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University Policy 90

Use of Low Speed Vehicles on Campus

Approved by Executive Council: December 12, 2005
Posted: December 13, 2005

Policy Topic: Business Administration and Auxiliary Services
Administering Office: Administration and Finance


  1. Purpose - This policy provides guidelines regarding the acquisition and use of low-speed vehicles on the Western Carolina University campus. In addition to stating policy, this document establishes procedures for the registration of low-speed vehicles, limitations on use, safety, acquisition requirements, protection, and risk management issues.
  2. Definition - A low-speed vehicle is a vehicle that has a top speed of less than 35 miles per hour. Low-speed vehicles may include golf carts, golf cart-type utility vehicles, and gator-type utility vehicles.


  1. Policy - The acquisition, use, and parking of low-speed vehicles at Western Carolina University is limited to University departments and University contractors with a valid business need as determined by the appropriate academic/administrative officer (Provost, Vice Chancellor or Chief of Staff). Those departments or contractors operating low-speed vehicles are expected to comply with all provisions of this document.
  2. Valid-Business Need - Valid business need is defined as: transporting personnel, equipment, and/or supplies for University purposes when other transportation means are unavailable or problematic; or transporting employees, students, and/or guests with temporary or permanent disability-related needs. Valid business need does not include the personal use of low-speed vehicles for transportation or pleasure.
  3. Authorized Operators - Operation of low-speed vehicles is restricted to University employees and students designated by the Department Head. Each department shall maintain a current list of approved operators.


  1. Approved Areas on Campus - Low speed vehicles shall travel on University roads and streets. Additionally, low-speed vehicles may be operated in University parking lots.
  2. Prohibited Areas on Campus - Generally, low-speed vehicles should not be operated on sidewalks except to cross them to access other areas. Additionally, low-speed vehicles should not be operated on the grass except when necessary for a temporary detour. Low-speed vehicles may not be operated on streets or road where the speed limit exceeds 35 miles per hour, except to cross such street or road.
  3. Parking - Parking is allowed only in designated Loading Zones and Service Vehicle spaces. Parking is prohibited on sidewalks and grass. When parking, the operator of the slow-moving vehicle is expected to conform to University parking rules.


  1. Procurement - Procurement of low-speed vehicles shall be in accordance with guidelines and procedures established through the Purchasing Department. The owner department is responsible for all operating costs including annual insurance premiums.
  2. Specifications - Low-speed vehicles must be equipped with: headlamps, stop lamps, turn signal lamps, tail lamps, horn, reflex reflectors, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, windshields, and a roof-mounted white or yellow flashing or strobe light.
    Vehicles currently owned or used by a department or contractor on University streets on the date this policy is enacted must comply with these requirements within six months of that date unless the appropriate academic or administrative officer determines upgrades are not cost-effective or the vehicle will not be operated on University streets. All vehicles acquired after the date that this policy is enacted must comply with these specifications.
  3. Licensure, Insurance, and Markings - If available, liability insurance is required and collision insurance is recommended. Operators of low-speed vehicles must possess a valid operator’s driver’s license. Additionally, the Department or Contractor responsible for the low-speed vehicles shall have it conspicuously marked with the department’s or contractor’s name readily readable while the vehicle is traveling. It is the responsibility of the Department Head, or his or her designee, to ensure compliance with these requirements.


  1. General - Low-speed vehicles shall not be operated in a manner that may endanger occupants or nearby individuals and property.
  2. Speed Limits - Operators shall not exceed the posted or designated speed limit when operating the low-speed vehicle on any street, road, or parking lot. In areas of congestion, operators must reduce speed to the equivalent of a slow walking pace.
  3. Traffic Laws and Defensive Driving - Operators shall operate low-speed vehicles in compliance with all applicable laws and University traffic and parking rules. Additionally, operators shall operate low-speed vehicles in a safe and responsible manner with due regard for the driving conditions.
  4. Passenger Limit and Load Capability - Operators shall ensure that the number of passengers and their seating arrangement and/or the weight, type, and placement of the load do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  5. Operator and Passenger Safety - Operators and passengers must keep their head, legs, and arms inside the cab area of the low-speed vehicle. Operators and passengers should not step or jump from the vehicle until it has stopped moving.
  6. Lights - The low-speed vehicle’s lights, including the white or amber strobe light, are to be illuminated whenever the vehicle is in motion. This section does not apply to low-speed vehicles that may be used by the Police Department when engaging in patrol or enforcement activities.
  7. Training - No University employee or student shall operate a low speed vehicle unless he or she has successfully completed an approved course of training as designated by the University’s Director of Risk Management and Safety.
  8. Protection - Each operator of a low-speed vehicle shall ensure that, when the low-speed vehicle is not in use, the low-speed vehicle is secured with the key removed. Further, each operator shall park the low-speed vehicle in a location that minimizes the opportunity for theft or vandalism to the low-speed vehicle. Permanently mounted boxes or cabs that can be secured, should be secured.
  9. Violations and Complaints - Operators who violate state law while operating the low-speed vehicle may receive a state traffic citation requiring their appearance in Jackson County District Court to respond to the charge(s). Complaints against unsafe or improper driving or parking behavior for which a citation is not issued are to be directed to the Department Head with documented action taken as a result of the complaint. The Department Head should assess, based upon a substantiated complaint, whether the operator should be allowed to continue operating the low-speed vehicle.


  1. Routine Maintenance - Department Chairs or Heads shall ensure that any low-speed vehicle assigned to their department is routinely inspected and maintained as recommended by the manufacturer to ensure that the low-speed vehicle is in proper working order. If available, a maintenance agreement should be purchased for the low-speed vehicle.
  2. Disabled Vehicle - If a low-speed vehicle becomes disabled in a location other than where it is routinely stored when not in use, the operator is to notify his or her supervisor and the Facilities Management Department for assistance in moving the vehicle. If the low-speed vehicle is obstructing a University street or road, the Police Department is to be summoned to assist with traffic control until the low-speed vehicle can be moved.


  1. Roadway - Crashes that occur on the University’s streets, roadways, or parking lots are to be reported to the Police Department.
  2. Elsewhere - Crashes that occur elsewhere are to be reported to the University’s Director of Risk Management and Safety.
  3. Vandalism - Incidents of vandalism are to be reported to the Police Department.
  4. Damage - Non-criminal incidents of damage are to be reported in writing to the Department Head of the department responsible for the vehicle.


It is the responsibility of the Department Head of any department that operates a low-speed vehicle to ensure compliance with this policy.


This policy will expire as of January 1, 2007 unless an extension is authorized by the Chancellor.

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