to the authorizing manager, supervisor, or assigned staff person prior to his or her initial driving assignment. A driving abstract is defined as a record or abstract of all violations obtained from the driver’s issuing state’s department of licensing or similar agency.
Minimum Driving Record Standard
A person who had any of the events listed below occur within the past three years is ineligible to be a University van driver:
- Suspension/revocation of license
- Negligent or reckless driving conviction
- Hit and run conviction
- Conviction for leaving the scene of an accident
- Conviction for failure to appear in court
- Conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances
- Vehicle-related felony conviction
- Criminal determination as “at fault” in an accident
Additionally, a driver may not have more than three other moving violations of any type in the past three years.
The driver must inform the University the next business day after any existing or new conviction, revocation, suspension, or moving violation as described above.
In addition to the items required in all vehicles, a department must maintain the following driver safety awareness documents in conspicuous locations in all departmental full-size vans:
Print the PDF master of the Reducing the Risk of Rollover Crashes in Passenger Vans handout, or contact Risk Management Services to obtain visor stickers; telephone 509-335-6893.
Print, fold, and cut the PDF master of the Alert! Passenger Van Drivers hangtag as indicated.
Risk Management Services also provides these documents upon request.
Risk Management Services maintains a list of all approved exceptions to this section.