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state seal 12.20
Agency Motor Vehicle Management


April 15, 2004

A state vehicle may be used only for official state business

A state vehicle is to be used only for official state business of state agencies. Refer to Subsection 12.30.20.a.


October 1, 2007

Agency requirements related to motor vehicle management

Every state agency having jurisdiction and control of motor vehicles shall:

  1. Manage the effective and efficient use of state owned vehicles in determining the number and nature of vehicles needed.
  2. Authorize state drivers and passengers for:
    1. State-owned and leased motor vehicles (including commercially rented vehicles as required by most rental contract provisions).
    2. Privately owned vehicles (POVs) used on official state business in accordance with applicable policies.

  3. Agencies should consult Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations regarding the nature of record keeping required by the IRS to meet the "Safe Harbor" substantiation rules. " Agencies should also track accident data for statistical and vehicle loss control purposes.
  4. Be financially accountable for all costs resulting from the authorization and use of state-owned or leased motor vehicles, including costs for damage to state-owned vehicles and property, and costs charged through the Washington Self-Insurance Liability Program for third-party injuries and vehicle damage.
  5. Agencies should track accident data for statistical and vehicle loss control purposes.
  6. Refer to Section 12.60 for policies pertaining to van management. It includes van purchase, use, rental, and phase-out as well as van and van driver requirements for 15 and 12-passenger full size vans, cargo and maintenance vans and mini-vans as defined in Subsection 12.10.30.
  7. Continuously review staffing assignments and field operations with the objective of minimizing travel.
  8. Establish policies and procedures designed to operate these vehicles at the lowest effective cost per mile for the life of the vehicle.
  9. Exercise maximum energy conservation practices in conducting official state business. All agencies are to consolidate trips where possible, ensure adequate maintenance of assigned vehicles, provide employee orientation on the necessity for driving within legal speed limits, and employ other means as necessary to achieve energy conservation.
  10. Establish procedures to ensure prompt payment of citations, tickets or fines generated by drivers authorized to operate state vehicles. Under these circumstances, payment of fines or citations is solely the obligation and responsibility of the driver, and is NOT a qualified reimbursable obligation of the employing agency. Refer to Subsections 10.20.20 and 12.30.20.c.
  11. Inform all state drivers that:
    1. Subsection 12.30.10 requires all authorized state drivers operating state vehicles, or POVs used on official state business, to have in their possession a license that is valid under Washington state law.
    2. All authorized state drivers assigned driving duties are to report to their manager or supervisor by the next business day any time the applicable license-issuing authority notifies the driver their driver's license has been revoked, suspended, or otherwise determined to be invalid.

  12. Emphasize safe driving practices by establishing a driving safety program. Refer to Subsections 12.20.15 and 12.20.20, and Section 12.60.
  13. Advise employees of state and agency policies addressing disciplinary action for inappropriate or unsafe use of state vehicles.
  14. Establish procedures for prompt review and appropriate follow-up to all citizen complaints regarding agency drivers.
  15. Establish and maintain a preventive maintenance program for all agency owned vehicles.


May 1, 2007

Basic driving safety program requirements

The basic driving safety program requirements are applicable to all state drivers authorized by the agency to operate a state or a POV for use on official state business, regardless of frequency of driving.

The basic driving safety program as described below must be implemented no later than one year from the effective date of this subsection and consists of the following:

At the initial driving assignment and prior to vehicle operation, agency managers/supervisors must:

  1. Visually check that state drivers have in their possession a license valid under Washington State laws per requirements of Subsection 12.30.10. The visual check is to verify that the driver’s license (1) has not expired; (2) photo matches employee/operator and name matches agency records; and (3) birth date indicates driver is at least 18 years of age. The Department of Licensing's website provides information on valid licensing requirements at:
  2. Obtain verbal verification from the driver that he/she has two years of driving experience, particularly if he/she is 18 years of age.
  3. Inform state drivers about the policy to report to the manager/supervisor anytime the applicable license-issuing authority notifies them of invalid license status as outlined in Subsection 12.30.20.b (4).
  4. Indicate how state drivers can access the transportation policies in Chapter 12 of the State Administrative and Accounting Manual online at: Review all other policies, as needed, pertaining to the authorized, safe, and efficient operation of vehicles used on official state business.
  5. If the employee/operator is assigned to drive a 15 or 12-passenger full size van, he/she must also comply with Section 12.60, Van Management.

To promote safety awareness, agencies should consider having state drivers view the 12-minute video, “Safe Driving Habits: A State of Mind,” as part of new employee/operator orientation. The video is available online at:


January 1, 2012

Driving safety program requirements for specified drivers

Requirements of the driving safety program for specified drivers apply only to state drivers who (1) are state employees, (2) operate state vehicles, and (3) meet the high mileage driving OR frequent alleged state driver error accidents criteria described below. Washington State Patrol troopers are exempt from this requirement.

The driving safety program for specified drivers should be completed no later than one year from the effective date of this subsection or within the first year the employee meets the following criteria:

  1. High mileage driving

    Operates state vehicles 1,000 or more miles per month at least six months out of the year (need not be consecutive), regardless if the mileage is generated by local or long distance driving, or

  2. Frequent alleged state driver error accidents

    Is involved in either, or both, of the following alleged state driver error outcomes, regardless of miles traveled or law enforcement actions taken.

    1. Two alleged state driver error accidents involving state or third party vehicle/property damage (other than damaged windshields) within a 24-month period.
    2. One or more alleged state driver error accidents resulting in injuries to the state driver, passenger(s), or third party within a 24-month period.

It is the responsibility of the manager/supervisor to identify drivers meeting the above criteria, and to:

  1. Provide identified state employee drivers with a review of the transportation policies in Chapter 12 of this manual that includes at a minimum:
    1. Agency motor vehicle management. Refer to Section 12.20.
    2. Safe driver requirements related to driving a state vehicle and accident reporting. Refer to Subsections 12.30.20 and 12.30.40.
    3. Insurance coverage and requirements. Refer to Section 12.40.

    A sample state driver checklist for managers/supervisors is available on the OFM's Transportation Resources website at: This checklist is not mandatory and can be adapted and used as desired.

  2. Provide identified state driver defensive/safe driving training. Training curriculum, method of delivery, duration, renewal intervals, and attendance documentation are at agency discretion. The Department of Enterprise Services is one source for defensive driving training. Information and training schedules can be found online at:
  3. To promote safety awareness, it is recommended that drivers view the 12-minute video, "Safe Driving Habits: A State of Mind. " The video is available online at:


October 1, 2007

When may an agency permanently assign a state motor vehicle?

Permanent assignment policies are applicable to vehicles which can be licensed to operate on public roads. Permanent assignment policies are not applicable to the following:

  • Personal transportation devises such as, golf carts, Segways, scooters, and snowmobiles.
  • Speed limited battery electric vehicles commonly referred to as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles.
  • Tractors and other farm equipment.
  • Road construction, specialized manufacturing, industrial, and other construction equipment.
  • Vessels (boats).
  • Airplanes.


The agency head has the ultimate responsibility for use of state owned vehicles in compliance with these policies.

On an annual basis the agency head shall approve the agency’s assigned category of use for state vehicles used by the agency and confirm that the agency is in compliance with the permanent assignment policies.


The following table shows the state vehicle class category codes and the minimum annual use/mileage requirements for permanent assignment.

A motor vehicle that fails to meet the usage requirements noted above may be permanently assigned only after justification for such assignment has been approved by the Office of Financial Management, Statewide Accounting.


Vehicle Category/Class Type***

Description of Vehicles in the Class

Mileage Requirement

A. Special Purpose

Special purpose vehicles include vehicles that are generally larger than the non-special purpose vehicles described below. Examples include:

  • Passenger buses with at least a capacity of 14 passengers
  • School buses
  • Trucks over 8,500 GVW
  • Ambulances
  • Crew buses/shuttle buses
  • Step vans
  • Flat bed trucks
  • Tractor-trailers (semi's)
  • Cargo vans
  • Fire trucks

Exempt from mileage requirements*

B. Non-Special Purpose

Non-special purpose vehicles include compact sedans, mid-size sedans, full-size sedans, pickup trucks (¼, ½ and ¾ ton), station wagons, mini-vans, SUVs, and motorcycles.


Statewide elected officials

Vehicles used by a statewide elected official in the Executive Branch of state government.

Exempt from mileage requirements*

Specially equipped vehicles

Vehicles modified for a particular function essential to an agency. Examples include:

  • Law enforcement/security vehicles
  • Vehicles with confidential plates
  • Vehicles with partitions between the front and rear seats for the transport of juvenile or adult clients
  • ADA compliant vehicles
  • Vehicles modified to transport individuals with special equipment need

4,000 miles per year

Local area/alternate commute mode vehicles

Local area for vehicle assignment purposes is a metro area, county or agency defined work area/region. Examples include:  Lacey/Olympia/Tumwater; Seattle; and Spokane metro area.

Vehicles assigned to a specific function with local area responsibility that generally travel within the assigned city or area. Vehicle use is frequent but the typical trip is short. Use of a vehicle is deemed essential to the job function and a POV is not a reasonable option.  Includes vehicles used to provide transportation for accommodation to employees and/or clients.


4,000 miles per year and used 75% of working days**


Vehicles assigned to a state institution, college campus, park, or hatchery where the volume of trips and use is high, but the distance is minimal. Use of a vehicle is deemed essential to the job function and a POV is not a reasonable option.

2,000 miles per year or used 80% of working days**

All other vehicles

Vehicles assigned to an agency, office, individual or position.

10,000 miles per year


* While exempt from specific mileage requirements, agencies should maximize efficient and effective use of state owned vehicles when determining the number and nature of vehicles required.

** Seasonal fluctuations and employee availability (leave, temporary vacancies) are factors in determining work days available.

*** If a vehicle qualifies under multiple class types, frequency of use will be the primary consideration for class assignment.

12.20.30.d The permanent assignment of a vehicle to an employee for use on official state business is not in itself sufficient justification to utilize that vehicle for travel between duty station and home.


October 1, 2007

What happens if a vehicle does not meet the minimum usage requirements?

If a vehicle does not meet the annual days of use and/or mileage requirements, the agency shall review the vehicle use to determine the cause. The agency is allowed a three month grace period to demonstrate that the vehicle can meet the usage requirements. If the vehicle meets 25% of the annual use and/or mileage requirement during the three month grace period, continued permanent assignment is allowed. If the vehicle fails to meet 25% of the annual use and/or mileage requirements, the agency should:

  1. Reassign the vehicle to another use within the agency that will meet the usage requirements, or
  2. Return the vehicle to the State Motor Pool for reassignment, or
  3. Request a waiver. Refer to Subsection 12.20.30.c.

For vehicles that were in operation for less than one year, agencies have two options:

  1. They can annualize the mileage based on the average monthly mileage for the months in service, or
  2. They can use the grace period approach outlined in Subsection 12.20.32.a.


October 1, 2007

Information available on use of State Motor Pool vehicles

For all State Motor Pool vehicles that are assigned to agencies on a long term basis, the State Motor Pool is to annually provide information on miles driven and fuel usage to assist agencies in monitoring compliance with the provisions of this Chapter including:

  1. Efficient and effective use, and

  2. Permanent assignment.


July 1, 2006

When may an agency permit an employee to use a state-owned or leased vehicle between duty station and home?

Travel between the duty station and official residence may be approved by the agency head or authorized designee for any one of the following reasons:

  1. When storing the vehicle at an employee's residence is more advantageous or economical to the state than the purchase, lease, or rental of a commercial garage or other parking facility. The security and safety of state property is to be considered in determining the storage location of state-owned or leased vehicles.
  2. When an employee's home is also the official station.
  3. When an individual commences a trip prior to the opening time of a motor pool or when the individual returns from or completes a trip later than the closing time of the state or agency motor pool.
  4. When, because of darkness, late hour, isolated location, the area has a record of crime, there is a threat to the personal security of the employee, or there is a reasonable basis for fear or uneasiness of personal safety in returning a motor vehicle to a motor pool or to its customary storage area.
  5. When it is economical or advantageous to the state to allow such incidental travel in a state-owned or leased motor vehicle, or as part of a commute trip reduction program as required by RCW 70.94.551. (Also refer to RCW 43.41.140.)

The following situations of travel between duty station and official residence are in the best interests of the state and are exempt from the provisions of Subsection 12.20.35.a above:

  1. Use of motor vehicles by statewide elected officials in the Executive Branch of State Government.
  2. Use by commissioned Washington State Patrol personnel who regularly enforce traffic regulations on the public highways and other state employees whose primary assignment is to provide law enforcement.
  3. Use by other law enforcement or investigative employees or emergency highway maintenance employees who are on 24-hour call and whose duties require use of assigned motor vehicles during what would be classified as other than scheduled working hours. In this situation actual off-duty calls requiring use of the motor vehicle must average a minimum of 10 times per month per calendar quarter.

Requests for exceptions to the above criteria are to be submitted to the Director of the Office of Financial Management, with justification for each such exception. Refer to Subsection 1.10.40 for information on how to request a waiver.


Agencies should review current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 15B fringe benefit rules regarding the reporting, taxability, and value of operating a state motor vehicle between the employee's official duty station and official residence. Agencies should also review IRS regulation 1.274-5t(e) regarding special commuting rules for "control employees," as defined by the IRS.


January 1, 2012

Maintenance and repair of state-owned or leased motor vehicles

All state agencies having jurisdiction and control of state-owned or leased motor vehicles must establish and maintain a preventive maintenance program.


Agencies are to ensure all maintenance and repair of state-owned or leased motor vehicles is performed at a state facility whenever possible. When the repairs to be done are beyond the capabilities of state facilities, the operator/agency is to receive authority from the vehicle-issuing agency to have the repairs accomplished at a local contract facility.

Procedures for having contract or repair work performed may be obtained through the State Motor Pool. For more information about maintenance services, including emergency roadside assistance, visit the State Motor Pool's website at:


Within 48 hours of a vehicle accident that results in damage to a state vehicle, the owning agency must to forward a copy of the State of Washington Vehicle Accident Report (SF137) completed by the state driver to the Department of Enterprise Services, Office of Risk Management. The form is available online at:


Agencies are to contact the Washington State Department of Transportation, Risk Management Office when repair is needed for vehicle damage resulting from an accident. The owning agency should work with staff to determine whether any other party has liability for the agency’s damages before proceeding with repairs. If recovery of some or all of the cost of repairs can be allocated to the liability of other parties, claims should be filed against those parties and authorization to proceed with repairs obtained before repairs are made. If a fleet vehicle is damaged, also contact the appropriate motor pool.


July 1, 2006

Agencies must ensure information is available in the motor vehicle

Agencies must ensure the following information is available in every state-owned or leased motor vehicle not used in undercover work:

  1. Information regarding state repair and servicing facilities of state-owned or leased motor vehicles.
  2. Statement of operator's responsibilities.
  3. Accident and insurance report forms with instructions as to their preparation and disposition.
  4. Instructions for use of agency credit card.
  5. Emergency instructions.
  6. A copy of the State of Washington "Proof of Liability Insurance Washington State Agency Vehicle" card. This card provides a brief review of liability coverage provisions for state vehicles and is available online at:
  7. All documents for 15 or 12-passenger vans as outlined in Subsection 12.60.30.a of this manual.


July 1, 2006

What are the restrictions and responsibilities for using privately owned vehicles for official state business?

The agency head, or authorized designee, may authorize the use of a POV in the conduct of official state business when it is more advantageous or economical to the state that a person travel by a POV rather than a common carrier or a state-owned or leased motor vehicle. The state motor pool may provide cost comparison data to agencies as one guideline for assisting in making such a determination. Agencies, as part of their required positive system of control over travel, may adopt and use other guidelines for satisfying the "more advantageous or economical" criteria contained in RCW 43.03.060. Refer to Subsection 10.10.20


The agency will not reimburse for out-of-pocket costs for parking tickets, moving violations, or damages and insurance deductibles relating to POVs used on official state business. Refer to Subsection 10.20.20 for additional non-reimbursable costs.


July 1, 2007

Commute trip reduction

State agencies may, subject to appropriation and under the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules, use public funds to financially assist agency-approved incentives for alternative commute modes if the financial assistance is an element of the agency's commute trip reduction program as required under RCW 43.01.230 and RCWs 70.94.521 through 70.94.551. Alternatives may include, but are not limited to carpools, vanpools, purchase of transit and ferry passes, and emergency ride home programs.

This policy does not permit any payment for the use of state-owned vehicles for commuter ride-sharing. Refer to Subsection 12.20.60. Agencies should consult IRS regulations regarding the taxation of these benefits.

Under the following conditions, state-owned vehicles may be used for emergency ride home programs:

  • A state-owned vehicle is available and the employee is able to return the vehicle before it is needed by the agency, and
  • The employee is physically able to drive and possesses a valid driverís license.

For further information about the emergency ride home program, refer to the Commute Trip Reduction Guide online at:


July 1, 2007

When may an agency allow a state-owned motor vehicle to be used for commuter ride-sharing?

Agencies may allow for the use of state-owned motor vehicles for commuter ride-sharing so long as the pro-rata share of all capital depreciation and operational expense associated with the commuter ride-sharing arrangement is paid by the commuters, and does not infringe upon the use of the vehicle for other official state business. Refer to RCW 43.41.130.

Under certain circumstances, agencies may also allow for the use of state owned motor vehicles for emergency ride home programs. Refer to Subsection 12.20.50.


July 1, 2011

State vehicle use of Good To Go! passes

Agencies should use Good To Go! passes on state vehicles when it makes good business sense to do so. Factors that should be considered include:

  • Frequency of travel of a vehicle over tolled bridges,
  • Costs associated with non use of passes including increased employee travel time and higher toll rates; and
  • Costs/savings associated with use of passes including initial purchase costs, reduced employee travel time, and lower toll rates.

Agencies should actively manage/monitor their Good To Go! account. When replenishing the account, agencies should not exceed one monthís estimated usage. To avoid higher toll rates and fees associated with toll billings, agencies should maintain a positive balance in their Good To Go! account.

The preferred payment method for agencies operating through treasury and/or treasury trust accounts is via inter-agency payment (IAP).

For further information about Good To Go!, refer to the Washington State Department of Transportation's website at:


Use of High Occupancy Toll lanes.

Except as otherwise authorized in law or regulation, state owned vehicles shall utilize the High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes only when they meet the posted high occupancy vehicle (HOV) requirement (two passengers or more). If the state vehicle is equipped with a Good to Go! transponder, a transponder disabling device must be used. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) maintenance vehicles servicing the corridor are exempt from the posted HOV requirement.

For further information about the HOT lanes, refer to WSDOT's website at:

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