Statutory Restrictions on Use of State Vehicles

North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) section 39-01-03 strictly prohibits the private use of motor vehicles that belong to the State. The intent of this statute is clear: state vehicles must be used exclusively for state business. In addition, liability coverage for the State of North Dakota, its agencies and employees is provided through the ND Risk Management Fund (RMF). The RMF is administered according to statute (State Tort Claims Act, N.D.C.C. Ch. 32-12.2) and it specifies that coverage is only for claims against the State and State employees while acting within the scope of authorized State employment. This means that the operation of a state vehicle, other than within the scope of authorized State employment, may expose the driver to: personal liability, employment consequences, and even criminal responsibility for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and misapplication of entrusted property (N.D.C.C. §§ 12.1-23-06 and 12.1-23-07).

Operator Regulations

  1. The driver must be a state employee as defined above.
  2. The purpose of the trip/travels must be for State business.
  3. Operation of the vehicle must at all times remain within the scope of employment.
  4. Any passengers must be state employees also engaged in official State business or others whose presence is necessary to fulfill state business as determined by competent authority.
  5. Traffic Laws
    1. The North Dakota State Fleet Policy Manual requires operators to obey and comply with all traffic laws and regulations governing the operation of motor vehicles.
      Copies of all law enforcement traffic citations will be forwarded to the campus from the DOT Office for appropriate disciplinary action.
      Operators are responsible, without reimbursement, for all parking and traffic fines accrued while operating a state vehicle.
  6. Vehicle Accidents
    1. All accidents involving a State Fleet vehicle must have a police reported completed at the time of the occurrence.
      Report the accident as soon as possible to the VCSU Safety Office.
      The Safety Office will complete the SFN 51301 Motor Vehicle Accident Report upon receiving notification from the driver.
  7. Other Information
    1. Vehicles should not be taken to a personal residence for overnight parking.
      Operators may not transport spouses, children, animals, or hitchhikers in state vehicles.
      All occupants must wear properly fastened seat belts whenever they travel in state vehicles.
      Employees sponsoring a student operator are responsible for explaining usage procedures.

Usage Guidelines

  1. Driving must be for State business.
    1. Refer to the VCSU State Fleet Operating Manual.
  2. Operation of the vehicle must be within the scope of employment.
    1. Refer to the VCSU State Fleet Operating Manual.
  3. Smoking Prohibition
    1. Every state vehicle clearly and conspicuously posts at least one sign, visible from the vehicle’s exterior, state that smoking is prohibited (as outlined in N.D.C.C 23-12-10.4-3).
  4. Fueling/Expenses
    1. Refer to VCSU State Fleet Operating Manual.
    2. The operator of the vehicle is responsible for refueling the vehicle before returning to the campus garage.
  5. Vehicle Cleanliness
    1. Refer to the VCSU State Fleet Operating Manual.
    2. For Student Operators- the faculty or staff member signing off on the reservation of a state fleet vehicle for a student is responsible for informing the student of the cleanliness guidelines.
    3. Vehicle Rates/Billing
      1. Vehicle group codes and rental rate codes have been established by the NDDOT for each vehicle type to determine the respective mile/hour rate charged.
        Vehicle odometer/hour meter readings must be recorded and returned to the Facilities Services Office monthly.
        Mileage/hourly charges from State Fleet, allocated by vehicle, are electronically billed to departmental accounts through the Business Office.
    4. Visiting Delegations
  6. Visitors from other states or countries here at the invitation of the campus or a local or state government agency, or in connection with a national or international relations or business program have no connection to the state and are not state employees or agents of the State.
    As a general rule, using state vehicles to transport these guests to site, hotels, restaurants, and other activities is not permissible.

Student Use of State vehicles

  1. Refer to SBHE Policy 512 and VCSU Policy V512.

Procedures- Requesting a State Vehicle

  1. Refer to the VCSU State Fleet Operating Manual

Abuse of a State Vehicle

  1. If there is abuse of driving privileges or misuse of a state vehicle, employees must report the abuse or misuse to the Facilities Services Office.
    Facilities Services Office staff will investigate the incident details and report findings to the appropriate Vice President.
    Vehicle operators and/or passengers may be subject to disciplinary action.

Related Documents

  1. VCSU Policy V512: Student Drivers and Use of State Vehicles by Student Groups

  2. VCSU State Fleet Operating Manual

  3. Student Recruitment Guidelines
  4. The North Dakota State Fleet Services Policy Manual
  5. Claims Against the State: NDCC Chapter 32-12.2
  6. Motor Vehicles: NDCC Section 39-01-03
  7. Regulations Governing Operators: NDCC Section 39-08-23
  8. SBHE Policy Manual Section 512: Student Drivers and Use of State Vehicles by Student Groups
  9. SBHE Policy Manual Section 1910.2: Use of State Vehicles

Relevant Definitions

term Definition
Competent Authority An employee who has been delegated or provided specific authority by formal policy or job description to perform certain functions for the State, such as: to hire/supervise/direct a person to serve as a volunteer for specific purposes, and to authorize certain activities within the scope or course of their duties. An employee may be held accountable for the persons and activities he/she has so authorized. This means that it is possible for an employee and/or the institution to be responsible for losses, if there is deliberate indifference or disregard to the applicable laws and procedures.
Instructor/Supervisor Refers to a VCSU employee with decision making responsibilities. This person may be a faculty member, club advisor, coach, as assistant, associate or director, chair, department or unit head, or a higher level of administration.
Operator Only state employee and individual approved students. These individuals are eligible to drive state fleet vehicles.
State Employee Individuals working for VCSU or the State of North Dakota or persons assigned by a competent authority to act on behalf of VCSU or the State of North Dakota with or without compensation.
State Business Activities for which the primary purpose is service to VCSU or the State of North Dakota. Activities in which the activity is official business of the state. For the purposes of this policy these activities include, but are not limited to: academic field/study and research-related trips/conferences, etc.; athletic events; University programming-- student organization/club activities and events; local, regional, and/or national conferences, competitions, etc. for students and/or student clubs; student participation in student local and state government.
State Fleet Vehicles Licensed motor vehicles that are owned and leased by the state.

Sponsored by: Department of Facilities Services 

Reviewed: Winter 1996 

Reviewed: Winter 2003-04 

Reviewed: January 2013 

Reviewed: January 2014 

Revised: November 2014