Administrative Regulation 1.22
County Vehicle Policy
Effective Date: July 01, 2014
The purpose of this policy is to define the responsibilities and rules for the use of County vehicles and private vehicles in the conduct of County business.
This regulation is issued pursuant to Chapter 2.08 of the Marin County Code and has been approved by the Board of Supervisors.
Applicability and Purpose
This policy applies to all County elected officials, appointed officers, department heads, employees, and other authorized individuals as specified in this policy. This policy supersedes all previous County vehicle policies and resolutions of the Marin County Board of Supervisors related to these topics and shall become effective July 01, 2014 upon adoption by the Board of Supervisors.
The authority to assign vehicles to departments, authorize reimbursement for the use of private vehicles on County business, and the administration of this policy are the responsibility of the County Administrator or his/her designee, except that it shall be the duty of each department head to carry out and enforce this policy within his/her department.
Any violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination, consistent with County policy.
1.0 Policy and Procedure
This policy will serve as the principle guide for employees, extra hires, volunteers and interns who drive on authorized County business using a personal or County vehicle and who are subject to the rules and regulations detailed herein.
Return to Top
2.0 Responsibility and Accountability
2.1 Authorized Individuals Responsibilities
- Responsible Driving: Each County driver shall drive responsibly, anticipate emergency situations and make every effort to avoid collisions. All employees or other authorized drivers operating a vehicle on County business represent the County of Marin and shall always project a professional and responsible image to the public.
- Distracted Driving: Except as otherwise allowed by law , employees or other authorized drivers may not use a hand-held mobile device while operating a County or personal vehicle on County business. This restriction includes, but is not limited to: answering or making phone calls, engaging in phone conversations, reading, responding to, or initiating emails, text message or instant messages.
- Defensive Driving: Employees or other authorized drivers operating a motor vehicle while on County business are encouraged to follow the defensive driving guidelines outlined below:
- Keep a “cushion of space” between your vehicle and others. The greater the speed, the greater the cushion of space should be.
- Be alert to developing situations in the traffic ahead. Look into the rear view mirror frequently.
- Use all safety devices provided, including the horn. Be sure the other driver sees you.
- Never demand the right-of-way, even if legally it is yours.
- Avoid interrupting the flow of traffic whenever possible because such interruptions can cause an accident.
- Never allow your attention to be diverted from the primary task of driving.
- Drive courteously. A courteous driver will usually not be involved in a hazardous situation.
- Authorized Passengers: No person shall be permitted to ride in a County vehicle unless one of the following applies: such person is a County employee on official County business, such person is authorized to be in said vehicle, an emergency situation exists, or such person is otherwise subject to official County business. A special duty may arise for the care of such passengers that goes beyond wearing seat belts and safely entering and exiting the vehicle.
- County employees or other authorized drivers operating vehicles or equipment on County business shall have a valid State of California driver's license appropriate for the type of vehicle driven.
- County employees or other authorized individuals who drive on County business in a County or personal vehicle shall maintain a satisfactory driving record and immediately inform their supervisor in the event their driver’s license is or may be suspended, revoked or otherwise restricted.
- Unless operating an authorized emergency vehicle, if a driver is found at fault for an accident, DMV will add points to the driver’s record, regardless of whether the driver was operating a County vehicle or a personal vehicle while on County business.
- County employees or other authorized individuals driving a personal vehicle on County business must provide their supervisor or department designee proof of collision, uninsured motorist and comprehensive auto liability insurance with limits not less than $100,000/$300,000 for bodily injury liability and $50,000 for property damage. Limits are subject to change by the County Administrator.
- When driving a personal vehicle the driver’s insurance is primary.
- Authorized individuals shall provide their supervisor notification upon any change in insurance status.
- Employees (only) who do not carry the required insurance coverage and limits have the option to check out a vehicle from the County vehicle pool but shall not drive their personal vehicle. [Section 3.3]
- A personal vehicle is defined as one you own or one whose owner has added you to their insurance policy as a named insured.
- Authorized individuals driving on County business shall not drive a rented, borrowed or hired vehicle unless he/she can provide proof of insurance.
- Drivers are solely responsible for any traffic or parking tickets issued while driving on County business in either a personal or County vehicle.
Reimbursement Claims: When an employee uses a personal vehicle on County business, they shall be reimbursed at the current published IRS reimbursement rate. Claims for mileage reimbursement or other authorized travel costs shall be submitted on County claim forms and processed in accordance with Department of Finance procedures. Employees submitting reimbursement claims are expected to be enrolled in the DMV Pull Program.
Authorized drivers are expected to abide by all applicable Federal, State and local traffic laws.
Return to Top
2.2 Department Responsibilities
Department Heads are responsible for the enforcement and administration of this policy within their Department; including but not limited to ensuring the safe and economical operation of County vehicles; authorizing individuals to operate County or personal vehicles on County business; and administration of the DMV Pull Program.
The Department Head or his/her designee shall ensure that individually, all employees, volunteers and interns who drive on authorized County business are held accountable and do affirm that he/she:
- Has and maintains a valid California Driver’s License
- Has provided proof of insurance that meets the requirements set forth in this policy [Section 2.1(G)]
- Has been enrolled in the DMV Pull Program pursuant to [Section 2.2(D)] of this policy
- Has been fully informed of the provisions of this policy and other appropriate administrative regulations
- Has signed the Employee Acknowledgement and Agreement form affirming their understanding of this policy and their commitment to safe and responsible distraction free driving.
Driving Record and License Check:
- It shall be the responsibility of the Department of Human Resources to include in all job announcements for positions for which driving is an essential function, a statement that a driving history will be requested from the Department of Motor Vehicles and that a satisfactory driving record is a requirement for employment in such position. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the County may make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of qualified applicants or candidates with a disability.
- Prior to hiring, promotion or transfer, it is the individual Department’s responsibility to request and obtain the driving history from the State Department of Motor Vehicles of each person certified for a position which requires the driving of a vehicle on official County business. A candidate’s driving history, as defined by the criteria detailed in Section 4.1(B) of this policy, shall be considered in the event of employment, promotion or transfer to any position, permanent or extra-hire, requiring the operation of a vehicle on official County business.
Department Heads or their designee are responsible for verifying that all authorized individuals who drive on County business have a valid California driver's license and that it is the appropriate license for the vehicle driven. This department obligation does not diminish the employee’s or authorized individual’s obligations pursuant to Section 2.1.
The driving record of all County employees whose job requires them to drive a County vehicle, or personal vehicle on County business shall be enrolled in the California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) Pull Program. Thereafter, the driving record of enrolled employees will be reviewed at least annually by the Department Head, Assistant Department Head, or designee as provided automatically by the DMV Pull Notice Program. These records should be maintained by the department for not less than 2 fiscal years and available for review upon request by CAO or Risk Management. Volunteers and interns may be subject to this provision at the discretion of the Department Head.
Per DMV regulations, a written release is required before the DMV will release data to an employer or agency for whom the individual is an authorized driver. An authorized driver subject to this section of the policy who declines to provide such consent may constitute cause for the Department to deny the individual authorization to drive on County business.
- DOT Driver Records: Departments shall maintain accurate records of employees who are required by Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations to have a commercial driver’s license as defined and regulated by DOT. Actual quarterly random screening/testing is administered by Safety Officer, Risk Management Division, CAO.
Return to Top
3.0 Assignment of County Vehicles
3.1 Permanent Assignment of County Vehicles
- The County Administrator, in consultation with the Department of Public Works, shall authorize the permanent assignment of vehicles to departments on an as-needed basis. The Director of Public Works shall be responsible for the on-going evaluation and replacement of assigned department vehicles. Department Heads will be responsible for day-to-day employee assignment issues regarding any vehicle(s) assigned to their department. Vehicles may be assigned to a department if either of the following conditions exist:
- The vehicle has special fittings and/or carries special equipment applicable to a single department or a single position. Special fittings or equipment include such items as red lights, sirens, undercover car radios and fittings, and utility bodies, but do not include portable equipment.
- The need for a vehicle is demonstrated where no vehicle pooling arrangements are reasonably available to the employee's regular place of employment.
- The County Administrator shall prescribe the records and reports to be maintained by County departments and Department Heads related to the use of County owned vehicles to the extent that misuse may be discovered with a minimum of record keeping or audit. The County Administrator shall also govern the use and storage of County owned automobiles.
- The County Administrator shall administer the provisions of this section, except that it shall be the duty of each Department Head to carry out and enforce this section within his/her department.
- Permanent/Individual Assignment:
- The permanent assignment of vehicles to Board Members and executive managers will be prohibited, with the exception of Department Heads with emergency response duties, as determined by the County Administrator.
- Department Heads with emergency-response duties may authorize the appropriate long-term assignment of a county-owned department vehicle to an employee to adequately fulfill their emergency-response duties. Emergency response departments include the Sheriff’s Office, Fire Department, and Department of Public Works.
Return to Top
3.2 Assigned/Take-Home Vehicles
- Work Hour Retention: A Department Head may assign a vehicle to an individual employee for the hours the individual is working. The minimum transportation needs for this category of vehicle assignment shall include the following conditions:
- Department management has determined the assignee’s duties cannot be satisfactorily performed without continuous availability of a suitable vehicle during work hours; and
- The tasks performed during work hours require a specially equipped vehicle; or
- The need cannot be met by use of an interdepartmental pool or department vehicle; or
- The monthly mileage claim costs of a personal vehicle would exceed costs of a County vehicle.
Overnight Retention: Department Heads may authorize an employee to retain a vehicle overnight, and/or on weekends, or for a limited/intermittent term to enable completion of special or unusual assignments, or as otherwise authorized by a Department Head. Such authorization shall be limited to business use only. Except when emergency work is required, this approval shall be obtained in advance and shall be conditioned upon one of the following:
- When use of an assigned vehicle is in the public interest and the tasks to be performed when called during off-duty hours require immediate travel to the job location, or
- The assignee is authorized to drive the County vehicle only on authorized County business; including to and from home when after-hours availability of the vehicle is required.
Overnight retention vehicles should be stored in a manner that provides for the reasonable security of the vehicle and its contents. To the degree reasonable, personal belongings and County property should be removed from the vehicle when stored overnight.
When the need for after hour availability is no longer present, assignee shall not continue to drive the vehicle to and from work. At that time the vehicle should be returned. This requirement applies but is not limited to the following periods:
- When assignee is on vacation, sick leave or otherwise off duty for more than three working days, unless authorized by the department head.
- When required conditions that justified overnight retention are interrupted for more than three working days, unless authorized by the department head.
- Short-Term Emergency Authorization: The Department Head may authorize an employee to retain a vehicle overnight and/or on weekends in an emergency work-related situation. Such authorization shall be limited to business use only. In this context emergency work is defined as essential work requiring the immediate attention of the assignee in a supervisory and/or technical capacity to protect persons or property.
Driving a County vehicle home may subject the driver to Internal Revenue Service rules concerning additional compensation. In the following situations, vehicles are generally considered exempt because they are categorized as “qualified non-personal use vehicles” and there are no tax consequences for employees authorized to take vehicles home that fall in these categories:
- Satisfactorily marked police and fire vehicles
- Unmarked vehicles used by law enforcement officers if the use is officially authorized
- An ambulance or hearse used for its specific purpose
- Any vehicle designed to carry cargo with a loaded gross vehicle weight over 14,000 pounds
- Delivery trucks with seating for the driver only, or the driver plus a folding jump seat
- A passenger bus with a capacity of at least 20 passengers used for its specific purpose
- School buses
- Tractors and other special purpose farm vehicles
Return to Top
3.3 Pool Vehicles
- Employees who are authorized to drive on county business and have a valid California driver’s license without restrictions may be authorized by their Department Head or his/her designee to use pool vehicles from the Civic Center vehicle pool. If an employee chooses not to drive their personal vehicles on County business he/she is encouraged to use a County pool vehicle as an alternative. County ID is required to check out a County pool vehicle.
- The Department of Public Works shall create a monitoring system to manage pool vehicles efficiently and consistent with County policy.
- If a pool vehicle is required outside of regular working hours, the keys will be obtained from the Garage Supervisor during regular office hours.
- Pool vehicles shall be returned promptly to the County Garage after use and consistent with Department of Public Works pool vehicle procedures.
Return to Top
4.0 Authorized Use of Assigned County Vehicles
- Authorization: County-owned vehicles shall be driven only by appropriately licensed and insured County employees, or authorized (registered) volunteers or interns. Authorization shall be provided by the appropriate Department Head or his/her designee in advance of operation of any vehicle on County business.
- Employees are encouraged to use County vehicles when they are available. Factors to be considered include: availability of County vehicles, operational efficiency, cost of a County vehicle vs. mileage reimbursement, the appropriateness of the vehicle for the required use, and best use of employees’ time. Departments are responsible for determining which option best meets the needs of the County. At all times, the County vehicle remains the exclusive property of the County of Marin.
- Authorized Passengers: Consistent with Section 2.1(D) of this policy, no person shall be permitted to ride in a County vehicle unless one of the following applies: such person is a County employee on official County business, such person is authorized to be in said vehicle, an emergency situation exists, or such person is otherwise subject to official County business.
- County Business Use Only: County vehicles shall be used for official County business only, unless authorized under this policy. Further, the County gas card shall only be used for gas for County vehicles on official County business.
- Registered Volunteers and Interns: Registered volunteers and interns assigned to a specific County program, may be authorized by the Department Head to drive County vehicles in their volunteer or intern status. The Department is responsible to ensure that authorized volunteers and interns have a valid California driver’s license appropriate for the vehicle to be driven and meet the insurance requirements set forth in Section 2.1(G). Authorized registered volunteers and interns are subject to all of the driving rules outlined in this policy and may be enrolled in the DMV Pull Program at the discretion of the Department Head.
- Extra Hire/Special Appointment Employees: Extra hire or special appointment employees may be authorized to drive County vehicles with the approval of the Department Head. The Department is responsible to ensure that extra-hires or special appointments authorized to drive on County business have a valid California driver’s license appropriate for the vehicle to be driven and meet the insurance requirements set forth in Section 2.1(G). Extra hires and special appointments are subject to all of the driving rules outlined in this policy including enrollment in the DMV Pull Program.
- Independent Contractors: Independent Contractors are not authorized to drive County vehicles, even if the vehicle will be used only on official County business.
- Other Local Agencies: Employees of other local public agencies or local community based organizations may be authorized to use County vehicles if there is a written agreement between the County and the agency or organization that states that the use of the County vehicle is authorized by a County Department for a program related to County business and the agency or organization has met the County’s insurance requirements. Proof of insurance should be provided at the time the agreement or contract is executed and before work begins.
- Those designated to receive a vehicle allowance shall not be permitted mileage reimbursement except as permitted in accordance with Administrative Regulation No. 1. No claim for mileage reimbursement may be filed with the County if a claim for mileage reimbursement has been submitted with another agency.
Return to Top
4.1 Satisfactory Driving Record
- County employees, whose job requires them to drive on County business using either a County vehicle, or their personal vehicle, shall maintain a satisfactory driving record without major traffic violations or accidents pursuant to the criteria listed in the Driver Record Criteria Section.
- Driving Record Criteria:
- Convictions Related to the Operation of a Vehicle:
- Any convictions/citations for the following offenses shall be evaluated by the Department, and may be cause for the Department to consider disciplinary measures, up to and including termination, consistent with County policy:
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
- Failure to stop and report when involved in an accident (hit and run).
- Manslaughter, homicide, or assault arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle.
- Any conviction resulting in suspension or revocation of an operator’s license.
- Reckless driving, evading an officer, engaging in a speed contest on a public street, or driving a motor vehicle at an excessive rate of speed resulting in injury to persons or damage to property.
- Convictions/citations for any other moving traffic violations (excluding equipment violations) should be evaluated by the Department, and may be cause for disciplinary measures if the Department concludes that the employee’s driving record may expose the County to undue potential liability, consistent with County policy.
- Moving Violation. Each accident involving an employee or other authorized driver, while operating any vehicle on County business, which results in damage to property, including his/her own vehicle, or bodily injury, shall be considered a moving violation and should be reported as required by policy.
- Accidents in which the use of a County issued or County subsidized hand held mobile device was a factor, regardless of fault or consequences, may be cause for the Department to consider disciplinary measure up to and including termination, consistent with County policy.
- Exceptions: Accidents may not be considered a moving violation under Section 4.1(B) if it is determined by police report that the employee was not at fault, or if there were mitigating circumstances that the Department Head should consider.
- Departmental review of an employee’s driving record, including quarterly review of reports received from the DMV Pull Program may be used to determine if the driving record is satisfactory. Any resulting action shall be performed consistent with County policy.
Return to Top
4.2 Other Rules
- Vehicle Markings: All County vehicles, except for those used in special law enforcement or undercover operations, shall have exempt license plates and may be marked with the vehicle number and County marking visible to the public. No other markings, decals or bumper stickers shall be displayed on County-owned vehicles and equipment without approval of the County Administrator.
- Departmental Rules: Departments may adopt internal procedures for the allocation and operation of vehicles assigned to the Department. Such procedures shall be consistent with foregoing rules and regulations established by the Board of Supervisors.
Return to Top
4.3 Safe Driving
- Seat Belts: Seat belts shall be used by the driver and all passengers in a County vehicle or in a personal owned vehicle being used on County business in accordance with California Vehicle Code (CVC) 27315.
- Child Safety Seats: All children riding in a County vehicle shall be properly seat belted. Child safety seats shall be used as required by the California Vehicle Code (CVC 27360 through 27364).
- Vehicle Operation: Drivers shall be familiar with the manner of operation of vehicles that they operate on County business. If drivers are unsure of the operation of their vehicle, they should check the owner’s manual or contact the County Garage for assistance.
- Attentive Driving: Drivers should remain attentive to driving at all times. Drivers should not eat or drink, read, or deal with passengers or other distractions while the vehicle is moving. Drivers should pull off the road and stop when having to deal with such distractions in the vehicle. Drivers are expressly prohibited from use of any hand held mobile device for any reason while driving or in traffic. Use of hand held mobile devices while driving is strictly prohibited per policy Section 2.1(B), unless otherwise allowed by law.
- Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in all vehicles owned, leased or operated by the County, or otherwise under the control of the Board of Supervisors.
- Alcohol, Drugs and Other Intoxicants: Consumption of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants while operating, or prior to operating, a County vehicle or a personal vehicle on authorized County business that impairs one’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle - is strictly prohibited.
- Dangerous or Defective Vehicle: Any County-owned vehicle, or personal owned vehicle, while being used for County business, shall not be operated when in a known dangerous or defective condition.
- Reporting an Unsafe Vehicle: When a County vehicle is found to be in a dangerous or defective condition, it shall be reported to the County Garage as soon as is practical.
- Visual Inspections: Employees shall conduct a visual inspection of the County assigned vehicle or pool vehicle for damage prior to use. Any damage or safety problems observed shall be reported to the County Garage immediately upon discovery.
- Parking County Vehicles: All vehicles shall be legally and safely parked and locked when unattended. County vehicles are not exempt from parking regulations on County property. Citations are the sole responsibility of the driver.
- Traffic Citations: Any employee who receives a traffic citation other than for illegal parking while operating a County-owned vehicle, or while operating a personal owned vehicle on County business, shall inform his/her Department Head or designee. All traffic or parking citations are the sole responsibility of the driver. Some citations may impact continued authorization to drive on County business.
- Motorcycles: No employee shall operate a motorcycle on County business without specific authorization of the Department Head.
Return to Top
4.4 Vehicle Collisions, Incidents or Damage
- It is the responsibility of the authorized driver of either a County vehicle, or personal vehicle driven on County business, to exercise reasonable care to avoid impediments or obstructions in the path of the vehicle which might cause damage to the vehicle, other vehicles or property, or injury to drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
- Any incident occurring while operating a motor vehicle (County owned; personal or rental while on County business) must be reported by the driver, regardless of severity, to the appropriate supervisor and County Risk Manager as soon as possible. This must be followed by submission of a written report to the supervisor and Risk Manager using the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) SR1 form (www.dmv.ca.gov/forms/sr/sr1.pdf) within 4 business days from the incident. The DMV SR1 is also required to be submitted directly to the DMV (fillable online) within 10 days of the incident by the driver in the event of: property or vehicle damage estimated in excess of $750 or bodily injury or loss of life. If the employee is unable to make the report because of injury or other incapacity, the appropriate supervisor or manager is responsible for submission of the report.
- The County does not reimburse drivers for damage to their personal vehicle. Damage or loss of contents that occurs while parked on County property or while driving on County business, not covered under an auto or homeowners policy and subject to a deductible may be reimbursed at the discretion of the County Risk Manager.
- Collisions/Incident Report Forms: Collision/Incident reports shall contain information on other vehicles, drivers, property involved, witnesses, weather conditions, road conditions, and any other pertinent information regarding such collision.
- Department Reporting Responsibilities:
- Notify the Department Head and Risk Management as soon as possible upon knowledge of injury to anyone involved in an accident – regardless of perceived fault or cause.
- In cases where an employee is injured as a result of the accident, the Department Head or his/her designee shall ensure that workers’ compensation procedures are followed and paperwork is submitted via fax or scan to Risk Management within 24 hours of knowledge.
- When an employee reports an incident involving a County vehicle or equipment, the Department Head or designee is responsible for ensuring the DMV SR1 form is completed within four business day of notice or knowledge of an incident. Report shall be faxed or scanned to Risk Management.
If an employee or other authorized driver is involved in a collision or incident in a personal vehicle while driving on County business, the employee's vehicle insurance coverage is primary to any other coverage [Section 2.1(G)(1)].
- The employee or other authorized driver is responsible for reporting the accident to his/her supervisor and insurance company and completing all related paperwork.
- Loss or damage to personal contents in the vehicle and the driver’s auto policy deductible may be reimbursed at the discretion of the County Risk Manager.
Return to Top
4.5 Vehicle Allowance
- It shall be the policy of Marin County that the County Administrator may designate a vehicle allowance to executive managers, with the rate and designation to be determined by the County Administrator. Department Heads with emergency response duties, such as the Sheriff, Fire Chief and Director of Public Works, may be provided a specially equipped county vehicle, in lieu of a vehicle allowance, because of their need to travel under emergency-response conditions in the course of their duties.
- In recognition that a vehicle allowance is considered part of an executive manager’s compensation package, the County Administrator may designate an allowance equal to one-half of the standard vehicle allowance granted to other executive managers [Section 4.5(A)] to Department Heads who have emergency response duties.
- Rates for vehicle allowances may be amended by the County Administrator to reflect an increase in costs.
- No use of gas cards or County-owned gas pumps shall be permitted for those designated to receive a vehicle allowance. Receipt of a vehicle allowance per Section 4.5(A) shall mean that the recipient generally must furnish his or her own vehicle for County business.
Return to Top
4.6 Adverse Action: Violation of County Vehicle and Safe Driving Policy
Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. It is at the discretion of the Department Head to take appropriate corrective action, consistent with County policy.
Return to Top