320 FW 4
Receiving Newly Acquired Motor Vehicles

Supersedes 320 FW 4,

FWM 073, 03/11/93

Date:  October 31, 2008

Series: Vehicle and Equipment Management

Part 320: Motor Vehicle Management

Originating Office: Division of Contracting and Facilities Management



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4.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter describes what we must do after we acquire a motor vehicle to prepare it for use. 


4.2 What is the scope of this chapter? This chapter applies to all motor vehicles we own, lease, or manage through other means.


4.3 What are the authorities for this chapter? See 320 FW 1.3 for a list of authorities for all the chapters in Part 320. 


4.4 What terms do you need to know to understand this chapter? See 320 FW 1.5 if you need a definition for a term used in this chapter.


4.5 Who is responsible for receiving and preparing newly acquired motor vehicles? We describe our general responsibilities for motor vehicle management in 320 FW 1.6. Following are our specific responsibilities for receiving motor vehicles.


A.  Regional Property Managers:


(1) Implement the overall vehicle acquisition and preparation process (see 320 FW 2 and 3),


(2) Obtain license plates and Service identification decals for newly acquired vehicles,


(3) Distribute motor vehicle operators’ packets, and


(4) Monitor compliance with identification requirements for Service motor vehicles. 


B. Accountable Officers. The manager of every duty station with motor vehicles may be the Accountable Officer or he/she designates an Accountable Officer. Accountable Officers are responsible for:


(1) Maintaining records on all the vehicles for which he/she is responsible,

(2) Designating a Receiving Officer for the duty station, and


(3) Ensuring motor vehicles are prepared for use. 


C. The Receiving Officer receives motor vehicles and ensures they meet specifications.


4.6 How are new vehicles delivered to duty stations?  


A. In most cases, the General Services Administration (GSA) delivers motor vehicles through a local dealership and the Receiving Officer picks it up (see section 4.7).


B. GSA may make arrangements for a direct delivery to a duty station for:


(1) Special order vehicles not serviced by a typical dealership, or


(2) Undercover law enforcement vehicles where anonymity is important. Contact your Regional Property Manager for details about this delivery option.


4.7 What are the procedures that duty station employees must follow when receiving motor vehicles purchased through GSA? After GSA processes a purchase request through AutoChoice (see 320 FW 3), GSA emails an order acknowledgement with the expected delivery date to the Regional Property Manager and the duty station point of contact.   


A. When the vehicle arrives at the dealership, the dealer calls the duty station to tell them that the vehicle has arrived.   


B. The Receiving Officer:


(1) Inspects the vehicle to ensure it meets the ordered specifications and is in proper operating condition,


(2) Ensures the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and the contract and purchase order numbers match the numbers GSA provides,


(3) If the vehicle meets specifications, signs dealership paperwork and takes the vehicle to the duty station, or


(4) If the vehicle does not meet specifications, refuses the vehicle using form SF 368, Product Quality Deficiency Report.


C. The Receiving Officer uses Receiving Report, Form DI-102, to:


(1) Document the receipt of the motor vehicle, and


(2) Certify that the vehicle is in use at the correct destination.


D. The Receiving Officer gives the completed Form DI-102 to the Accountable Officer.


E. Accountable Officers must establish accountability records for the vehicle immediately after the Receiving Officer completes the DI-102.


4.8 What kind of tags and identification are required for newly acquired motor vehicles?

All Service-owned and leased vehicles (unless exempt) must display the statements “for official use only” and “U.S. Government” on an official U.S. Government license plates (CFR 41 102.34-110).  “For Government use only” stickers are no longer required.


A. The plates must:


(1) Stay on the vehicles until we remove them from service, transfer them to another bureau or agency, or until the plates become lost, damaged or defaced to the point that replacement is necessary.   


(2) Be mounted on the front and rear of the vehicle except for motorcycles, which require only a rear plate.


B. Certain Programs with high visibility to the public may add agency stickers or logos.


4.9 When is a vehicle exempt from the display of Government tags?  A vehicle is exempt from the display of U.S. Government tags when the vehicle is used primarily for investigations, law enforcement, or intelligence duties involving security activities, or when the safety of the vehicle’s occupants is a factor. 


A.  The Assistant Director – Business Management and Operations approves exemptions from displaying U.S. Government tags when the U.S. Government identification may endanger the security of individuals or interfere with the purpose for which the motor vehicle is used.


B. The written request must state that:


(1) The motor vehicle will be used primarily for investigative, law enforcement, and intelligence duties involving security activities; or


(2) There is a concern for the safety of the vehicle’s occupants and that conspicuous identification will interfere with or endanger the security of the individual or the U.S. Government.


C. Exemptions are limited to 1 year. Resubmit requests, if necessary, at the end of the exemption period. 


D. Undercover law enforcement vehicles are always exempt.


4.10 How do we obtain, transfer, and remove and destroy plates? The Accountable Officer is responsible for vehicle tags and should coordinate disposal with the Regional Property Manager.


A. Obtaining plates. The Regional Property Manager purchases U.S. Government plates in bulk or individually from Federal Prison Industries, Incorporated.  He/she sends the plates to the Accountable Officer for each newly acquired vehicle.


B. Transferring plates:


(1) Transfers within the Service. Vehicles transferred to other installations within the Service may keep the same plates unless the Regional Property Manager requires different plates. When the transfer takes place, the Regional Property Manager must update the vehicle inventory database.


(2) Transfers to other bureaus or agencies. Before transferring vehicles to another bureau or Federal agency, the duty station staff must remove and destroy the plates.

C. Removing and destroying plates.


(1) The Accountable Officer must make sure that plates are removed and destroyed.


(2) Damaged or defaced plates that cannot be easily read at a distance of 100 feet must be:


(a) Destroyed to prevent reuse,


(b) Documented using a Form DI-103a, Certificate of Unserviceable Property (send a copy to the Regional Property Manager), and


(c) Replaced (request new plates from the Regional Property Manager).


(3) The Accountable Officer must inform the Regional Property Manager whenever plates are lost, stolen, or permanently removed from service.


(4) The Regional Property Manager notifies the Division of Contracting and Facilities Management (CFM). The Regional Property Manager and CFM update the Regional and national databases with the information about the disposition of the plate.


(5) For a State-issued plate that is lost or stolen, the Regional Property Manager must report the loss or theft to local security personnel and to the appropriate State agency.


D. Leased vehicles. Official agency identification is not required for leased vehicles. If we place decals on leased vehicles, we must pay for removal and any necessary restoration. Contact the Regional Property Manager for Regional policy.


E. Special markings. We may use special markings to identify ambulances and vehicles used in emergency or law enforcement operations. The installation of these markings must comply with Regional guidelines.


F. Removal of Legend and Department/Service Identification. When we remove a motor vehicle from Government service, we must remove all Government identification markings (decals, emblems, special markings, etc.).


4.11 What documentation and other material should we put in all newly acquired vehicles?


A. The Regional Property Manager must send an operator’s packet to the Accountable Officer for each newly acquired vehicle. The Accountable Officer ensures the packet remains in the vehicle. An operator’s packet includes the following:


(1) A statement of the driver's responsibilities, including the requirement that Government-owned, leased, or otherwise managed vehicles are for official use only.


(2) Fleet charge card (see 320 FW 5 for more information).


(3) Government Vehicle Operator’s Guide, which includes instructions for:


(a) Procuring routine supplies, services, and maintenance;


(b) Locating stations for obtaining alternative fuel, gasoline, and oil;


(c) Procuring emergency supplies, services, and repairs; and


(d) Reporting accidents.


(4) Cross-servicing maintenance and fuel agreements with other Federal agencies, if applicable (see 320 FW 6).


(5) Accident Reporting Kit which contains:


(a) SF 91, Motor Vehicle Accident Report.


(b) SF 94, Statement of Witness.


(c) Form DI-134, Report of Accident/Incident.


(5) Certificate of Origin (see section 4.12).


B.  The Accountable Officer also ensures the vehicles are equipped with the required safety equipment and first aid kits (see 243 FW 1).


4.12 Where does the Service keep the Certificate of Origin for newly acquired vehicles? The Certificate of Origin serves as the title of the vehicle. Typically, we do not receive a title issued by a State.


A. The Accountable Officer keeps the original certificate in the file for the vehicle. The certificate shows identification (such as the Vehicle Identification Number) and ownership information (such as transfers and disposals).  A copy of the certificate should be kept in the vehicle glove box.


B.  The Certificate of Origin may not be adequate for vehicles we routinely use in Mexico. Mexican officials may ask the driver to produce a title for the vehicle, and they may not accept the certificate. Managers of duty stations that routinely travel between the United States and Mexico should contact the Regional Property Manager to determine if a Certificate of Origin will suffice to cross the border.


For information on the content of this chapter, contact the Division of Contracting and Facilities Management. For additional information about this Web site, contact Krista_Bibb, in the Division of Policy and Directives Management.  

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