Frequently Asked Questions about the Use of Government Vehicles

321 FW 1
Exhibit 3, 321 FW 1, 2/22/2016
Originating Office
Safety Operations

1. May contractors use Government vehicles? Yes. The Federal Management Regulation (FAR) 102-34.230 and Service Manual (see Part 320) explain that contractors may operate Government vehicles if they meet the training/licensing/liability requirements. Service Manual chapter 321 FW 1 states that we do not allow them to operate Service vehicles or motor equipment unless we have a signed contract or agreement clause to cover issues of liability and insurance. They must also complete all required training, use applicable safety equipment, and follow the requirements in 243 FW 1-6 (see FAR 45.304).

2. May partners and State agencies use Government vehicles? Yes, if a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), cooperative agreement, mutual aid agreement, or some similar agreement is established with language that limits the Service’s responsibility for any damage, injury, or tort claims. An example of such language is in 321 FW 1, section 1.7D.

3. May volunteers operate Government vehicles? Yes. We describe this situation in 321 FW 1, section 1.7B and Part 320 of the Service Manual.  A Volunteer Service Agreement must be signed, a written authorization from the Project Leader obtained, and all the other Service driving requirements fulfilled.

4. What are some of the general requirements to operate a Government motor vehicle? 321 FW 1 outlines operator requirements. In short, operators must be at least 18 years old, have a valid State driver’s license from the State where they permanently reside, follow all State laws and requirements, be authorized by their supervisor, and have taken required training, such as defensive driving. Requirements are more strict for those driving commercial vehicles.

5. May non-employees ride as passengers in Government vehicles? Yes, 243 FW 1, section 1.8 and 320 FW 5, allow transport of authorized passengers (employees, volunteers, invitational travelers, etc.). 320 FW 5 specifically states, “…may transport people from other Federal agencies and non-Federal employees when conducting official business when it benefits the Government and does not interfere with accomplishing your primary business.”

6. May employees, volunteers, and Pathway students use vehicles for other than official duties, i.e., take vehicles home or run errands? No, they cannot use Service motor vehicles for personal errands or shopping unrelated to work unless on temporary duty assignment or travel. Special provisions must be made for using a Government vehicle to go to and from work, and it must benefit the Service and be approved by the Secretary. See 320 FW 3.