SAO Vehicle Use


Policy and Procedure for Use of Smithsonian Vehicles


This policy and procedure is intended to provide the requirements by which Smithsonian employees and non employees are allowed to use Smithsonian vehicles. It is subject and subordinate to all Federal and Smithsonian rules, regulations, policies and procedures designed to provide for the safe, economic and efficient operation and maintenance of Smithsonian vehicles.

II. DEFINITIONS (for this policy)

A. Smithsonian employees are:

    • full, intermittent or part-time, federal or trust appointees/employees
    • predoctoral, postdoctoral, graduate student (not in a predoctoral program) or regent fellows with an SI/SAO affiliation
    • interns with SI/SAO appointment
    • volunteers with SI/SAO appointment
    • other government agency employees
    • foreign or domestic students with written affiliation at SI/SAO
    • no-fee consultants with SI/SAO appointment.

B. Non Smithsonian employees are:

    • research associates (without written affiliation)
    • invited collaborators
    • contractors
    • temp agency employees (Vehicle damage/loss is excluded if the purpose of the employment is to use SI/SAO vehicles.)
    • students, both foreign and domestic, without an SI/SAO affiliation.


A. Smithsonian employees must use Smithsonian vehicles for official purposes only.

B. Non Smithsonian employees may use a Smithsonian vehicle if:

    1. The vehicle is not needed by an employee to accomplish the mission of the group responsible for the vehicle.
    2. It is used for official SI/SAO business only.
    3. The operator has a valid USA/International driver's license.
    4. The vehicle is not used for transportation between residence and normal place of employment or the SI/SAO facility.
    5. The operator or home institution/corporation has on file with the group responsible for the vehicle, a CERTIFICATE OF INSURANCE evidencing coverage under a Commercial Auto Policy or similar automobile insurance coverage that identifies the Smithsonian Institution as an additional insured and loss payee for collision damage claims and liability claims arising out of the operator/home institution/corporation's use of a Smithsonian vehicle. Vehicle Operators who are affiliated with or employed by State Agencies may provide evidence of coverage for automobile liability in the form of a letter that references the appropriate state self-insurance law. The letter shall also state the procedure for, other than State Agency employees, filing liability claims with the State Agency.


The Smithsonian group (F. L. Whipple Observatory, Submillimeter Array and Shipping & Receiving) responsible for the vehicles to be used by non employees must establish a procedure, applicable to their particular circumstance, which has been approved and is kept on file by the SAO Fleet Manager (currently Charles Flynn) in Cambridge, that:

    1. Requests, collects and verifies the ANNUAL submission (by the operator or home institution/corporation using the vehicle) of CERTIFICATES OF INSURANCE or similar documentation evidencing automobile liability coverage and copies of drivers' licenses
    2. Keeps on file SI/SAO appointment letters<
    3. Reports accidents, on-site warnings/violations, traffic fees and fines, etc., to the home institution/corporation and to the SAO fleet manager in Cambridge
    4. Establishes rules that, if violated, will preclude future use of the vehicle
    5. Recognizes the in-kind value if used in a collaborative effort.

This Procedure is effective on 16 October 2000. All individual group procedures and their subsequent modification must be sent to the SAO Fleet Manager for approval prior to implementation.


Approved by: /s/ Irwin I. Shapiro
16 October 2000

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