Use of Official Vehicles

Rev. 09/11

  1. General
    1. Transportation Services
    2. Division Directors' and Department Heads' Responsibilities
  2. Authorized and Unauthorized Uses of Vehicles
    1. Transportation to Residence, Lodging, or Eating Places
    2. Personal Use
    3. Use of Rental Vehicles
    4. Use by Nonemployees
  3. Operator's Liability
    1. Vehicle Costs
    2. Disciplinary Action and Penalties
    3. Public Liability
    4. Traffic Citations
  4. License Requirements
    1. Laboratory-Furnished Standard Vehicles
    2. Laboratory-Furnished Nonstandard Vehicles
    3. Training Courses
    4. License Suspension or Revocation
    5. Required Drug and Alcohol Testing for Certain Classes of Driver
  5. Drivers' Public Driving Records
    1. General Requirements
    2. Coverage
    3. Participation in DMV Notification Process
    4. Notification to Laboratory Employees and Applicants
    5. Response to Information Received from DMV
  6. Suspension or Revocation of Driving Privileges
  7. Vehicle-Use Records
    1. Passenger Vehicles
    2. Nonpassenger Vehicles
  8. Accidents
  9. Painting or Modification of Laboratory Vehicles
    1. General
    2. Painting
    3. Modification or Addition of Accessories
    4. Signs, Logos, or Other Identification


1. Transportation Services

Employees of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are never required to use their personal vehicles for business purposes, and such use is not for the convenience of the Laboratory. The Laboratory Facilities Division provides bus and other transportation services, including vehicles from Fleet Operations for individual and divisional use. Laboratory vehicles are for official use only, i.e., for the performance of Laboratory work and business. Passengers in Laboratory-furnished vehicles must be directly associated with the official University of California (UC) business for which the vehicle is assigned or with other official business of the Laboratory. Bus service is provided around the Laboratory, and to and from the UC Berkeley campus and local Bay Area Rapid Transit locations.

2. Division Directors' and Department Heads' Responsibilities

  1. Each division director and department head is responsible for restricting the use of Laboratory vehicles to official Laboratory business by properly authorized personnel, as described in Paragraph (D), below, and for informing all authorized drivers regarding misuse of such vehicles and personal liability for costs involved in cases of misuse. Copies of RPM §1.05 may be obtained from Fleet Operations for distribution as needed.

  2. Questions concerning any use of an official vehicle should be referred to the Fleet Operations office.


1. Transportation to Residence, Lodging, or Eating Places

  1. Laboratory-furnished vehicles may properly be used for transportation between an individual's place of work, residence, lodging, or eating place only when at least one of the following circumstances exists:

  2. Use of an official vehicle in any of the above circumstances must be authorized by use of Form RL-2749 (Request for Overnight Use of Official Vehicle) or Stock Form 7600-55366 (Request and Authorization for Official Travel).

2. Personal Use

Use of an official vehicle for an employee's personal convenience or benefit constitutes misuse and is prohibited. Misuse includes the following specific examples:

  1. Trips to service stations or repair shops in connection with the servicing or repair of any individual's private car.

  2. While on special assignment or official travel, side trips for meals that involve significant extra time or distance to satisfy a personal preference when other reasonable and adequate eating places are more convenient to the employee's lodging, place of work, or direct route of official travel.

  3. Local stops for personal shopping or other business, even if such stops are on a direct route of travel on an official trip.

  4. Trips within the Laboratory for personal convenience (e.g., to the cafeteria).

3. Use of Rental Vehicles

  1. The restrictions on the use of Laboratory vehicles also apply to rental vehicles used for official business. Because the agreement signed by an individual for rental of a vehicle is a contract between the individual and the rental company, rental vehicles may also be used for personal convenience or business as long as the individual pays for any additional costs for, e.g., mileage, day charges, and insurance fees resulting from personal use.

  2. The University is self-insured for the deductible provision in the collision insurance normally included in rental agreements for vehicles used on official business. If an individual uses a rental vehicle for personal uses, University insurance does not apply. Individuals who wish to use a rental vehicle for personal business should pay the additional fee for full insurance coverage on the vehicle. This fee is not reimbursable by the Laboratory.

4. Use by Non-Employees

  1. Non-employees are normally not authorized to use Laboratory-furnished vehicles. They may be authorized to use Laboratory vehicles, however, when they are engaged in contract work and when it would be economically beneficial to the Laboratory for them to do so. Approval by the responsible division director or department head must be made in writing to the non-employee individual, with copies to Fleet Operations and the Environment, Health, and Safety Division.

  2. Non-employee operators must be licensed as specified in Paragraph (D), below.


1. Vehicle Costs

Operators of Laboratory-furnished vehicles are personally liable for the costs of any damages incurred due to their misuse of such vehicles. Misuse means unauthorized use, use for an improper purpose, gross negligence in the care and operation of an official vehicle, or not adhering to traffic safety regulations.

2. Disciplinary Action and Penalties

Employees who knowingly misuse Laboratory vehicles are subject to disciplinary action such as written reprimand, temporary suspension without pay, or dismissal. They may also be subject to criminal penalties under 18 United States Code §641 that provide for a fine of not more than $10,000, up to 10 years in jail, or both.

3. Public Liability

The use of Laboratory vehicles, including rental vehicles, for unofficial business may expose the driver to public liability in the event of an accident, particularly if the accident is found to be caused by the driver's negligence. If the use of a vehicle is not official or the driver stops en route or deviates from a direct route to conduct personal affairs while on official business, he or she may be found to have departed from the scope of employment. In such a case, the University and the government would disclaim liability, and the driver would be financially responsible.

4. Traffic Citations

Operators of Laboratory-furnished vehicles are personally responsible for the payment of any fines levied by any public law enforcement agency and will receive parking violation points levied as a result of any violation of Laboratory parking regulations, except when the violation is a direct result of a failure of the vehicle and that malfunction was reported immediately to the Laboratory Fleet Office.


1. Laboratory-Furnished Standard Vehicles

All individuals whose duties require them to drive University-owned or government-owned (e.g., DOE or GSA) vehicles must possess a valid license, as specified in the California Vehicle Code. Generally, this means a valid State of California license of the appropriate class. When it is in the interest of Laboratory business, however, a nonresident of California may drive a Laboratory-furnished vehicle if that person meets the requirements of the California Vehicle Code. Non-employees must also have written authorization to drive Laboratory-furnished vehicles as specified in Paragraph (B)(4), above.

2. Laboratory-Furnished Nonstandard Vehicles

Personnel who operate nonstandard vehicles must carry certificates for operation of the specific type of nonstandard vehicles. Training and certification are required before operation of mobile or bridge cranes, earth-moving equipment, and forklift trucks. The Environment, Health, and Safety Division will provide detailed information concerning appropriate certification. Operator certification may be revoked if there is evidence of failure to follow safe operating procedures.

3. Training Courses

All professional drivers and selected incidental drivers must attend training courses, as required by policy or departmental practice.

4. License Suspension or Revocation

If an employee whose duties involve operation of an official vehicle has his or her state driver's license revoked or suspended, the employee must notify his or her supervisor. Division directors or department heads must ensure that no one operates an official vehicle without a valid license (and certification, when required).

5.  Required Drug and Alcohol Testing for Certain Classes of Driver

Drivers holding commercial driver's licenses (classes A and B) and who operate vehicles of 26,001 lbs. gross vehicle weight (GVW) or more, or who operate any vehicle carrying hazardous material for which the vehicle is placarded, will be enrolled in the DOT-mandated Laboratory Driver Drug and Alcohol Testing Program, as specified in RPM §2.23(C)(4) (Substance Abuse in the Workplace). 


1. General Requirements

The California Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act requires employers of drivers of certain types of vehicles to obtain reports of their public driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A public driving record includes incidents occurring while driving on and off the employer's place of business. Under the California Vehicle Code, there are criminal penalties for employing or continuing to employ as drivers those persons who have had disqualifying actions taken against their licenses or certificates.

This law applies to the Laboratory with regard to drivers who (a) drive a vehicle requiring a class A or class B driver's license and (b) must obtain special certificates to drive the following vehicles: ambulances, private school buses, farm labor vehicles, special construction equipment, youth buses, vehicles transporting radioactive materials, vehicles transporting hazardous wastes, and vehicles with tank configurations. Students, unless hired primarily as drivers, and van pool drivers are not included. Vehicle Code §12810.5 also specifies the number of violation points assigned by the DMV that will result in a presumption that a driver is a negligent operator of a motor vehicle.

The Laboratory could be liable if a negligent driver is permitted to continue driving for the Laboratory and is involved in an accident.

2. Coverage

This policy applies to (a) Laboratory employees hired primarily as drivers; (b) any Laboratory employee who, in the course of employment, drives a vehicle requiring a class A or class B driver's license; and (c) any employee who must obtain a special license or certificate to drive any of the vehicles listed above.

Laboratory employees in the following classifications are also covered by this policy:

Title Code Classification
345.0Assistant Fire Chief
345.1Fire Chief
566.2Material Handler (Mailroom)
566.3Material Handler (Mailroom)
644.1Fire Captain
737.1Garage Attendant
738.1Bus Driver
738.2Senior Bus Driver
741.0Health and Safety Technician, Trainee
741.1Health and Safety Technician
741.2Health and Safety Technician, Senior
741.3Health and Safety Technician, Principal
741.4Health and Safety Technical Specialist
741.6Health and Safety Technician, Apprentice
745.1Truck Driver, Light
745.2Truck Driver
745.3Lead Truck Driver

At the discretion of the involved division director or department head and with approval of the Head of the Human Resources Department or designee, additional titles or positions may be covered as required.

3. Participation in DMV Notification Process

  1. The Laboratory has requested and been assigned a Requester Code Number for participation in the DMV Pull Notice System. This system provides the employer with a report showing each driver's current public record and the status of any required driver's certification. The Human Resources Department will initiate individual additions to or deletions from the DMV Pull Notice System.

  2. To protect confidentiality, DMV reports are maintained in a secure location by the Human Resources Department and destroyed once their legitimate use has ended.

  3. Applicants for positions covered by this policy are required to provide a satisfactory current report on the status of their driver's license from the DMV as a condition of employment. No appointment may be made until appropriate documentation from the DMV has been received.

  4. On termination of a driver's employment, the Human Resources Department will notify the DMV to cancel future reports for the individual.

4. Notification to Laboratory Employees and Applicants

  1. Each Laboratory employee covered by the policy will be notified by letter from the Human Resources Department, with a copy to the responsible division director, stating that:

  2. Postings of job vacancies for positions covered by this policy must inform applicants that, as a condition of employment, they are required (1) to provide a satisfactory current report on the status of their public driving record from the DMV and (2) to acknowledge receipt of the letter described in Paragraph (4)(a), above, by dating and signing it and returning it to the Human Resources Department.

5. Response to Information Received from DMV

  1. On receipt of a report of conviction, failure to appear, accident, driver's license suspension, revocation, or other action taken against a Laboratory employee, the Human Resources Department will communicate the nature of the offense to the responsible division director.

  2. The Vehicle Code states that the Laboratory is liable for criminal penalties if, after receiving a driving record, it continues to employ as a driver any person against whom a disqualifying action (suspension or revocation) has been taken regarding his or her driver's license and/or driver's certificate.

  3. The Vehicle Code states that a driver will be presumed to be a negligent operator of a motor vehicle if his or her driving record shows a violation point count of four or more points in 12 months, six or more points in 24 months, or eight or more points in 36 months.

  4. Whenever a report for an employee driver is received indicating that one or more points have been assigned to the employee by the DMV, a written warning (notice of corrective action) may be issued by the responsible manager or supervisor following consultation with the Human Resources Department.

  5. Whenever a report for an employee driver is received indicating that a disqualifying action (suspension or revocation) has been taken regarding his or her driving privilege and/or driver's certificate, or that he or she is presumed by the DMV to be a negligent operator of a motor vehicle based on a violation point count, disciplinary action (up to and including dismissal) may be taken by the responsible department head following consultation with the Human Resources Department.

  6. In addition, whenever a report for an employee driver is received indicating that any other serious driving violation has occurred (even though a disqualifying action has not been taken or the violation point count is not sufficient to cause the driver to be presumed by the DMV to be a negligent operator of a motor vehicle), disciplinary action (up to and including dismissal) may be taken by the responsible department head following consultation with the Human Resources Department.


Individual driving privileges may be refused, revoked, or suspended by the responsible department/division or the Traffic Safety Committee whenever Laboratory policy is violated.


1. Passenger Vehicles

Each use of a passenger vehicle (car or station wagon) will be recorded at the time of use in a vehicle register (sign-out sheet) furnished by Fleet Operations. This applies to vehicles (a) signed out from Fleet Operations or a subpool on a trip or errand basis and (b) assigned for departmental use. These registers show the date, driver's name, operating account number, destination, time, and mileage out and in. Vehicle registers must be sent to Fleet Operations each month. Any exception requires the approval of the Associate Laboratory Director for Operations.

2. Nonpassenger Vehicles

Groups that are assigned nonpassenger vehicles (scooters, trucks, and special purpose) for specified long-term needs will keep any use records required by the Fleet Operations office. These records usually involve monthly mileage only but may require logging of individual uses to verify continuing need for a vehicle in case of low mileage or off-site use. Vehicle-use records (or copies) will be forwarded to the Fleet Operations office when requested.


All accidents involving University-furnished vehicles will be reported as specified in Health and Safety Manual (LBNL/PUB-3000, § (Motor Vehicle Accidents)).


1. General

Federal regulations restrict painting (including lettering and the use of decals or logos), modifying, or adding accessories to government-owned vehicles. Fleet Operations is responsible for determining the need and for obtaining authorization as required. Requests for such authorization should be made through Fleet Operations.

2. Painting

Normal painting of vehicles is only that required for preservation. Justification is required for nonstandard painting.

3. Modification or Addition of Accessories

Fleet Operations will be guided by current regulations as well as overall vehicle fleet use considerations in determining the need for modification or addition of accessories on Laboratory vehicles.

4. Signs, Logos, or Other Identification

Because the public will recognize any identification as representing the Laboratory, the University of California, and DOE, any identification must meet standards of size, design, color, and appropriateness for its specific use. To maintain consistency of such signs, logos, or other identification, plans (including sketches or other descriptive information) must be reviewed by the responsible Laboratory division, which will forward the information to Fleet Operations for appropriate action.

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