Chapter 2.68


2.68.010    Established.

2.68.020    Definitions.

2.68.030    Identification of county vehicles.

2.68.040    Authorization to use county vehicles.

2.68.050    Use of county vehicles.

2.68.060    Review statement.

2.68.070    Maintenance of vehicles.

2.68.080    Penalty.

2.68.090    Action by department head/elected official.

2.68.100    Action by employee.

2.68.010 Established.

Skamania County adopts a policy for the use and maintenance of county owned vehicles and vehicles driven for county purpose. (Res. 2000-26 (part))

2.68.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

“ASM” means the administrative services risk manager, who is designated by Skamania County Board of Commissioners to review vehicle accidents for the county.

“County vehicles” means and includes any automobile, motorcycle, snowmobile, ATV, jet ski, plane, boat, truck, tractor, heavy equipment or any other motorized vehicle which is owned, leased or in the possession or control of Skamania County.

“Employee” means an officer, or employee of Skamania County, elected or appointed, but does not include an independent contractor.

“Personal vehicles” means and includes any personally-owned vehicles driven by an employee or volunteer while conducting county business.

“Revenue service vehicle” means any vehicle owned by Skamania County and/or the Washington State Department of Transportation which is used in the provision of services under the Senior Services Transportation Program.

“Volunteer” means a person who provides services to the county on a voluntary basis and is not compensated for their time of service. A list of authorized volunteers who will be driving county vehicles or personal vehicles on county business will be furnished to the risk manager and the public works equipment rental fund manager when necessary and the hours reported to the Washington Department of Labor and Industry as volunteer hours. (Res. 2000-26 (part))

2.68.030 Identification of county vehicles.

All county vehicles will be distinctly identified with a C-License and an official insignia in accordance with RCW 46.08.065 as now or hereafter amended, with the exception of sheriff’s detective and other undercover vehicles. Maintenance vehicles will have standard county identification on the cab. (Res. 2000-26 § 1)

2.68.040 Authorization to use county vehicles.

A. Only county employees may operate county vehicles. Exception:

1. Members of noxious weed board, planning commission, board of adjustment, boundary review board and board of equalization, if authorized in writing by board of commissioners, may drive motor pool vehicles for site visits and to attend conferences and training.

2. Search and rescue volunteers, if authorized in writing by the board of commissioners, may drive the county’s SAR vehicle and county snowmobiles for official search and rescue activities and training.

3. Fair 4-H animal superintendents may operate forklift, Kabota tractor, water truck, half-ton truck on the fairgrounds for official fair and 4-H activities.

B. Volunteer, on county business, will drive only personal vehicles.

C. Only commissioned officers, reserve officers, and county vehicle maintenance personnel (when conducting maintenance activities) may drive sheriff’s department vehicles.

D. Motor pool vehicles will be available on a first-come first-serve basis to employees or department to conduct county business and must be scheduled through the department of public works.

E. Department heads and elected officials will be responsible for determining which employees and volunteers under their supervision may be assigned to drive on county business. Employees and volunteers (using their personal vehicle for county business) must meet the following criteria to drive on county business:

1. Employee or volunteer possesses a valid Washington State Motor Vehicle Operator’s License, or valid Oregon State Motor Vehicle Operator’s License if a resident of Oregon, and, if required, endorsements or validation for operation of special equipment.

2. An employee or volunteer driving a personal vehicle on county business has automobile liability insurance that meets minimum state requirements.

3. Employee or volunteer has no more than three moving violations within the thirty-six-month period just past, as evidenced by Department of Licensing (DOL) records. A serious violation (such as DWI, DUI, vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, driving while licensee suspended/revoked, hit and run attended/unattended, conviction for drug offenses (VUCSA), operation of a motor vehicle without liability insurance, etc.) may result in denial or suspension of county driving privileges. DOL records showing a frequency of accidents, tickets, or any moving traffic violations or infractions, may affect an employee’s right to drive any vehicle on county business.

4. Commissioned and reserve law enforcement officers must be at least twenty-one years of age to drive a sheriff’s department vehicle. All other employees or volunteers must be at least eighteen years old to drive on county business.

5. Employee or volunteer that drives more than three times annually for county business must satisfactorily complete a county sponsored/approved defensive driving class in the first year of employment and, thereafter, at least once every three years. A county sponsored/approved defensive driving class will include but may not be limited to:

a. Sheriff Employees.

i. Emergency vehicle defensive driving classroom training every three years,

ii. Skid car training every two years,

iii. Emergency vehicle operation class training every two years;

b. Employees Operating CDL Vehicles and Heavy Equipment. Maintenance vehicle operator’s defensive driving class every three years;

c. All Employees Driving Three or More Times Per Year. Defensive driving class every three years.

6. For road construction and maintenance equipment, the employee has sufficient experience to operate the vehicle safely. If the employee is in training on the equipment, direct supervision will be provided by a qualified operator.

F. The board of commissioners may assign vehicles for use by a specific department or employee. Subject to periodic review, the board assigns the following vehicles on a twenty-four-hour per day basis to the following positions:

1. County engineer/public works director;

2. Road maintenance supervisors;

3. Buildings and grounds director;

4. Sheriff;

5. Commissioned law enforcement officers.

G. Only authorized persons may ride in vehicles assigned to the sheriff’s department. Authorized persons are limited to:

1. Commissioned law enforcement officers;

2. Reserve law enforcement officers;

3. Other county employees or officials, if necessitated by county business;

4. Prisoners and other individuals required to be transported for law enforcement or mental health purposes; and

5. Persons involved in the sheriff’s department ride-along program. Ride-along participants must meet minimum requirements of the program and must sign a waiver of liability acceptable to the prosecuting attorney.

H. Only authorized persons may ride in other vehicles owned, leased or under the control of the county. Authorized persons are limited to:

1. County employees and officials on official business;

2. Program participants for which county transportation is required;

3. Persons conducting business with the county that necessitates transportation by or is advantageous to the county.

I. Drivers of county vehicles requiring commercial drivers licenses, drivers of revenue service vehicles and employees involved in the dispatch and maintenance of revenue service vehicles will be required to be tested for drugs and alcohol under federal law and shall comply with the Skamania County drug and alcohol policy. (Res. 2000-26 § 2)

2.68.050 Use of county vehicles.

A. All drivers of vehicles on county business will practice defensive driving at all times and will abide by state, federal and local laws.

B. Individuals driving or riding in a vehicle must wear a seat belt, as defined in RCW 46.61.688 (mandatory seat belt law).

C. County vehicles will be used for county business. No county vehicle may be used for personal business, except de minimis personal use (such as a stop for a personal errand on the way between a scheduled business stop or the employee’s worksite and the employee’s home).

D. County vehicles will be stored on county property. Exception:

1. Construction vehicles may be parked at work sites when not in use during the duration of a project; and

2. Employees with approved twenty-four-hour per day vehicle assignments may park the vehicle at their residence or other nonresidential site approved by the employee’s department head or elected official; provided the employee can respond within thirty minutes to the employee’s work site designated by the employee’s department head or elected official.

3. Employees who are not assigned a twenty-four-hour per day vehicle, may park a county vehicle at their residence for a short duration if authorized by the department head or elected official to efficiently conduct a county task.

E. Drivers of county vehicles will check and verify that the vehicle is in safe operating condition prior to and following operation of the vehicle.

F. Operators of county vehicles will take appropriate precaution to protect the county vehicle from damage or theft.

G. Employees will be personally responsible for any fines related to the violation set forth in RCW 42.61 (Rules of the Road), parking tickets, RCW 46.44.010-038 and RCW 46.44.050-105 as well as hanging material, (dirt, rock, brush, etc.) on the vehicle, unsecured loads, and any spilling that may occur if upon investigation they are proven to have been negligent in driver responsibilities and/or duties. (Res. 2001-23; Res. 2000-26 § 3)

2.68.060 Review statement.

Vehicle assignments shall be reviewed each year by the Skamania County board of commissioners during the budget deliberations. (Res. 2000-26 § 4)

2.68.070 Maintenance of vehicles.

A. Skamania County will maintain safe motor vehicles. The Skamania County department of public works will provide preventative, demand and crisis maintenance of its vehicles to ensure the safety of its motor vehicles and employees.

B. Skamania County department of public works will maintain individual county vehicle records.

C. Each vehicle shall have the following equipment:

1. First aid kit per WAC 246-24-065;

2. Fire extinguisher per WAC 296-24-59207;

3. Blood-borne pathogen kit;

4. Hazard materials identification information (emergency response/first response vehicles only). (Res. 2000-26 § 5)

2.68.080 Penalty.

A. Skamania County may discipline for failure to comply with this policy.

1. Volunteers who fail to comply with this policy may be immediately suspended from county operation of vehicles and constitute grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or dismissal from volunteering.

2. Employees who fail to comply may be disciplined based on the applicable disciplinary procedures in the Skamania County personnel policy and/or the Skamania County safety policy and collective bargaining agreements. (Res. 2000-26 § 6)

2.68.090 Action by department head/elected official.

A. Determines if employee or volunteer is eligible to drive on county business:

1. Verifies that employee or volunteer has valid driver’s license(s),

2. Orders and checks the driving record from DOL for all employees and volunteers anticipated to drive vehicles on county business in excess of three times per year, prior to employment and thereafter yearly,

3. Keeps these confidential driving records in the employees personnel file,

4. Verifies that employee or volunteer using a personal vehicle for county business has proof of required liability insurance in effect to cover the days of driving for county business,

5. Verifies that the employee or volunteer meets the county’s age requirements for driving,

6. If operating county maintenance and construction equipment, verifies that the employee is qualified to operate, or has appropriate supervision if in training,

7. Verifies that employee or volunteer has required defensive driving training,

8. Sends certified list of employees/volunteers eligible to drive on county business to risk manager no later than January 31st of each year;

B. Makes sure a signed waiver releasing Skamania County from liability, if required, has been received from any noncounty person riding in a county vehicle;

C. May reassign a vehicle for a period of time, when an employee with an assigned vehicle is on vacation or leave;

D. May authorize an employee to park a county vehicle at their residence for a short duration to efficiently conduct a county task;

E. When necessary, takes appropriate action to discipline or suspend or deny driving privileges:

1. May deny or suspend employees from driving on county business who have three or more serious violations (such as DWI, DUI, vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, driving while suspended/revoked, hit and run attended/unattended, conviction for drug offenses (VUCSA), operating motor vehicle without liability insurance, etc.),

2. Advises ASM of proposed suspension or denial action,

3. When employee receives a fine related to Section 2.68.050(G), investigates if employee is personally responsible. (Res. 2000-26 (part))

2.68.100 Action by employee.

A. Receives authorization from department head or elected official to drive on county business;

B. Operates the vehicle or equipment in a safe manner that will comply with local and state traffic laws. Notifies department head/elected official, when they receive a fine in accordance with Section 2.68.050(G);

C. Takes appropriate precaution to protect the vehicle from damage or theft;

D. Uses the vehicle for official business only, except de minimis use;

E. Transports noncounty employees only in connection with official business;

F. Checks the condition of the vehicle prior to operation including tires and fluids, (i.e., oil, water);

G. Cleans the interior and the exterior of the vehicle;

H. Reports equipment problems/failures to the equipment rental staff as soon as practicable;

I. Returns the vehicle to its assigned location at the conclusion of county business with a full gas tank;

J. Returns keys, credit cards and mileage sheets to equipment rental staff immediately upon return or in the case of after hours or weekends returns the next business day for all motor pool vehicles;

K. Attends a county sponsored/approved defensive driving class within first year of employment and, thereafter, at least once every three years if the employee drives in excess of three times per year on county business. If there are special needs generated by a series of accidents or moving violations, additional classes may be required at the direction of the department head or elected official;

L. Follows the Skamania County accident reporting policy and procedures and report any accident promptly to the employee’s department head, risk manager, equipment rental staff and to the proper law enforcement agency. (Res. 2000-26 (part))