Use and Operation of Agency Vehicles
The following standards are established by the Board:
- Employees licensed to drive according to South Carolina State laws may be allowed to operate agency vehicles.
- In order to become an authorized operator, an employee must demonstrate his knowledge and ability from three points: (1) safety, (2) mechanical, and (3) actual operation. A valid South Carolina driver's license may be accepted as evidence of the required knowledge and ability to operate vehicles.
- DRIVER SELECTION AND SCREENING
- All applicants shall provide a copy of their Motor Vehicle Record (MVR), obtained at the applicant's expense from the South Carolina Department of Highways Public Transportation, along with their employment application, to the personnel office. Applicants whose MVR shows involvement in more than two accidents in the last three years or more than eight current violation points shall be unqualified for a driving position.
- Operators of vehicles must possess a current valid driver's license appropriate to the class of vehicle to be operated.
- DRIVER EDUCATION
- Preventive Program. All drivers and direct care staff will attend the National Safety Council Defensive Driving Course (DDC). Once full eight-hour course has been completed, employees may attend the four-hour refresher course. The following categories of employees must attend DDC as specified:
- All new employees will attend the full eight-hour DDC within 30 days of date of employment.
- New employees whose primary responsibility is to drive a vehicle will attend the full eight-hour DDC within 30 days of date of employment and will attend the four-hour refresher course every third year thereafter All drivers of Shimms and UMTA vans must have 3 hours training each quarter and First Aid training renewed every 3 years.
- Remedial Programs. Administration of effective driver selection, screening and preventive education programs should reduce the necessity for remedial education programs. However, in the event such programs are necessary, the following policies apply:
- Employees found at fault in a preventable vehicle accident must complete the full 8-hour DDC before again being allowed to operate a vehicle. Employee will be liable for the expense of this training, including any transportation involved.
- Employees found to have accumulated 9-10 traffic violation points or 2 agency vehicle accidents, or 3 total vehicle accidents on their motor vehicle record must complete the full 8-hour DDC before again being allowed to operate an agency vehicle.
- REQUIRED DRIVING PRACTICES AND SAFETY MAINTENANCE
- Wearing of Safety Belts. All employees of the agency and passengers shall wear a safety belt at all times when operating or being transported as a passenger in an agency owned vehicle equipped with safety belts. It shall be the driver or aide's responsibility when transporting M.R. passengers and each staff or occupant's responsibility to insure compliance with the state's belt policy. Reduction in compensation benefits to those employees who file a worker's compensation claim for an accident which involved a motor vehicle accident, and seat belts were not worn as required. The 10% reduction is authorized under Section 42-9-50 of the Worker's Compensation Law of South Carolina.
- Security - Agency vehicles will be locked and all windows closed whenever they are unoccupied.
- Engines - The engine of a vehicle will be turned off at all times before the driver exits the vehicle.
- SAFETY MAINTENANCE
- Agency vehicles will be safety inspected in accordance with the laws of South Carolina.
- In the case of special purpose vehicles equipped with load bearing devices (booms, lifts, etc.), these devices will be load checked.
- VEHICLE AND EQUIPMENT ASSIGNMENT
- Agency vehicles or equipment may only be used for official business. Use of vehicles and equipment for personal gain is strictly forbidden.
- Any employee/driver may be authorized to retain a vehicle overnight when it is advantageous to the agency because of early morning or late evening official use. This is not to be construed as authority for continuous or routine use of a vehicle for commuting purposes.
- Except as authorized in paragraphs A & B above, agency vehicles are not authorized for use in commuting to and from work.
- REVOCATION OF AN OPERATOR'S CERTIFICATION REPORTING AND REVIEWING ACCIDENTS
- All accidents shall be reported to the Transportation Coordinator, the department head, Executive Director, local police, sheriff or highway patrol and the South Carolina Highway Department (Uniform Traffic Collision Report, Form TR-3 10). Coordinator will go to the scene of the accident taking camera, note pad, pens, etc. to assist and/or investigate.
- All accident reports shall be reviewed by the Transportation Coordinator and the appropriate department head to determine the cause with reports to the Executive Director.
- Results of the review shall be based on all pertinent facts and the following statements:
- Was the accident preventable or non-preventable? (A non-preventable accident is one in which a person did everything one reasonably could have done to prevent it.)
- Was the driver practicing defensive driving? (Defensive-driving is driving to prevent accidents in spite of incorrect actions of others and adverse conditions.)
- If the investigation determines that the accident was caused by carelessness or negligence on the part of the employee concerned, they may recommend an Employee Warning Notice in event of further accidents within the next twelve months, or they may recommend revocation of his operator's certification and transfer to job not requiring operation of vehicles and equipment or dismissal. The $200 deductible or cost of repairs, whichever is less, will be assessed to the vehicle operator in accordance with the insurance provision to the Annual Appropriations Act.
- If it is determined that the circumstances causing the accidents were not in accord with the defensive driving practices, but by law was not the fault of the employee concerned, an Employee Warning Notice shall be recommended warning the driver to be more conscious of accidents and causes of accidents.
- If it is determined that an employee was practicing defensive driving and by law was not the cause of the accident, then a letter to the employee is prepared stating the committee's findings.
Following are MDCBDSN policies with regard to the selection and screening of agency vehicles:
Driver education efforts are classified as preventive programs and remedial programs. Following are policies with regard to preventive and remedial driver education programs.
Drivers will abide by applicable state and federal laws while operating agency vehicles. Posted speed limits will be adhered to, and traffic signs or signals will be obeyed. Additionally, the following policies related to safety and/or security will be obeyed:
Agency vehicles will be maintained in such a manner as to eliminate mechanical failure as a cause of vehicle accidents. The following policies apply:
Reports should not only state the cause(s) of the accident, but should also state what the driver could and should have done to prevent the accident. Reports will be forwarded to the Executive Director or designee for approval.
All vehicles owned and operated by the agency are covered by a blanket insurance policy for bodily injury and property damage liability. This coverage is carried by the agency for protection of authorized operators only.