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UPPS 04.05.13 - Operation of Golf Carts and Other Off- Highway Vehicles

Operation of Golf Carts and Other Off- Highway Vehicles

UPPS No. 04.05.13
Issue No. 1
Effective Date: 1/09/2020
Next Review Date: 4/01/2024 (E4Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Director, Environmental Health, Safety, and Risk Management


    1. This policy establishes procedures and standards for the safe use and operation of golf carts and other off-highway vehicles at Texas State University campuses including:

      1. approval and acquisition of off-highway vehicles;

      2. vehicle operating standards;

      3. supervisory responsibilities;

      4. operator requirements and standards;

      5. off-highway vehicle condition and standard safety features;

      6. approved routes of travel for off-highway vehicles; and

      7. accident reporting.

    2. The policy applies to all university departments, staff, faculty, and students.

    3. Only off-highway vehicles purchased, rented, or leased by the university may be operated on Texas State campuses. Use of privately owned off-highway vehicles is prohibited on Texas State campuses.

      1. Events held on campus by outside entities requiring the use of privately owned, rented, or leased off-highway vehicles must gain permission via an Off-Highway Vehicle Request Form through the Office of Environmental Health, Safety, and Risk Management (EHSRM).

      2. No privately owned, rented, or leased off-highway vehicles will be allowed at tailgate events.

    4. Off-highway vehicles owned by departments at Texas State may only be used for official department or university business by university or student employees. Off-highway vehicles may not be used for personal business, such as unauthorized home-to-office travel which will be considered vehicle misuse.


    The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles categorizes some types of vehicles used by Texas State as off-highway vehicles. These are defined below:

    1. Golf Cart – a vehicle designed by the manufacturer primarily for use on a golf course.

    2. Utility Vehicle – a motor vehicle that is not a golf cart, as defined above, or a lawn mower, and is:

      1. equipped with side-by-side seating for the use of the operator and a passenger;

      2. designed to propel itself with at least four tires in contact with the ground;

      3. designed by the manufacturer for off-highway use only; and

      4. designed by the manufacturer primarily for utility work and not for recreational purposes.

    3. Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) – a vehicle that:

      1. is originally manufactured to meet, and meets, the equipment requirements and safety standards established for low speed vehicles in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 500;

      2. has four wheels;

      3. does not have to be powered by electricity (other power sources, such as gasoline, are acceptable);

      4. is able to attain a speed of more than 20 miles per hour (mph), but not more than 35 mph; and

      5. is not a golf cart.

    4. An all-terrain vehicle is a vehicle that:

      1. is equipped with seats for use of the rider and a passenger, if the vehicle is designed by the manufacturer to transport a passenger;

      2. has three or more wheels;

      3. is not more than 50 inches wide;

      4. is designed for off-highway use; and

      5. is not designed by the manufacturer for farm or lawn care.


    1. Off-highway vehicles may only be purchased with the approval of the requesting department’s vice president (VP) or a member of the President’s Cabinet.

    2. Departments requesting an off-highway vehicle will prepare an Off-Highway Vehicle Request form and route it through their director, their VP, EHSRM, and the Facilities Management university fleet manager who will ensure the requested vehicle has all the required safety features.

    3. Facilities Management Procurement staff will work with the requesting department to create the purchase order for approval by the responsible account manager and the university fleet manager.

    4. The Facilities Management buyer will ensure the approved vehicle request form is included with the requisition.

    5. University Procurement and Strategic Sourcing will not approve a purchase order without the university fleet manager’s coordination and the vehicle request form being included with the purchase request.


    1. Operators must be trained and certified. The off-highway vehicle training program is provided by EHSRM personnel, or approved, trained designees in some departments.

    2. An off-highway vehicle Training Registration form must be completed and submitted for review to EHSRM. Forms for students must be submitted by their supervisor.

      Off-highway vehicle operation is governed under Texas Revised Statutes, and operators are subject to the rules of the road, including stopping, turning, and safe operation. Off-highway vehicle operators observed in violation of these rules can be cited by the police.

    3. Drivers must have a valid driver’s license with a satisfactory driving record, an updated driver’s authorization on file, and must be in compliance with the provisions of UPPS No. 05.05.02, Driver Selection, which requires annual driver’s license checks.

    4. Off-highway vehicles are to be operated at speeds no greater than 15 mph, or as safety concerns demand. Operators should always consider the terrain, weather conditions, and existing pedestrian and vehicular traffic which may affect the ability to operate the off-highway vehicle safely. Off-highway vehicles will not be operated when there is snow or ice. Care should be taken if off-highway vehicles are operated in the rain.

    5. Off-highway vehicle operators should stop at all blind intersections and proceed with caution.

    6. Off-highway vehicles should be operated only within the confines of Texas State property, or as appropriate for the vehicle type.

    7. Off-highway vehicles are to be driven on an improved surface (i.e., one designed for travel or parking) unless a non-improved surface is the only available way to gain access to the specific area where work is being performed. If the off-highway vehicle must be on a landscaped area in order to allow pedestrians the proper right-of-way, it should be brought to a full stop, then immediately returned to the designated driving surface as soon as the area is clear. The only exemption is if officers of the Texas State University Police Department (UPD) are in pursuit.

    8. Off-highway vehicles should be operated in such a manner that do not impede or interfere with normal pedestrian or vehicular traffic flow on sidewalks, ramps, or roadways. In that respect, off-highway vehicles should be operated on service drives and roadways whenever possible rather than on sidewalks designed primarily for pedestrian use.

    9. Off-highway vehicles should be operated with the utmost courtesy, care, and consideration for the safety of pedestrians.

    10. Pedestrians will be given the right-of-way at all times.

    11. Off-highway vehicles will not be parked:

      1. in fire lanes;

      2. in metered parking spaces;

      3. in handicap parking spaces;

      4. in reserved parking spaces;

      5. within 20 feet of the main entrance or exit of any building or in any manner that would impede the normal flow of pedestrian traffic; and

      6. on sidewalks or ramps that would impede handicap accessibility (i.e., sidewalks less than eight feet wide).

    12. Bobcat Bobbies and Cats on the Go are the only off-highway vehicles that are authorized to provide transportation for non-employee students.

    13. Failure to perform operator duties could result in the loss of driving or operator privileges or other disciplinary action.


    1. Operators must meet the requirements set forth in UPPS No. 05.05.02, Driver Selection.

    2. Off-highway vehicle operators are responsible for the security of ignition keys during the time an off-highway vehicle is assigned to them. Any time an off-highway vehicle is unattended, the ignition will be turned off, the key will be removed from the ignition and kept in the possession of the authorized operator.

    3. Off-highway vehicle operators are not permitted to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, with open beverage containers, or while wearing devices that impede hearing (e.g., stereo headsets, earplugs, etc.).

    4. All passengers must be in seats designed for such use. No passengers are allowed to be transported in the truck beds or on the sides of off-highway vehicles with the exception of the transport of an injured person secured on a backboard.

    5. Cell phone usage while driving an off-highway vehicle is prohibited.

    6. Employees should not operate off-highway vehicles registered to other departments unless the supervisor of the department to which the off-highway vehicles is registered has granted prior approval.

    7. When the off-highway vehicle is not in use, the parking brake should be engaged.

    8. Failure to comply with standards could result in the loss of driving or operator privileges or other disciplinary action.


    1. Off-highway vehicles owned by a department must be equipped and maintained with working headlights and taillights (two red lights, one each located on the opposite sides at the rear of the vehicle that stay on during night operations).

    2. Off-highway vehicles’ physical condition should appear to be in good condition (no dents, dings, cracked fenders, etc.).

    3. Electric turn signals and back up alarms are required.

    4. Off-highway vehicles should be equipped with a working horn or bell, a slow-moving vehicle sign, and a strobe light (amber) at the highest point to be observed from all directions at all times when in motion if not a licensed vehicle.

    5. Off-highway vehicles should be identified with the department to which it has been assigned. In the case of numerous off-highway vehicles assigned to said department, each will be numbered in sequential order beginning with one (e.g., EHS-1, EHS-2, etc.). Identifying logos should be between three and four inches in black, white, or maroon lettering visible on both sides of the vehicle. On the front of the vehicle, there will be a Texas State logo.

    6. Reflective tape should be placed on the front and rear bumpers for easier visibility at night. Off-highway vehicles should not be modified in any manner that affects the recommended mode of operation, speed, or safety of the off-highway vehicle.

    7. All off-highway vehicles should be equipped with seatbelts. The operator or driver and the passengers are required to wear seatbelts while the vehicle is in motion. The vehicle should not transport more people than there are available seatbelts.

    8. Rear-view mirrors are required.


    1. Off-highway vehicles are not street legal vehicles on public roads in the state of Texas, and as such, may not be driven on streets not owned by the university. The only exception is when used on adjacent streets when the vehicle has a license plate and the speed limit is 45 mph or less.

    2. Driving on adjacent streets should be considered carefully and avoided whenever possible.

    3. Amount, speed, and flow of traffic should be considered before driving on adjacent streets.

    4. The map displays the approved paths of travel for off-highway vehicles within the San Marcos campus.


    1. All accidents involving an off-highway vehicle will be reported within 24 hours to the supervisor of the department to which the vehicle is registered and to UPD, regardless of whether property damage or personal injury occurred.

    2. EHSRM and UPD will investigate the accident.

    3. Upon completion of the investigation, depending on the severity, the driver may lose all privileges to operate vehicles on campus.

    4. If an injury was sustained, a Supervisor’s Report of Incident, Injury, or Illness form must be completed and sent to the Worker’s Compensation Claims Coordinator in EHSRM within 24 hours of the accident.


    1. If a department rents or has use of an off-highway vehicle it must follow this policy.

    2. Rental and courtesy off-highway vehicles must have insurance. Since Texas State does not insure rental or courtesy off-highway vehicles, the department renting or using the off-highway vehicle is liable for any damage done by the rental or courtesy off-highway vehicle. Insurance should be obtained through the vendor supplying the rental or courtesy off-highway vehicle.

    3. Off-highway vehicles not owned by Texas State are considered rental or courtesy vehicles. Only vehicles purchased with Texas State funds are considered Texas State property.


    1. Supervisors should:

      1. assure that each employee in their department who operates an off-highway vehicle is properly advised of this policy;

      2. obtain a signed copy of the Off-Highway Vehicle Safety Guidelines Acknowledgement form from each employee in their department who operates such a vehicle;

      3. place a copy of the signed Off-highway Vehicle Safety Guidelines Acknowledgement form in the employee’s organizational personnel file and send a copy to EHSRM;

      4. ensure employees have completed the initial hands-on, off-highway vehicle driving training and are current on bi-annual, online training prior to the usage of an off-highway vehicle; and

      5. implement procedures to control usage of off-highway vehicles registered to their department. Procedures should include the use of a sign-out log for keys to the vehicle.

    2. Department heads should provide current off-highway vehicle operator lists to EHSRM and Facilities Management by October 1 each year.

    3. EHSRM will:

      1. provide safety training to operators of off-highway vehicles;

      2. maintain a current list of approved off-highway vehicle operators;

      3. update the list of approved off-highway vehicle operators annually; and

      4. investigate all incidents and accidents involving off-highway vehicles. Results of investigations will be provided to their supervisor, director, and a corresponding member of the President’s Cabinet. Results of investigations will also be presented to the University Safety Committee quarterly.

    4. Facilities Management will:

      1. conduct driver checks in accordance with UPPS No. 05.05.02, Driver Selection;

      2. review and approve the acquisition of off-highway vehicles;

      3. procure all off-highway vehicles authorized by the appropriate VP or President’s Cabinet member; and

      4. maintain a list of all off-highway vehicles owned by the university.


    1. Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:

      Director, Environmental Health, Safety, And Risk ManagementApril 1 E5Y
      Director, Facilities ManagementApril 1 E5Y
      Director, University Procurement and Strategic SourcingApril 1 E5Y
      Chief, University Police DepartmentApril 1 E5Y

    This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Director, Environmental Health, Safety, and Risk Management; senior reviewer of this UPPS

    Vice President for Finance and Support Services