Section: Administrative Operations
I. PURPOSE AND SCOPE
This document outlines procedures to be used in operating a responsive fleet management service to support the mission of the University of Houston. Emphasis is placed on providing professional customer service, efficient economical solutions to transportation and maintenance issues, and efficient use of the university vehicle fleet. Additionally, this plan formally establishes fleet policies and procedures required to increase vehicle use, reduce fleet maintenance expense, and improve the overall operating efficiency of the University's fleet.
This document is consistent with State of Texas Government Code §2171.1045, Restrictions on Assignment of Vehicles, and other applicable requirements established by the State Council on Competitive Government and the Office of Vehicle Fleet Management (OVFM) within the Texas General Services Commission (GSC).
The university strives to manage its vehicle fleet in the most effective and efficient manner possible, consistent with the university's mission, state and federal regulations, and university policies and procedures.
The university's Fleet Manager will serve as a point of contact for all fleet management responsibilities.
A. Cap: The limit of licensed fleet vehicles at an institution, governed by OVFM. Approval must be granted by OVFM prior to increasing the university's fleet cap or penalties may occur.
B. Fleet Manager: A person, designated by the university, responsible for planning, directing, managing, coordinating and supervising programs for the acquisition, assignment, utilization, maintenance, replacement and disposal of fleet vehicles. Also responsible for ensuring that basic preventative maintenance and repairs are performed and repair history is documented.
C. Fleet Vehicle: Fleet vehicles governed by this policy are road licensed vehicles owned or leased by the University. This includes the electric and gasoline utility vehicles used by many departments.
D. Pool Vehicle: A light duty on road or off road vehicle (car, van, atv, cart or pickup with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) under 8,601 pounds), not assigned to an employee or law enforcement/emergency service, suitable for providing basic transportation to any authorized driver.
E. Vehicle Operator: A person authorized by the university, in writing, to drive university vehicles while on official business.
F. Department Vehicle Custodian: A person assigned by the head of the department to act as the single point of contact for the Fleet Manager and Auto Shop Supervisor. The Vehicle Custodian will be the initial contact for all vehicle maintenance and reporting for that department.
IV. FLEET MANAGEMENT AND STRUCTURE
A. The Director for Risk Management is responsible for setting minimum driver acceptability criteria for all employees using vehicles regularly as part of their job and for those who may occasionally drive a vehicle in work-related activities.
1. Screening potential new drivers through the Texas Department of Public Safety for driving violations and license status annually, and coordinate actions if individuals do not meet the university's acceptability criteria.
2. Acquisition of appropriate insurance.
3. Working with appropriate university departments to provide for alcohol and controlled substance testing for those positions requiring the possession of a class "A" Commercial Driver License.
B. The Fleet Manager has overall responsibility for planning, coordinating, implementing, and enforcing the fleet management plan. Specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
1. Serving as the primary point of contact with OVFM, reporting vehicle use data, responding to queries about the university's fleet and fleet cap, preparing waiver requests, and ensuring compliance with statewide fleet management vehicle reporting and policies and procedures as they relate to the university, including staying current with software need as required by OVFM;
2. Collecting and entering vehicle and vehicle use information into the vehicle fleet database monthly;
3. Coordinating fleet vehicle purchases and replacement, maintenance and repair, vehicle assignments and utilization, and vehicle disposal;
4. Reviewing vehicle acquisitions and their funding sources;
5. Reviewing reported inappropriate use of state vehicles and supporting vehicle policy violation investigations;
6. Coordinating fleet management efforts associated with the department with Vehicle Custodian and the Purchasing Department; and
7. Investigating accidents and assisting with the processing of insurance claims;
8. Coordinating the distribution of vehicle insurance cards to department heads;
9. Developing and/or assisting with vehicle-related training programs;
10. Keeping informed regarding industry "best practices" and implementing such practices, where appropriate;
11. Tracking and maintaining current status for all licensed vehicle State Vehicle Registrations. This includes coordinating with the Auto Shop supervisor for the completion of the State Vehicle Inspection report prior to the vehicle registration date.
12. Overseeing all bulk fueling facilities on the university campus; these responsibilities include but are not limited to:
a. Purchasing fuel for both bulk fuel storage areas,
b. Monitoring and maintaining appropriate fuel levels in all storage tanks,
c. Maintain all licenses associated with operating a fueling facility, and
d. Coordinating with Department of Environmental Health and Life Safety for all necessary annual testing, monitoring, and certification required to comply with state regulations for "Fuel Storage Tanks."
C. The Automotive and Fleet Management Department is responsible for scheduling and providing routine maintenance for all fleet vehicles, including but not limited to:
1. Performing basic maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotations/replacements, tune-ups, etc. Additional complex maintenance work will flow through the shop as well.
2. The Fleet Manager is responsible for tracking and coordinating warranty repairs in addition to maintenance agreements for outside repair in conjunction with the Purchasing Department.
3. All university vehicles are to be maintained by the University Automotive and Fleet Management Department whether a safety issue or not. Any work that is unable to be performed at the Automotive and Fleet Management Department Shop will be coordinated through the shop and approved by the Fleet Manager prior to that work being performed. The department will be responsible for all costs related to damages and repairs of each vehicle.
D. Departments with owned or leased vehicle assignments outside of the Fleet Reporting System are responsible for controlling the use of the vehicle(s) to meet all university policies and procedures in addition, but not limited, to the following:
1. Ensuring vehicles are maintained in a clean, safe and serviceable condition and reporting vehicle malfunctions to the vehicle maintenance shop; and ensuring that vehicles are locked and secured when not in use.
2. Investigating misuse and damage of vehicles; and
3. Recommending and/or taking corrective action, which may result in the loss of authorized driver status and disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
E. Vehicle operators are responsible for using university owned, rented or leased vehicles for official purposes only, as well as:
1. Complying with the no smoking policy while in the vehicle;
2. Requiring all drivers and passengers use proper vehicle safety devices when inside the vehicle; this includes utilities carts when seat belts are provided;
3. Identifying, documenting, and reporting all mechanical discrepancies to appropriate supervisors or the Automotive and Fleet Management Department for prompt repairs;
4. Ensuring all cargo is properly loaded and secured prior to moving the vehicle;
5. Submitting copies of all fuel purchases and maintenance obtained off campus to the Fleet Manager;
6. Notifying the direct supervisor and Fleet Manager of any change in their physical limitations or if a significant infraction of civil traffic laws incurred by them; and
7. Reporting all accidents or other losses in accordance with guidelines established by the Risk Management Department.
V. OFFICIAL USE OF VEHICLES
A. As required by state law, fleet vehicles may only be used to conduct official university business. Under no circumstances may a university-owned/leased vehicle be used for personal convenience or to conduct private business. Personnel authorized to use vehicles for domicile-to-duty authority must not use these vehicles to conduct personal business in conjunction with official university business or duties.
B. Those employees having emergency or rapid response requirements, such as law enforcement personnel, may be authorized by university management to take a university-owned/leased vehicle to a local dining establishment.
VI. VEHICLE OPERATOR RULES OF CONDUCT
While driving a university vehicle, employees are engaged in an activity that represents the university to the general public. Therefore, all authorized drivers must convey a positive, professional image. To accomplish this, drivers are expected to comply with all applicable state laws and university policies. Failure to comply with the provisions of this section may result is the loss of authorized driver status and disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
VII. VEHICLE USE REPORTS
A. State law requires each driver of a state-owned vehicle to complete a daily report of use on the UH Monthly Vehicle Use Report Form excel spreadsheet available online at http://www.uh.edu/af/universityservices/SurvivalGuide/index.htm. This includes any vehicles that are leased with state funds.
B. The report must show the number of trips, purpose for which the vehicle was used, miles traveled, amount and type of fuel purchased, oil added, passengers carried, and other information as may be required to provide a record of vehicle use and maintenance performed. Receipts for any purchases made for the vehicle by the driver from private sector vendors must be itemized and attached to the UH Monthly Vehicle Use Report Form. The vehicle operator is responsible for reporting these transactions in the manner prescribed by the university to the Fleet Manager.
C. If the vehicle is used by more than one operator during the day, each operator must enter his or her name into the report. If more than one page is required per month, a continuation page may be used.
D. After the close of the reporting period, the vehicle operator will review the report for accuracy and submit the report to the Department Vehicle Custodian. The Department Vehicle Custodian will review the completed Mileage Log and sign in the designated space. This signature dictates that the miles driven and destinations listed on that Mileage Report are appropriate for that operator and vehicle. The Vehicle Custodian will ensure that all off-campus related documents are attached to the Mileage Report. Then the completed report will be sent to the university's Fleet Manager. This report must be submitted no later than the fifth day of the following month. Any information regarding changes in vehicle custodians must be submitted to the Fleet Manager within 5 days of the change.
VIII. VEHICLE USE AND DRIVER AUTHORIZATION
A. A university vehicle may only be driven to accomplish a specific purpose or task for the university. If a university-owned vehicle is not available; the university, at its option, may provide an alternative form of transportation (the use of a pool vehicle) or reimburse an employee for the use of a personally-owned vehicle. Authority to drive a vehicle is restricted to faculty, staff, and students, who have valid driver licenses and are conducting official business for the university. Use is limited to accomplishing academic, research and/or administrative responsibilities of the department involved.
B. To become an authorized driver, a vehicle operator must possess a valid Texas Vehicle Operator's License and submit a Motor Vehicle Record Evaluation Request to the Department of Risk Management to be added to the approved drivers' list. Before being placed on the approved drivers' list, the Department of Risk Management will verify an employee's driving record through the Texas Department of Public Safety or an alternative service provider. The Department of Risk Management is also responsible for conducting an annual driving records check on all approved drivers and providing each vehicle custodian's department contact with a document confirming their drivers' status as authorized or unauthorized.
C. All traffic citations issued to the driver of a university vehicle must be reported to their supervisor. If an authorized driver is convicted of a traffic violation that results in the loss of their Texas Vehicle Operator's License, the driver must notify their supervisor that they have lost their license and are no longer eligible to drive a university vehicle. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Additionally, if the employee's position requires a valid license, failure to maintain an excellent driving record may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
D. To legally operate some heavy-duty university vehicles, state law requires the driver to possess a valid commercial driver's license. Vehicle operators, when driving heavy-duty vehicles, are subject to the provisions of the federally mandated program of Drug and Alcohol Testing for Safety Sensitive Positions Requiring a Commercial Driver's License. Failure to comply with the provisions of this program may result in the loss of authorized driver status and disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
IX. HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES
A. High profile vehicles are vehicles with a high center of gravity, including pick-up trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles. They are a particular safety concern because they are more susceptible to rollover accidents than most vehicles.
B. All drivers of high profile vehicles must successfully complete the safety course for high profile vehicles available at Environmental Health and Life Safety's web site at https://uh.edu/ehs/commons/safety-training/.
C. Due to increased insurance requirements and safety concerns, the use, purchase, lease or rental of 15-passenger vans for university business is prohibited. Minivans, SUVs and buses are still options for official University purposes.
X. ACQUISITION AND USE
A. Fleet Cap: If the purchase of a vehicle exceeds the university's fleet cap, the cap must be increased by OVFM prior to the purchase of the vehicle. In accordance with OVFM, the fleet manager will coordinate this process.
B. Alternative Fuel Program: The U.S. Department of Energy requires all vehicles purchased or leased by the university to be capable of using an alternative fuel. Alternate fuel vehicles reduce the dependency on imported oil by utilizing other fuels such as ethanol (E85), compressed natural gas, liquefied propane gas, hybrid electricity and gas, or electricity. The Fleet Manager will assist the department to assure that a new vehicle meets these federal requirements.
C. Vehicle Purchase-Replacement Request Form: A department wishing to purchase and/or lease a new vehicle will prepare and submit a Vehicle Purchase-Replacement Request form for each vehicle to the Fleet Manager. The justification must include, as a minimum, the following information:
1. Description of the primary purpose of the vehicle, such as transportation, education, or research; and
2. Total number of licensed and off-road vehicles currently assigned for department use; and
3. Type of vehicle and modification required to that vehicle; and
4. Estimated number of passengers to be transported daily; and
5. Estimated pounds of cargo to be transported daily; and
6. Estimated monthly mileage; and
7. Source of funding; and
8. If the new vehicle is a replacement for an existing vehicle, the department must identify that vehicle.
D. Vehicle Leasing and Rental Requirements: Vehicles may be leased or rented from outside sources when there are no appropriate vehicles available from the pool. A department wishing to rent or lease a vehicle will make arrangements within their department and notify the Fleet Manager. The department is also responsible for arranging insurance coverage for leased vehicles through the university's Risk Management Department. The optional liability and physical damage coverage must be purchased for leases under 30 days or from the car rental company for all rented vehicles. Any lease/rental of more than 30 days must be coordinated through The Automotive and Fleet Management Department prior to entering into the lease/rental. Any fleet contracts for vehicle-related rentals/leases must be coordinated and approved by the Fleet Manager.
E. Use of Personally-Owned Vehicles: Whenever possible, employees should use vehicles assigned to their department, rent a vehicle through their department, or arrange to use a pool vehicle. When personal vehicles are used for university business, a Travel Request must be submitted and approved in advance, and the employee will be reimbursed per the state's mileage reimbursement rate. The reimbursement rate takes into account fuel cost, wear and tear on the vehicle, maintenance and insurance expenses.
F. Purchasing Department Responsibilities: This department has responsibility for procuring all university-owned and leased vehicles in accordance with applicable state and university procurement requirements. No procurement actions will be taken without prior written authorization of the Fleet Manager. All vehicles must be delivered to the Fleet Manager or Vehicle Maintenance Shop before the department takes possession.
G. Exceptions: Law enforcement vehicles, vehicles purchased with non-appropriated funds, and vehicles with a manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 8,600 pounds are exempt from the requirements of the state's plan. All vehicles, regardless of funding source used to acquire them, are subject to the reporting and conversion requirements addressed in this document.
H. Replacement Criteria: Vehicles purchased with appropriated funds and with a manufacturer's GVWR of less than 8,600 pounds will be replaced using the following criteria:
STATE FLEET REPLACEMENT GOALS
Sedans and Wagons
Staff or Client Transport
10 years / 100,000 miles
Light Trucks and SUVs
Basic Transport, Light Hauling
10 years / 150,000 miles
Staff or Client Transport
10 years / 200,000 miles
10 years / 100,000 miles
University Police Department
6 years / 150,000 miles
University Police Department
Investigations and Administration
8 years / 100,000 miles
University Police Department
10 years / 125,000 miles
I. State Mandate Mileage Requirements: Departments with vehicles that do not meet the minimum use criteria of 11,000 annual miles established by the state will be required to submit a detailed written justification to the Fleet Manager. Vehicles may be designated as excess and subject to disposal from the fleet unless a lifetime or temporary exemption has been permitted through OVFM. The Fleet Manager will apply for such exemptions on the university's behalf.
J. Titles and Registration: All original vehicle titles and registration receipts will be acquired and maintained by the Property Management Department.
K. Due to increased insurance requirements and safety concerns, the use, purchase, lease or rental of 15-passenger vans is prohibited. Minivans, SUVs and buses are still options for official University purposes.
XI. VEHICLE CONSOLIDATION AND ASSIGNMENT (see §2171.1045, Restrictions on Assignment of Vehicles)
A. The university's motor pool will consist of all vehicles that have been purchased with state-appropriated funds and that are not otherwise assigned to an employee or individual. The university will identify opportunities for reduction or consolidation (when logical).
B. Pooled vehicles will be available for check out on an as-needed basis by those individuals with a valid Texas driver license and who are currently employed by the university and have been cleared in accordance with applicable policies regarding motor vehicle record evaluations.
C. A vehicle may be assigned to an individual administrator or executive employee only if the university makes a written documented finding that the assignment is critical to the needs and mission of the university and the finding is presented, in writing, to OVFM (via the Fleet Manager) as assignments occur. The documentation will include vehicle identification number, license plate number, year, make and model; the name and position of the individual to whom it is assigned; and the reason the assignment is deemed critical to the needs and mission of the university.
XII. VEHICLE FUELING REQUIREMENTS
All university vehicles will utilize the campus fueling facility or the appropriate fuel card when travelling range precludes refueling on campus. Under state contract, the university is able to bulk purchase gasoline at below retail prices. Unless specifically prohibited by manufacturer's warranty or recommendations, all university vehicles operating on gasoline shall use regular unleaded fuel. The use of University Fuel stations for the purpose of fueling personal vehicles and/or equipment is prohibited and will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
The Risk Management Department purchases liability insurance from private sources for all owned and leased vehicles and physical damage insurance when requested by the responsible department. Requests to have vehicles added, removed, or receive coverage from this insurance policy are to be sent to the Fleet Manager. Current insurance ID cards must be stored in all vehicles.
XIV. REPORTING ACCIDENTS AND MISUSE
A. All vehicle accidents should be reported to the employee's direct supervisor; the direct supervisor should contact the Fleet Manager and the Risk Management Department. Vehicles involved in accidents shall be promptly removed from service and delivered to the vehicle maintenance shop for repair estimates and/or repairs. A copy of the completed repair work order shall be forwarded to the Fleet Manager for inclusion in the accident case file. All repairs will be submitted to OVFM.
B. University personnel have an obligation to report suspected cases of vehicle misuse to their immediate supervisor. The supervisor, in turn, will notify the Fleet Manager and other appropriate university officials in accordance with the Fraud, Waste and Abuse Program.
XV. EXCESS VEHICLES
Vehicles declared as excess by departments will be turned into the Fleet Manager, along with the completed Authorization to Move or Transfer Furniture and Equipment Form available on the Property Management web site at https://uh.edu/office-of-finance/accounting-services/property-management/surplus-property-and-warehouse/ and a completed Vehicle Purchase and Replacement Request Form for vehicle disposal action. Vehicles will be sold by advertisement to other eligible state entities, sealed bid, auction or through other approved surplus property disposal processes.
Property Management will coordinate these reassignment or disposal transaction(s). Appropriate reports will be filed with OVFM if necessary by the Fleet Manager.
Last Reviewed/Revised: 02/24/2020
Responsible Office(s): Facilities/Construction Management