Driver Safety

The Defensive Driver Safety Program establishes rules and regulations on driving privileges for University Employees who drive State (including rentals, leased vehicles, power carts, and 10+ passenger vans), or privately-owned vehicles, for University business purposes.

Only University employees, enrolled student employees, and official volunteers age 18 and over (age 21 and over for rental vehicles), in compliance with Cal Poly's Driver Safety Policy and with the following minimum criteria may drive for University business:

  • Approved Request to Operate a Vehicle on University Business application
  • Valid State Driver's License
  • Good driving record as defined by the Cal Poly Driver Safety Policy
  • Completed Defensive Driver Training, and if applicable, Powered Cart Safety Training and/or Van Driver Training
  • Proof of Insurance (for personal vehicle use)
  • Completed STD261 Form on file with Department for personal vehicle use

Temporary Agency employees are not authorized to drive for University business.

Drivers only register once no matter how many supervisors or departments they drive for. However, we do request that you notify us of the various departments you drive for, if you will be driving a different type of vehicle than your original application, and the names of your supervisors.

Note: Supervisors must be Department Heads, Department Chairs or MPP’s.

Required Documents and Processes

PRESTEP: Complete the Volunteer Verification Form if you are not a State Employee

  • What is a “volunteer”

    Who is a Volunteer?

    A volunteer is a person who is not directly employed by Cal Poly SLO (state). All CPC or ASI faculty/staff/student employees, community members, and student (non-employees) are considered Volunteers and are required to fill out the Volunteer/Person of Interest form with a University supervisor/MPP and submit that form to Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) prior to conducting ANY volunteer duties. Auxiliary employees signed up as Volunteers must complete the State Driver Safety Program Policy and Procedures, including trainings and application.

    Note: Volunteer appointment is a prerequisite and must be completed before applying to drive on University business.

STEP ONE: Complete the following mandatory trainings:

Defensive Driver Program

Powered Cart Safety Training

Additional required training for powered cart drivers

DGS-Van Driver Training

Additional required training for
van drivers

STEP TWO: Fully complete and submit your application

Fully complete the Request to Operate a Vehicle on University Business Application Form and DMV Employee Pull Notification Program Authorization

Request to Operate a Vehicle on University Business Application
  • Attach your Driver's License
  • Attach your Driving Record if you have an out of state license *note there may be a charge for pulling your out of state driving record (how to find driving record)
  • Attach your certificate(s) of completed training(s)
  • Attach your executed Volunteer Verification form, if you are not a State Employee
  • Obtain your Supervisor's Approval Signature (Dept. Head/Char or MPP)
  • The application and documents will be automatically routed to Driver Safety (driversafety@calpoly.edu)

Note: You are not authorized to drive on University Business until you have received notification of approval from Risk Management. Due to high request volume, please submit applications and supplemental documentation at least 30 days prior to travel.

STEP THREE: Driving Authorization Notice sent from Risk Management

  • Upon receipt of your driving record, Risk Management will review your application and supplemental documents.
  • Management will notify you to confirm the status of your application.
  • For employees (not including student employees) approvals will be granted for 3 years.
  • For student employees and volunteers, approvals will be granted for 1 year.

STEP FOUR: Review and comply with all guidelines. Safe Travels!

Cal Poly SLO Driver Safety Policy Manual

CSU - Use of University & Private Vehicles Guidelines

Note: Driving on University Business is a privilege and can be suspended or revoked.

  • Verifying your Driver Safety Status

    Individuals Authorized to drive on University Business for the state are responsible for ensuring that their authorizations and paperwork stay current. To ensure that you are in active/current status please visit the Authorized Drivers List (the list will be updated quarterly) and can be found here.

    This page requires that you first authenticate with the Cal Poly Portal.

    Portal Login

    Please note: from the date of your first approval, you are only approved to drive for 3 years (1 year for student employees and volunteers). When your authorization has expired, you will need to process steps 1-3 again.

    For reference, the expiration dates to mark on your calendar are as follows:

    • Defensive Driving Certificate (DDC)- course certificate: 3 years from the date YOU completed the course, not the date you submitted to our office to process. (required)
    • Driver's License: the expiration date listed on the DL. (required)
    • STD 261: 1 year from the date YOU signed the form, not your MPP or the date you submitted to our office to process. (required for driving personal vehicles for University business)
  • Hands-Free Communications

    Hands-Free Communications: Talking- VS- Video Conferencing (ZOOM with video on):

    If you are on the road or on the go, and you are required to be on a video call, you must pull over in a safe spot to join the meeting.

    • Under Veh Code 23123.5
      • A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.
    • Under Veh Code 27602
      • A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver's seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.
  • Accidents, Damage, Liability and Use

    The University participates in the State of California automobile liability program. This program provides for payment for expenses, defense and third party bodily injury and/or property damage on behalf of the University and its employees related to the operation of state-owned automobiles within the course and scope of employment. Cost of repair for damages to state-owned vehicles when it is determined the state driver is "at fault" shall be a responsibility at the program management level. (link to APD – still in process- site here)

    State of California approved commercial rental car contracts provide for payment of automobile liability and repair of the rental car by the rental car agency on behalf of the State of California's entities and their employees related to the operation of rental cars within the course and scope of employment.

    The authorized driver's personal vehicle insurance is primary for any expenses, defense and third party bodily injury and/or property damage while the authorized personal vehicle is being used within the scope and course of employment. The State of California automobile liability insurance program provides payment for expenses, defense and third party bodily injury and/or property damage in excess of the vehicle owner's personal vehicle insurance for the University and its employees related to the operation of privately owned vehicles within the course and scope of employment. Note: The State of California provides excess liability coverage only. There is no coverage for: reimbursement of repair costs to, or replacement cost of, personal vehicles; deductibles; or loss of use.

    Drivers and their supervisors must report all motor vehicle accidents that occur while driving for University business. All vehicle accidents which in any way involve personal injury or property damage to others must be reported to Cal Poly Risk Management within 48 hours. Use the link below to access vehicle accident report forms.

    Reporting an Accident

    Automobile/Motor Vehicle use

  • Additional Information: Reimbursement and Travel Policies and Procedures
  • Driving on University Business: FAQ'S
    • Definition of University Business:

      University activities that are directly related to any academic, business, executive, administrative, or support function of the University.


    • Definition of Driving on University Business:

      only when driven in the performance of, or necessary to, or in the course of, the duties of University employment.


    • Definition of University (CSU) Employees:

      "University employees" are defined as those persons who have completed all prerequisites to CSU employment. This includes all CSU faculty, staff, and student assistants and persons on appointed volunteer status. Persons who are not "University employees," are not authorized to drive University vehicles. This includes students (unless appointed as volunteers or employees). Members of the Board of Trustees, as officers of the University, are authorized to drive University vehicles.


    • Auxiliary Employees Driving on University Business:

      Corporation, Associated Students, Inc., and all other Auxiliary employees are required to submit a Volunteer/Person of Interest if they intend to drive a university vehicle on state business.

      Auxiliary employees signed up as Volunteers must adhere to the State's Driver Safety Program Policy and Procedures, and complete the State's trainings and application.

      • Auxiliary employees can be appointed as volunteers when the driving supports University business.
      • Auxiliary employees who are appointed volunteers can drive State vehicles but ORIM liability coverage will be limited to $1M.
      • State management employees are required to sign/approve volunteer forms.

    • Who is a Volunteer?

      A volunteer is a person who is not directly employed by Cal Poly SLO (state). All CPC or ASI faculty/staff/student employees, community members, and student (non-employees) are considered Volunteers and are required to fill out the Volunteer/Person of Interest form with a University supervisor/MPP and submit that form to Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) prior to conducting ANY volunteer duties. Auxiliary employees signed up as Volunteers must complete the State Driver Safety Program Policy and Procedures, including trainings and application.

      Note: Volunteer appointment is a prerequisite and must be completed before applying to drive on University business.


    • Volunteer Form:

      Please submit The Volunteer/Person of Interest to Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S). EH&S will notify the driver once the Volunteer Form has been accepted and processed in their office.


    • How do I fill out the ROV application?

      Please refer to the How to Fill out an ROV application guide for line by line information.

      Please refer to the Example Driver's License CA guide to find information on your CA Driver's license.


    • What Trainings do I need to take?


    • Ages of Potential Drivers:

      CPSLO may permit a person 18 years of age or older to drive a university-owned vehicle, but to rent and/or operate a rental vehicle the person must be 21 years of age or older.

      Only persons 19 years of age or older will be allowed to drive a van.

      Only persons 21 years of age or older will be allowed to drive where the vehicle requires a Commercial Driver's License.

      Please refer to the Cal Poly Driver Safety Policy for more information.


    • Use of University (CSU) Vehicle:

      Only University employees may drive University vehicles. The campus may not loan or lease a University vehicle to any non-state entity, including CSU auxiliary organizations.


    • Definition of University-owned Vehicle:

      A University vehicle is defined as a motorized device for land transportation owned, leased, or rented by the University, State or any State agency, including and not limited to automobiles, trucks, carts, etc.


    • Use of Privately Owned Vehicle:

      In order to use a privately owned vehicle on state business, employees must submit a completed Authorization to Use Privately Owned Vehicle on State Business (STD 261) form to their Department. This form is to be kept in the driver's Department and updated annually.

      NOTE: Only submitting the Authorization to Use Privately Owned Vehicle on State Business (STD 261) does not grant the driver authorization to drive on university business. The driver must complete STEPS 1-3 above and become an approved driver before they can use a Privately Owned vehicle.


    • Vans and Buses:

      If you are driving a 10+ passenger van on University business at any frequency, you must complete the required online courses in Learning Hub as well as the DGS Van Driver Training (virtual) before driving on University business.

      All drivers of Fifteen (15) Passenger Vans must comply with CA Dept. of Motor Vehicle (DMV) regulations and the "CSU-Use of University and Private Vehicles" policy which requires a Class B driver's license, medical certification, and specific DMV driving records.


    • Motorcycles and Bicycles:

      Under the Campus Administrative Policy (CAP), motorcycles and bicycles shall not be used in carrying out University or State business, except for police motorcycles and bicycles as approved by a campus president.


    • What is a Commercial License?

      A commercial license is a special license issued to drivers of the following:

      • Vehicle designed to transport 15 or more passengers, including the driver;
      • Has a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more;
      • Has a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more, inclusive of towed units;
      • Any size vehicle transporting hazardous materials that are required to be placarded.

      Drivers who must have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and drive on University Business must comply with the CPSLO CDL Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy and Procedures (See Policy Appendix B)


    • What is the difference between a C, B, A license?

      In California, a driver with a noncommercial Class C may operate the following:

      • A 2-axle vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 pounds or less.
      • A 3-axle vehicle weighting 6,000 pounds or less
      • A motorized scooter (not the same as a motorcycle requiring an M1 or M2 license)
      • Any housecar 40 feet or less
      • A farmer or employee of a farmer may also driver:
        • Any combination of vehicles with a GCWR of 26,000 pounds or less if used exclusively in agricultural operations AND is not for hire or compensation.
      • No passenger vehicle regardless of weight, may tow more than 1 vehicle.
      • No motor vehicle under 4,000 pounds unladen may tow any vehicle weighting 6,000 pounds or more gross.

      In California, a driver with a Commercial Class B license may operate the following:

      • A single vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds.
      • A 3-axle vehicle weighing over 6,000 pounds.
      • A bus (except a trailer bus), with endorsement.
      • Any farm labor vehicle, with endorsement.
      • All vehicles under class C.
      • Tow a single vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less.
      • Tow any vehicle a Class C licensed driver may tow.

      In California, a driver with a Commercial Class A license may operate the following:

      • Any legal combination of vehicles including vehicles under Class B and Class A.
      • Tow any single vehicle with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds.
      • Tow any trailer bus, with endorsement OR more than 1 vehicle, with endorsement.
      • Any vehicles under Classes B and C.
      • trailer bus with endorsement, any towable combination of vehicle weight rating with endorsement, any placard-able hazardous material transportation vehicles with endorsement.

    • What is GVWR and GCWR?

      GVWR: Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. This refers to the maximum loaded weight under which a vehicle can safely operate as prescribed by the manufacturer. Defined as the weight of the vehicle plus its maximum allowable payload in terms of passengers and cargo.

      GCWR: Gross Combination Weight Rating. This refers to the total weight of the truck pulling the trailer and the trailer itself. Defined as the maximum allowable weight of the fully-loaded towing vehicle and the weight of the trailer when fully loaded.


    • What is a driver's license endorsement?

      • A driver's license endorsement is a certificate of endorsement that is issued as a separate document that a driver must have, in addition to the driver's license, to operate specific vehicles.
      • Endorsements are more common for Class B and Class A drivers. Requirements for endorsements are based on the type and size of vehicle being driven. Some examples of endorsements are:
        • HAM: Hazardous Agricultural Materials
        • RM: Radioactive Materials
        • SCH: School Bus
        • VDDP: Vehicle for Developmentally Disabled Persons
        • D: Double Trailer
        • HM: Hazardous Materials
        • PV: Passenger Transportation
        • T: Triple Trailer

    • How do I obtain my out-of-state Driving record?

      Please refer to the Out of State DMV Record Pull (excel) guide for direct links to your state's DMV. Follow the directions on their webpage. Please be aware that there may be a charge associated with requesting your out of state driving record, for non-CA licenses. These fees are paid by the driver and/or the driver's Department.
  • CSU Guidelines and Enterprise Rental Contract:
    • Only University Employees and Student Employees, meeting the minimum requirements of the Driver Safety Policy and having been approved by Risk Management to drive on University Business may rent vehicles.
    • The CSU's authorized and approved rental car vendor is Enterprise Rental Car Company. Enterprise is affiliated with National Rental Car (National). When reserving a vehicle Enterprise can fulfill their rental agreement by providing cars through National.
    • CPSLO's contract between Enterprise Rent A Car (ERAC) states that a driver must be 21 years of age to drive or rent a vehicle. However, please note; this age requirement does not pertain to a personal vehicle or a CPSLO owned vehicle.
    • Per the CSU's Use of University and Private Vehicles Guidelines, page9, CPSLO qualified drivers are authorized to drive 10 passenger vans, and are NOT AUTHORIZED to rent 15 passenger vans. As an exception, one can, drive a 12-15 passenger van if the individual has a *special Driver's License endorsement to drive a vehicle with more than 10 passengers.

    *Note: The special endorsement authorization must be on file with the Risk Management Office.

  • Driving on University Business and Corporation
    • Please be advised that the University (State side) does not accept the Cal Poly Corporation driving documentation including their defensive driving course.

University Vehicle Usage Procedures & Guidelines:

Non Cal Poly Personnel/Volunteer Training:

The training below is only for individuals without a Cal Poly email who need authorization to drive for a University related activity. You must print out the completion certificate at the end of the training and give it to your supervisor or advisor.



Important: Information Security Notice

Some of the above forms contain confidential employee information. Completed forms must be handled pursuant to the Cal Poly Information Classification and Handling Standard.

These records must be retained and disposed according to the CSU Records / Information Retention and Disposition Schedule.