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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Motor Vehicles : 4:03:02:00

Policy/Guideline Area

Business and Finance Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges, Universities, System Office


The purpose of this policy is to establish the minimum regulations and procedures concerning the maintenance and operation of motor vehicles by institutions and employees of the institutions within the Tennessee Board of Regents System.


  • State vehicle or motor vehicle - any motor vehicle owned by the Board or an institution or college of applied technology in the System, or purchased or leased from state funds.
  • Institution - any university, or community college, or college of applied technology within the Tennessee Board of Regents System, and the offices of the Board of Regents.
  • Employee - any person employed full or part-time by an institution or any person serving as an ‘official volunteer’ at an institution. An ‘official volunteer’ is defined as a person whom the institution has properly registered with the Tennessee Board of Claims pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-42-101(3)(B).


  1. General Provisions
    1. Motor vehicles are maintained at institutions in the System to facilitate the official business of the System. It is the responsibility of all employees who use state vehicles to ensure the efficient and economical utilization of such vehicles.
    2. All state vehicles shall be used in accordance with the provisions of this policy.
    3. All state vehicles shall be marked in accordance with the current TBR Marking Plan as contained in Attachment A.
  2. Presidents, Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Legal Counsel, and TCAT Directors
    1. The presidents of the institutions, the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Legal Counsel, and TCAT Directors may be provided an  assigned motor vehicle for their use or receive an automobile allowance. The terms of such use shall be set forth in their respective employment agreements or letters.
  3. Motor Pools
    1. Each institution is authorized to maintain a central motor pool from which vehicles may be dispatched by employees for official business.
    2. When motor pool vehicles are maintained, an employee who needs to use a motor vehicle on state business shall use a pool dispatched vehicle if one is available, unless the employee elects and obtains authorization to use a personally-owned vehicle as provided in the Board's General Travel Policies and Procedures (No. 4:03:03:00).
    3. Motor pool vehicles shall be available for either trip assignments or special assignments.
      1. Motor pool vehicles available for trip assignments will be centrally controlled by the institution and made available for specific trips and returned to the motor pool upon completion of trips and shall be used only for official business and not for personal use.
      2. Special assignment of motor pool vehicles may be made to a division or a person when necessary for use on a regular basis.
      3. Motor pool vehicles, including those used for trip assignments and special assignments may not be used for commuting purposes unless the employee:
        1. Is departing upon or returning from an official trip away from his or her headquarters or the employee needs the vehicle to conduct institution business after regular working hours or before his or her usual working hours on the next day; or
        2. Has been recommended by the president or director and approved by the Chancellor to be authorized to use the vehicle for commuting purposes.
  4. Authorized Operators and Passengers
    1. Only employees of an institution with proper departmental authorization may be authorized to operate a state vehicle for official business. Authorization to use a state vehicle shall be limited to official use within the scope of employment of the employee.
    2. All employees must have a valid driver's license prior to being authorized to operate a state vehicle.
    3. Passengers in state vehicles shall be limited to the following:
      1. Employees of the institution when within the scope of employment;
      2. Students of the institution engaged in institutional or school sponsored activities; and
      3. Other persons when it is necessary for them to accompany an employee on official business or as guests of the institution. The spouse and children of employees generally are not considered a guest of the institution unless their attendance is required at the event and they are listed on approved travel authorizations. This provision does not apply to those positions listed in Section II.A. 
  5. Penalties for Misuse of Vehicles
    1. Employees who misuse vehicles will be subject to disciplinary sanctions, depending upon the magnitude of the misuse and the frequency with which it has occurred. Misuse includes any of the following:
      1. Utilization of radar detection devices in state vehicles;
      2. Violations of traffic laws; this includes exceeding posted speed limits, reckless driving, and illegal parking;
      3. Careless operation that results in damage to the vehicle or injury to persons or property;
      4. Use of a vehicle for personal business or unauthorized commuting purposes; or
      5. Use of a vehicle contrary to the provisions of this policy.
    2. The president or director of the institution, or the Chancellor should determine the penalty appropriate for each violation; and in addition may require the employee to pay for damages to the vehicle caused by misuse.
  6. Notice of Liability and Penalties for Misuse
    1. A notice of liability and penalties for misuse of motor vehicles (Exhibit 1) shall be posted at the site where vehicles are normally checked out, and be contained in each vehicle for the benefit of drivers.
  7. Exceptions
    1. Any exception to this policy must be approved in writing by the Chancellor.

Attachment A

  1. Marking Plan for State Vehicles
    1. The provisions of the marking plan for licensed vehicles are as follows:
      1. All institutions will develop and/or affix their own individual decal containing a minimum surface area of sixty square inches to all licensed vehicles.
      2. The identifying emblem will be displayed on the passenger and driver’s door unless otherwise stated. Some vans will be marked on the side at mid-panel height, and some institutions will further identify the vehicle as security, maintenance, etc.
      3. Vehicles assigned to the chancellor, vice chancellors, legal counsel, presidents, and directors will carry regular series license plates and no decal identification.
    2. These provisions will remain in full effect until revoked or altered in writing by the Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Source: Memorandum dated February 28, 1986, from Chancellor Thomas J. Garland to the State Commissioners of Finance and Administration and General Services



TBR Meetings, June 29, 1979; June 27, 1980; September 30, 1983; June 29, 1984; June 27, l986; June 24, 1988; September 21, 1990; March 18, 2005; June29, 2007; Board Meeting, September 26, 2014; Board Meeting March 27, 2015.

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