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Vehicle Use Policy

Vehicle Use Policy

Authority: 
Business Affairs and University Services
Date enacted or revised: 
Revised January 12, 2015; Revised January 11, 2016
Purpose
 
The purpose of this policy is to provide employees with information about policies, procedures, and responsibilities related to the use and operation of University owned vehicles, rented vehicles, and personal vehicles in conducting University business, including Policy and Procedure Memorandum 49.

Policy and Procedure Memorandum 49
 
By State law, McNeese State University, like other State Agencies, must comply with PPM 49, the State’s mandatory travel regulations.  In accordance with Louisiana Revised Statute 39:231B, the Commissioner of Administration prescribes the conditions under which State employees may travel, and the Commissioner amends PPM 49 annually.  Policy changes become effective on July 1 of each year.  PPM 49 is considered official McNeese State University policy, and employees are expected to abide by its provisions.  Employees may obtain updated regulations from the Office of Administrative Accounting or from the Division of Administration website at http://www.doa.la.gov/Pages/osp/Travel/Index.aspx
 
This MSU policy, relevant portions of the MSU Travel Policy and PPM 49, together, should be considered McNeese State University’s Official Vehicle Use Policy.  In any case where McNeese policy and PPM 49 conflict, PPM 49 prevails.

General

When conducting University business, employees and other approved University representatives may, where appropriate, use University owned vehicles, State contracted rental vehicles, or personally owned vehicles.
 
Regardless of whether an employee or approved representative chooses to use a University owned vehicle, a State contracted rental vehicle, or his/her personally owned vehicle, the following operational requirements must be followed:
 
  • All drivers must have attended a Louisiana Defensive Driving Course within the past 3 years and must have a satisfactory driving record.
  • Drivers must have a current State of Louisiana Driver Authorization Form on file.  The Driver Authorization Form must be completed and approved annually.
  • No traveler may operate a vehicle without having in his/her possession a valid and appropriate driver’s license. Employees may operate only those vehicles for which they are licensed.
  • No vehicle may be operated in violation of state or local laws.
  • Vehicles shall not, under any circumstance, be operated by persons under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.   
  • Safety restraints shall be used by the vehicle driver and all passengers. 
  • Texting while driving is strictly prohibited.
  • Unauthorized persons may not drive or ride in a vehicle on official University business. 
  • Authorized non-employees, whether driving or riding, must sign a State of Louisiana-Office of Risk Management Hold Harmless Agreement acknowledging that neither the University nor the State of Louisiana assumes any liability for any loss, injury or death resulting from the University business travel.  Copies of this agreement may be obtained from the Physical Plant Office. Students who routinely travel for sports, debate team, SGA, SUB, etc. may sign one indemnification form for the fiscal year, but the agreement must be renewed at the beginning of each new academic year.
  • Use of cell phones while operating a vehicle on University business is strongly discouraged. If an employee must use a cell phone to receive or make a call, the employee is advised to pull over and stop the vehicle at a safe location before using a cell phone.
  • In case of accident, the following must be performed:
    • All major or minor accidents shall be reported first to the local police department where the accident has occurred or other appropriate law enforcement agency.
    • After notifying local police, the vehicle driver shall then notify his/her immediate supervisor and the MSU Physical Plant Office.
    • The official State Accident Report (Form DA 2041) shall be completed as soon as possible.  The form and the names and addresses of witnesses should be submitted to the MSU Deputy Chief/Safety Officer to be forwarded to the State Office of Risk Management (ORM) within 48 hours of the time of the accident.  A Form DA 2041 may be located in each University owned vehicle glove compartment.
  • See PPM 49 for additional and more specific requirements.

University Owned Vehicles

University owned vehicles are available to employees and appropriately approved volunteers for official University business purposes only. The Physical Plant Office manages the University fleet of University owned vehicles.
Certain rules, regulations, and responsibilities accompany the reserving and use of University owned vehicles, and they are as follows:

University Owned Vehicle Reservation, Check-out, and Return Procedures

  • Employees may tentatively reserve a University owned vehicle by telephoning the Physical Plant; however, employees must submit a fully completed Request to Travel Form, including all appropriate approvals, to the Physical Plant Office before a vehicle will be released to the employee.  Employees must present their appropriate driver’s license to take possession of a vehicle.
  • University owned vehicles are furnished with a vehicle log.  As required by State regulations, employees who are issued a vehicle must fully complete the vehicle log when they return the vehicle to the Physical Plant Office.  Should an employee not complete the vehicle log as required, the employee’s supervisor will be notified by email with copy to the appropriate vice president for consideration of disciplinary action.
  • Employees who are issued a vehicle are responsible for returning the vehicle to the Physical Plant Office parking lot at the designated time   Should an employee not appropriately return the vehicle, the employee’s immediate supervisor will be notified by email with copy to the appropriate vice president for consideration of disciplinary action.
  • The keys, credit cards, credit card receipts, etc. must be returned to the Facilities Office when the vehicle is dropped off. For convenience of travelers, a drop box is provided at the front entrance of the Facilities Office for vehicle returns that are after business hours.
  • If a scheduled trip is canceled and a reserved vehicle is no longer required, the reserving employee is responsible for informing the Physical Plant Office as soon as possible, and barring extenuating circumstances, no later than 12 hours prior to the scheduled departure.  This notification is necessary to allow other employees use of the vehicle.

University Owned Vehicle Operational and Other Requirements (see PPM 49 for additional specifics and requirements)

  • University-owned vehicles may only be used by MSU employees and University Volunteers appropriately approved in accordance with the MSU University Volunteer Policy.
  • University-owned vehicles may not be used for personal use.
  • Travelers shall make use of all fleet discount allowances and State bulk purchasing contracts where applicable.
  • University owned vehicles are supplied with two gasoline credit cards and the following must be followed when using University supplied gasoline credit cards:
    • The credit card user should only purchase regular unleaded gasoline.
    • Original receipts should be retained, and the receipts must be presented to the Physical Plant Office upon completion of travel.  The credit card user should write the vehicle license number on the receipt.
    • Incidental vehicle expenses:
      • When necessary, motor oil, tires, wiper blades, and various fluids for the protection and safe operation of the vehicle may be purchased with the supplied gasoline credit cards.
      • Travelers in University vehicles who purchase needed repairs and equipment while on travel status shall make use of all fleet discount allowances and state bulk purchasing contracts, where applicable. Before making such purchases, travelers should contact the Purchasing Office to learn of the existence and location of participating vendors.
      • The credit card user must provide a written explanation on the credit card receipt explaining the necessity of the incidental expenses.
      • Food and drink or other personal charges may not, under any circumstance, be purchased with a University gasoline credit card.
  • Unless required by the ADA, animals are prohibited from riding in University owned vehicles.
  • Users of University owned vehicles are expected to exercise reasonable care and to maintain the automobile in neat condition. Smoking or use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is strictly prohibited in all vehicles. Cold drink cans, bottles, paper cups, paper plates, etc. must be removed from the vehicle before it is returned to the Physical Plant Office.  Should an employee return a vehicle in a poor condition, the employee’s immediate supervisor will be notified by email with copy to the appropriate vice president for consideration of disciplinary action.
  • University owned vehicles may not be taken out of the State of Louisiana without the advance written approval of the President.
  • If a University owned vehicle will be used to travel to a destination more than 500 miles from the University, documentation that a University-owned Vehicle is the most cost-effective means of travel should be created  and be readily available for later inspection in the department’s travel reimbursement files. 
  • Louisiana Revised Statute 39:361-364 must be followed if a University-owned vehicle will be brought to a University employee’s home overnight, including written approval from the State Commissioner of Administration.
  • For travelers who are on travel status, but who cannot pay with a University issued gas credit card, may be reimbursed on a dollar for dollar basis by submitting an approved Travel Expense Account form, FACS BA-12, and appropriate supporting expenditure documentation to Administrative Accounting.

Rented Vehicles

For travel exceeding 99 miles, round trip, the State Division of Administration encourages the use of rented vehicles when University-owned vehicles are not available.  The State of Louisiana has negotiated and contracted with certain private vehicle rental companies for in-State and out-of-State travel.  MSU travelers are required to use the contracted vehicle rental companies where they are available.  See PPM 49 for more details.
Before employees may rent a vehicle, the employee must obtain advance written approval from the President or the MSU Assistant Comptroller, the President’s designee.  On a case-by-case basis, frequent travelers may request approval for the entire fiscal year.
With certain limited exceptions, only the cost of a compact or intermediate size models are reimbursable.   See PPM 49 for more details.
Rented vehicles may not be used for personal use.
Vehicle rentals must be paid with the LaCarte Purchasing Card, McNeese’s CBA Account, or by direct billing to McNeese State University.
When using a rented vehicle, employees should purchase regular unleaded gasoline with a University issued LaCarte Purchasing Card or their personal credit card at reasonable cost prior to returning the rental vehicle to the rental company.  Employees using their personal credit card may be reimbursed by submitting a Travel Expense Account form, FACS BA-12 to Administrative Accounting.

State Contracted Rental Companies:

In-State Travel

The State’s current contracted vehicle rental company for in-State travel is Enterprise Rent-A-Car.  The State contracted vehicle rental company is subject to change each fiscal year.  Employees should refer to PPM 49 to verify the current contracted vehicle rental company.

Out-of-State Travel

The State’s contracted car rental companies are currently Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Hertz Car Rental Corporation.  MSU travelers may use their discretion when selecting any of these contracted companies. The contracted vehicle rental companies are subject to change each fiscal year.  Employees should refer to PPM 49 to verify the current contracted vehicle rental companies.

Personally Owned Vehicles

For University business travel 99 miles or less, roundtrip, employees may use their personal vehicle and will be reimbursed for the actual mileage driven at the State per mile reimbursement rate.
For University business travel beyond 99 miles, roundtrip, PPM 49 encourages the use of University owned vehicles or rented vehicles.  Should an employee travel beyond 99 miles and choose to use their personal vehicle, PPM 49 only allows reimbursement up to 99 miles, roundtrip, and the employee will be required to absorb the cost for miles beyond 99 miles.  Certain exemptions apply for exceptional circumstances.  See PPM 49 for details.

Authorized Personnel

Only classified and unclassified University employees, University student employees, University volunteers specifically approved in accordance with the University Volunteer Policy may operate a University vehicle for University business.

Students may not be authorized to drive a University owned or rented vehicle unless they are employed by the University. In addition to being employed by the University, the student must have passed a Louisiana safe driver course and must have been verified as having a satisfactory driving record.

Communication

This policy is distributed via the Academic Advisory Council, the Administrative Advisory Council, the University Listserv, the Student Listserv, University’s web site, and through routine communication between departments.