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Policy No: 2024
Responsible Office: Safety & Environmental Compliance
Last Review Date: 05/12/2022
Next Required Review: 05/12/2027

Low Speed Vehicles

1. Purpose

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration specifies requirements for low speed vehicles (Golf Cart, Utility, and All-Terrain Vehicles). The law requires that golf carts, utility and all-terrain vehicles that travel on public access streets, roads and highways must meet certain safety requirements. For the purpose of this policy any vehicle with a maximum speed attainable not exceeding (25 miles per hour) and not registered and licensed with AL-DMV will be classified as a "low-speed vehicle".

2. Applicability

This policy is applicable to all USA employees and contractors that meet the requirements set for the safe use of a low speed vehicle (Golf Cart, Utility, and All-Terrain Vehicles).

3. Definitions

AL-DMV: Alabama Department of Motor Vehicle.

Low-Speed Vehicle: Golf carts, utility and all terrain equipment that operate at speeds not to exceed 25 miles per hour.

Public Access Streets: Roads or highways on which regular vehicular traffic is permitted.

Operators: Individuals who drive and or utilize a low-speed vehicle.

Decal: self-adhesive sticker with a printed identifying number or code.

Right-of-way: A public right-of-way in the form of a footpath, bridge or walkway provided to pedestrians.

Occupants: For the purpose of this policy, occupants will be passengers who are riding on a low-speed vehicle.

4. Policy Guidelines

4.1  Scope

Operators of low-speed vehicles must possess a valid driver's license, and must sign the authorization statement accompanying this policy prior to operating a low-speed vehicle. Only individuals with specific permission may operate a low-speed vehicle on a University of South Alabama campus. Low-speed vehicles are not to be operated, for any reason, by persons not affiliated with the University, or persons not possessing a valid driver's license. The only students permitted to operate a low-speed vehicle are student employees with supervisor authorization. Low-speed vehicles must only be utilized by student employees in the performance of their employment-related duties. Guests and/or conference attendees may be permitted, on a case-by-case basis, to operate University managed low-speed vehicles based upon authorization by the Department of Safety and Environmental Compliance in coordination with the sponsoring department.

4.2  Policy

Policy for safe use and operation of golf carts, utility and or all-terrain vehicles on any of the University of South Alabama Campuses.

4.2.1  Before operating a low-speed vehicle, operators must perform basic vehicle checks, tire condition and inflation, brakes effectiveness and such as general vehicle safety features. If the low-speed vehicle is in need of repair or maintenance, it must not be driven until all deficiencies are corrected.

4.2.2  All low-speed vehicles must have the following:

      • A decal or sign identifying the assigned department with a unique number;
      • A functioning strobe light mounted at the highest point on the unit.

4.2.3  Low-speed vehicles may be operated on University roadways only if they are equipped with warning lights and operators follow established motor vehicle laws. Sidewalks should be used only where roadways are not available or traffic patterns create an increased hazard. Blocking entrances/exits to buildings, stairways, handicap ramps or main thoroughfares is prohibited.

4.2.4  Low-speed vehicles are not to be operated on streets or roads with posted speed limits higher than 30 mph and are restricted to the boundaries of a University campus.

4.2.5  Vehicles shall not be operated in a manner that may endanger passengers or other individuals or damage University property. All low-speed vehicles must travel in the direction of regular vehicular traffic and must obey all campus traffic regulations and posted signs. Vehicles must not attempt to pass other motor vehicles, including other moving low-speed vehicles unless the vehicle is stopped in a roadway. Operators shall stop low-speed vehicles at blind intersections and use caution before proceeding. Operators of low-speed vehicles which are not equipped with turn indicators shall use appropriate hand signals.

4.2.6  Neither operators nor passengers may be under the influence of alcoholic beverages or medications that cause impairment while operating a low-speed vehicle. Intoxication over the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle while operating a low-speed vehicle is a serious offense.

4.2.7  Operators of low-speed vehicles must give pedestrians the right-of-way. Operators are to maintain adequate distance between vehicles and/or pedestrians. If the low-speed vehicle is operating on a sidewalk, the operator will either pull off the sidewalk to pass the pedestrian or stop the unit until the pedestrian has passed.

4.2.8  Occupancy shall not exceed the passenger limit and load capacity designated by the vehicle manufacturer. Under no circumstances is anyone permitted to ride standing in or on the back of a low-speed vehicle. Any and all modifications to a low-speed vehicle must be approved and performed by the appropriate campus Transportation and or Maintenance department. Contractors should refer to an authorized service provider for any low-speed vehicle service or modifications.

4.2.9  Occupants of low-speed vehicles must keep hands, heads, legs, and feet within the unit at all times while in motion. Use of seat belts is mandatory if provided.

4.2.10  Operators may not wear headphones or headsets while operating low-speed vehicles. Hearing protection is required for some lawn care equipment such as mowers.

4.2.11  Operators are required to take the vehicle operation keys and set the brakes when leaving the unit. Operators shall be responsible for the security of operation keys for the period the unit is assigned to them.

4.2.12  Failure by operators to follow this policy and all University traffic laws may result in corrective and/or disciplinary action or to be cause for removal of vehicles from use on University campuses.

4.2.13  Operators must know where they are permitted to operate low-speed vehicles while on University campuses.

4.2.14  Operators are required to immediately report any and all accidents to their direct supervisors who will assist in completing a University accident report. Incidents involving other vehicles or while operating on public access roads must be reported to University Police officials.

4.3  Responsible Position/Enforcement

Supervisors shall ensure that every employee, student, and guest within their unit who is authorized to operate low-speed vehicles is appropriately advised of all the requirements of the University Policy and obtain a signed statement attesting their familiarity with the policy. Failure to abide by this policy may result in disciplinary action and/or a traffic citation.

5. Procedures

Supervisors shall ensure that every employee, student, and guest within their unit who is authorized to operate low-speed vehicles is appropriately advised of all the requirements of the University Policy and obtain a signed statement attesting their familiarity with the policy.

To access the Policy Acknowledgment Form please refer to the link in the "Related Documents" section of this policy.

6. Enforcement

Failure to abide by this policy may result in disciplinary action and/or a traffic citation.

7. Related Documents

Low Speed Vehicle Policy Acknowledgment Form