(Revised February, 10, 2010)

1.   Driving Policy Statement

It is the policy of San Mateo County to promote the safety of our drivers and to protect County resources, employees and the public from vehicular harm or incident. To help achieve this, the County has a Safe Driver Program that outlines measures to authorize, educate, and monitor County drivers.

2.   County Driving Privileges

Driving for the County is a privilege and requires that County drivers be familiar with and adhere to the policies and expectations that are outlined within the County’s Safe Driver Program. County employees are expected to always drive County vehicles and their own vehicles while conducting County business in compliance with speed limits, to drive defensively, and to exhibit courtesy and consideration towards pedestrians and other drivers.

3.   County Driver Expectations

Employees who drive for County business are expected to represent the County in a professional, courteous and law-abiding manner. The following points represent key expectations:

  1. Adherence to California Vehicle Code
  2. Maintain a California driver license, and a Commercial driver license, if applicable, in valid and good standing
  3. Awareness of high public visibility when driving County vehicles
  4. Prompt reporting of accidents, violations, and tickets issued while conducting County business to supervisors and managers
  5. Be familiar with and follow Department specific policies and procedures related to driving

4.   Use of County Vehicles

The County has a fleet of over 1,000 vehicles, including heavy equipment such as industrial trucks and commercial class vehicles. Employees must have a current and valid CA driver license of the appropriate class and Department approval or Risk Management authorization, as required, to operate a County vehicle.

*NOTE: Only Contractors, Unpaid Interns and Volunteers need to complete the application form at the bottom of this page and submit it to Risk Management. County employees do NOT need to submit this form.

5.   Driver Safety Awareness

Safe driving is the responsibility of the driver. There are safety considerations a driver must be aware of to enhance their personal safety and the safety of others. Such considerations include how to drive defensively, how to avoid aggressive and distracted driving, how to recognize the warning signs of fatigue, and how to adjust driving behavior for weather conditions.

6.   County Vehicle Insurance Coverage

The County is self-insured for all County-owned motor vehicles and heavy equipment under guidelines of the State of California. Because the County is self-insured, vehicle accidents resulting in bodily harm or property damage of $750 or more will be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

7.   Personal Vehicle Insurance Coverage

For employees who drive personal vehicles to conduct County business, your personal insurance is primary at all times. Adequate collision, personal injury, and property damage insurance coverage is required by the State of California Vehicle Code. If you have questions pertaining to your personal insurance coverage, please contact your appropriate insurance company representative.

8.   When to Report a Vehicle Accident

Employees must immediately notify their supervisor or manager of any accident involving a County vehicle or personal vehicle while conducting County business. For County-owned vehicles, the employee is to complete a Vehicle Accident Report (see Accident Reporting Kit section) to document the details of the accident and to report to the local law enforcement agency when required. An incident report is to be completed for accidents that involve personal vehicles.

9.   Policy for Investigating Violations and Complaints

The County has an established policy for investigating violations and complaints, as well as providing early notification to employees of problems concerning driving records. The policy includes notification to supervisors if problems continue, and in some cases, may include corrective/disciplinary action as warranted depending on the specific circumstances.

As with any employee relations matter, each incident is investigated and appropriate action is taken on a case-by-case basis. The general criteria for reviewing violations and investigating complaints is as follows:

  1. Liability exposure
  2. Seriousness of the offense
  3. Number of offenses
  4. Frequency of offenses

10. Employees Who Receive a Ticket or Toll Violation While Driving a County Vehicle

Any employee who receives a ticket or toll violation while driving a County vehicle or personal vehicle (for approved County business) is responsible to pay any and all related penalty fines and to make any and all Court appearances. Employees are to immediately report any tickets received while conducting County business to their supervisor or manager.

County employees are not exempt from receiving tickets for violations while driving County vehicles, including violations such as:

  1. Moving violations (speeding, street lights, stop signs, cell phone use, etc.)
  2. Parking and Street Cleaning
  3. Bridge Toll
  4. Diamond Lane/Carpool Lane
  5. Disabled Parking
  6. No Parking Zone

11. Driver Training

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office offers a Defensive Vehicle Driving Course for County employees. The Defensive Vehicle Driving course is a 1-day (8 hour) session that includes the following:

  1. Lecture presentation of vehicle dynamics and defensive driving
  2. Skill development exercises:
    1. Accident avoidance
    2. Slalom Techniques
    3. Entry/Exit
  3. Defensive driving exercises with interactive commentary from an instructor
  4. Written test and evaluation
  5. Certificate of completion