The Division of Risk Management and the Fleet Management Agency get many calls about the rules governing use of state vehicles and how the vehicles are insured. Here are some commonly asked questions.
Q: Can my spouse ride in a state vehicle with me in a state vehicle? Can he/she drive if I get tired? Can my spouse ride or drive if he/she is also a state employee on an official business trip? Can our kids come along?
No, no, yes and no. Only authorized persons are allowed in state vehicles; this does not include spouses or children. If your spouse is also a state employee on state business, they can ride with you or drive.
Q: I will be picking up a state vehicle tonight for a trip tomorrow. Is this legal?
Yes, it is legal to pick up the vehicle the night before a trip, as long as it is used for state business only.
Q: My kids’ school is on my way home; may I pick them up in a state vehicle?
No. You may not pick up your kids in a state vehicle, even if it is on your way home.
Q: How are state vehicles insured? What should I show a police officer if I am pulled over?
State vehicles are self-insured for liability under the terms of the Government Immunity Act. Self-insurance certificates are kept in the blue binder which you pick up with the keys.
Q: I’m driving my own vehicle on state business. Does the state pay my collision damages if I get in an accident?
No. The state pays mileage, and this is the state’s only reimbursement for all of your vehicle expenses, including insurance. You are expected to insure your own vehicle according to law and have a current driver’s license. If you are injured in your own car on state business, you should report the injury to your supervisor for Workers’ Compensation purposes.
Foul Weather Safety Tips
Frequently, the most slippery surfaces do not appear to be hazardous, such as on bridges, overpasses and underpasses. Even the moisture emitting from car exhausts waiting at a traffic light can quickly freeze on the pavement and can be especially hazardous.
Temperature extremes bring out the worst in vehicles, like dead batteries, soft tires, gasoline freeze, carburetor problems and heating problems. Check your antifreeze and window washer reservoir periodically.
Stock your car with an emergency kit. Include things like warm clothing, boots, stocking cap, gloves, flashlight with fresh batteries, flares, small shovel, sand or kitty litter, blankets and fresh first-aid supplies that would prepare you for the unexpected. Candy or nutritious snacks are a good idea as well. A supply of small candles and matches can provide warmth for many hours and, with precautions, are much safer than running the engine for warmth.
Inform someone of your travel plans; destination, route of travel, and expected arrival time. Cell phones can be great safety insurance, but you will need to know where you are. Stay alert and know your location at all times.
When roads are slippery, drivers must look farther ahead to anticipate emergencies and avoid the need for sudden maneuvers if possible. Last-second stops and turns on slippery pavements cause most skidding.
Do not attempt to drive around or through a scene where other vehicles have obviously had trouble with the road conditions. The same conditions that caused their trouble may still be there when you arrive, and your becoming stalled will only compound the problem. When there is no room to get through, be prepared to stop.
Vehicle lighting systems become especially important during the winter months. Greater demands are placed on the lighting systems with longer nights and reduced visibility. In addition, electrical systems are environmentally sensitive. Drivers must inspect their lights more frequently during the winter and clean them as necessary.
Proper rest is essential because winter driving is more strenuous. Opening a window while on the road is important for fresh air, and it helps drivers hear what is going on around their vehicles.
No matter what precautions are taken, at times conditions will become too hazardous to proceed. Pull off the road at the first safe place, notify your company of the delay and wait until conditions improve before continuing.
Refueling and Repairs
When refueling, make sure that the station where you stop will honor the gas credit card before you refuel. Even choosing the designated brands listed in the operator’s manual is not always a guarantee that the card will be accepted. ALWAYS ASK. If the card will not be accepted, find another station. Do not pay in cash. Reimbursement from State Fleet Management is difficult and not always successful.
Use fuel card for gas, oil, windshield washer fluid, other fluids and for minor repairs only. If repairs are needed, call the Facilities Services (970.943.3087) or the maintenance garage (970.943.7018) or the afterhours emergency contact (970.901.2268). Most dealerships will accept a state vehicle for repairs. NEVER ABANDON A STATE VEHICLE ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.
Make sure that the credit card is returned to its place in the packet each time you use it. Should the card be lost, please notify us as soon as the vehicle is returned. It takes approximately two weeks for Fleet Management to replace the card, and the vehicle may not be used until the card is replaced. The operator is responsible for the credit cards and lost or willfully damaged cards will be charged to the department at $10.00 each.
To prevent problems on long trips, remember to make the usual under-the-hood inspections that you would with your own vehicle. Whenever you need assistance with a problem on the road, you can call the Facilities Services office 970.943.3087 or the garage 943.7018 or the afterhours emergency contact (970.901.2268).
Weather Conditions and Use of Chains
Assess the road conditions as you approach mountain passes. If you have any doubts about the ability of the van to navigate the pass safely, put the chains on. Every van operator must know how to install the chains. Keep in mind that driving conditions in Colorado can change dramatically from hour to hour during the winter months.
Be cautious of overheating the brakes, particularly when driving in the mountains with loaded vans. Driving too fast down passes in heavily loaded vans can damage the vehicle braking system and cause the driver to lose control. It is best to drive at posted recommended speeds—especially on passes.
Antilock braking systems are different from conventional braking systems.
In case of an accident, read the “Accident Information” in the Operator’s Manual and fill out the accident report form located in the packet. Fill this form out immediately at the scene of the accident. In addition, a police report must be filed with the Colorado State Patrol or local law enforcement agency.
If you are issued a citation in a state vehicle, remember that the citation is the same as it would be in your own vehicle. State license plates DO NOT give you immunity from traffic citations.
Anyone who would like “hands-on” instruction with the vans such as road testing, backing up, etc. is welcome to call and schedule instruction during working hours.
State Garage- Service and Repair Facility
The State Garage at Western Colorado University is located in the Facilities Services buildings on the northwest side of campus. The main function of this facility is to provide service and repairs for various vehicles and equipment used by the campus community. This includes various pieces of grounds equipment, such as lawn mowers, tractors, other turf maintenance equipment, snow removal equipment and various pieces of construction and building maintenance equipment. In addition, we perform service and repairs for other state agencies’ vehicles under the supervision of Colorado State Management.
Short-Term Rental Vehicles
Transportation Services currently maintains a fleet of fourteen 15-passenger vans of which six are rear dual-wheeled. These vehicles are available for use by the University’s Academic and Athletic departments as well as Administration and Staff, for University-related functions and official state business. All vans are equipped with large roof mounted luggage racks and hitches.
Additional passenger vehicles are also available including a Trailblazer, Suburban, Pick-up Truck and a Lift gate Truck.
Who May Drive a State Vehicle?
Drivers of state fleet vehicles must have a valid driver’s license and be over 18 years of age. In addition, they must be driving within the course and scope of their employment at Western Colorado University or be an authorized volunteer acting at the request, for the benefit and under the control of the State of Colorado. To serve as an authorized volunteer, the Authorized Volunteer Form must be completed, signed by both the authorized driver and the supervisor of the trip and be on file at the Facilities Services Office before departure. Student Organizations will not be permitted to use college vehicles unless a faculty or staff member or student employee is driving the vehicle.
Passenger van operators must attend a driver’s training class offered each semester through the office of the Associate VP of Finance and Administration. Anyone who would like additional “hands-on” instruction with the vans such as road testing, backing up, etc is welcome to schedule such instruction by calling 970.943.7018. All other first time operators should arrive at Facilities Services ten minutes prior to their departure time for explanation of the use of the state credit card, vehicle registration, insurance, maintenance, and accident information.
Drivers and passengers represent Western Colorado University while traveling.
CONSUMPTION OR POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES IS ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN IN STATE VEHICLES.
Vehicle Rental Rates:
- Liberty–$.53 per mile
- 15-passenger van– $.53 per mile
- $50 cancellation fee for failure to cancel scheduled vehicles at least 24 hours prior to departure time
- $10 refueling fee for failure to refuel vehicles before returning
- $10 fee for failure to fill out mileage form upon completion of trip.
- A $10 cleaning fee will be assessed for vehicles requiring excessive cleaning
- A charge will be assessed to departments for replacement of missing safety equipment.
- Repairs will be charged to the department when they are found to be the result of obvious abuse or damage beyond what is normally expected during operation.
Reservations should be made as far in advance as possible, and are accepted on a first come, first served basis. To reserve a state vehicle, a Vehicle Request Form must be filled out and sent to Facilities.
Plan your trip with plenty of time to spare in case problems are encountered along the way. If the driver of the vehicle is not performing within the course and scope of his employment at Western Colorado University, an Authorized Volunteer Form must be completed and submitted with the vehicle request.
Presently, the motor pool has no vehicle suitable for off-road travel. The 15-passenger vans and the Suburban are not off-road vehicles and should not be scheduled for such use.
The completed Vehicle Request Form must be approved and signed by the department head signifying that the necessary funds are available and that all potential drivers are listed on the master list (located in the office of the Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration). A vehicle reservation is not confirmed until a completed and approved request form is submitted to the Facilities Services Department.
If you determine that there will be a cancelation, you must notify Transportation Services by email at firstname.lastname@example.org within 24 hours of your departure time (unless the cancelation is due to weather factors). Failure to do this will result in a $50.00 cancelation charge to your account.
Vans may be picked up by the operator(s) assigned to drive the vehicle.
Vehicle keys and operators’ manuals are available at the Facilities Services in the wash bay office during normal business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday) on the day of departure or on Friday afternoon for Saturday and Sunday departures. If the trip is scheduled for an early morning departure before 8 a.m., the vehicle should be picked up the day before. At this time the driver will inspect the vehicle and complete a Vehicle Inspection Form, making note of any damage before leaving and ensure that all safety equipment exists in the van so that he is not held responsible for prior damage or missing items.
Prior to departure, make sure all necessary items are in the vehicle:
Zippered packet is picked up with keys. It contains:
- Gas Card
- Insurance Card
- Mileage Form (Enter beginning mileage before departure.)
- Accident Report
- Fleet Management Operator’s Manual
All Safety equipment listed on the Vehicle Inspection Form
A maximum of 15 passengers is allowed in the vans. DO NOT OVERLOAD! Use of safety restraints is mandatory.
When loading cargo, stay within the racks to load; do not stand on the roof of the van. It can easily be permanently damaged. Repair can be very costly, and the driver of the vehicle will be held responsible.
- A service charge of $10.00 will be assessed to your department if a vehicle has not been refueled before its return.
- Put all trash in the trash bag provided.
- Park vehicle with the other motor pool vehicles west of the maintenance buildings.
- Complete mileage report form and return it with the vehicle keys. If you are returning after the Facilities Services Department is closed, drop the keys and packet in the box at the west end of the building. Please list any problems or comments in the space provided on the mileage report form or call Nickie Thompson 970.943-7119 or the garage 970.943.7018 as soon as possible.