Administrative Policy 3-12 Driver Improvement Program


DISTRIBUTION:     All Departments




PURPOSE:     The purpose of this policy is to reduce injury exposure for City employees and the public and to minimize the loss of City resources due to employee involvement in preventable vehicle accidents.  These resources include man-hours, equipment, and money.  This policy contains provisions to insure that all City vehicle operators are properly licensed, and trained on safe driving procedures for the specific type(s) of equipment that they operate while on the job; that only properly qualified drivers are allowed to operate city-owned equipment; that employee behavior that adversely affects the safe operation of equipment is either modified or appropriately penalized; and that accident-free drivers are recognized and rewarded for their efforts.


BACKGROUND:     The Driver Improvement Program was implemented in 1986 and has been effective in reducing vehicle accidents.  This revision is to refine the policy and update procedures.  Further, it incorporates the Safety Belt Policy that was previously published as a separate administrative policy.


DEFINITIONS:     Terms used in this administrative policy are defined as follows:


1.    Motor Vehicle:  For the purposes of this policy, “motor vehicle” is defined as any motorized, self-propelled equipment where the operator rides in or on the equipment while operating it. Included are farm tractors, construction equipment, and large riding mowers.


2.      Collision:  Contact of a motor vehicle with another motor vehicle, person, animal, structure or other object which causes injury or property damage or has the potential to do so.


3.      Chargeable Collision:  A collision (as defined above) in which the actions of the driver of a City-owned vehicle are the primary cause of the collision.  Normally, the driver will have violated state or local traffic law.


4.      Preventable Collision: A collision in which the actions of the driver of a City-owned vehicle may not be the primary cause of the collision but did contribute to its occurrence by failure to use appropriate defensive driving techniques or, in the case of non-operators, negligence or misconduct caused or contributed to the collision of a City-owned vehicle.


5.    Non-Preventable Collision: One in which the driver has little or no control over circumstances resulting in the collision.


6.    Damage Incident: An incident where damage or injury involves a city-owned vehicle but is not the result of a collision. Examples include vandalism, theft, vehicle abuse, or objects thrown by or out of a City-owned vehicle.


7.      Chargeable Damage Incident: A damage incident (as defined above) where a City employee is responsible for damage to a City-owned vehicle, injury to another person, or damage to private property.


8.     Non-Preventable Damage Incident: Damage incident where the assigned operator of a city-owned vehicle or other employee had little or no control to prevent the resulting damage or injury.


9.      Driving Violation: A reported and confirmed incidence of a City-owned vehicle not being operated in accordance with traffic laws or proper defensive driving principles.   These may result from a complaint from private citizens or fellow employees validated after investigation by the affected department head or from a citation or warning issued by a law enforcement agency.


10.     Unusually high cost: Cost totaling $3000.00 or more.




I.    Records Review and Driver Qualification


        A.    Pre-employment Record Review


1.      The Human Resources Director will obtain and maintain on file the official state driving record of each person recommended for employment, transfer, or promotion to a position in which operation of motive equipment is a major function, excluding occasional or incidental operation.  The employment candidates may be required to provide a copy of their driving record or the Human Resources Department will obtain it from the Police Department.


2.      If the review discloses a driving record of three or more accidents, three or more moving violations, or any combination thereof totaling three or more occurring in the two years immediately preceding the review, the Human Resources Director will provide a copy to the affected department director(s) for consideration of whether or not to deny the employment, transfer or promotion. Any such employment, transfer or promotion accomplished prior to the completion of the driving record review shall be provisional subject to the driving record review.


3.      Departments are responsible for notifying the Human Resources Department prior to transferring or promoting an employee from a non-driving position to one requiring vehicle or equipment operation.


        B.    Operator Orientation, Vehicle Training and Certification:


1.      It is the responsibility of the immediate supervisor to familiarize each employee responsible for operating motive equipment with the proper operating procedures and proper safety practices for the equipment.


2.      The employee’s immediate supervisor, designated experienced operator or qualified instructor will conduct a predetermined course of instruction to train and evaluate the employee on the proper operation of each type and model of motorized vehicle or equipment that the employee will be required to operate.  The training will include proper operator maintenance procedures. The training will be documented with specific details concerning instruction times, dates, subject, etc.  The exact nature of the training will be based on the complexity of the equipment.  It may be as basic as a check ride or observation of the operator or a formal course of instruction; whatever is necessary to prove to the supervisor that the employee is able to operate and maintain the equipment proficiently and safely.


3.      The division supervisor will verify each and every type vehicle or equipment the employee is qualified to operate and provide certification of the operator’s qualification to the Safety and Risk Officer for inclusion in employee driving records. Certification may be entered or updated directly on the computer generated form provided by the Safety and Risk Officer and used by supervisors and operators to update individual driving records.  Certification is required for all types of motor vehicles including sedans, pickups, and other general-purpose vehicles.


4.      Except during training and evaluation under the direct supervision of the trainer, employees will not be allowed to operate equipment that they have not been certified to operate. The exceptions are sedans and similar light duty general-purpose vehicles which the employee is licensed to operate.


5.      Re-certification is required no less than once every three years for each type equipment an employee operates.  This re-certification must be in writing following supervisor evaluation which, when possible, will include a “check ride.” Re-certification will be required when records review indicates the lapse of at least three years since previous certification.  The Safety and Risk Officer will not accept the records update until certification is current.


        C.     Defensive Driving Training


1.      Each person employed in a position where operation of a City-owned vehicle is a requirement of the position shall be required during duty hours to attend a defensive driving course within 90 days of employment.


2.      Each employee who has been assessed two or more points for involvement   in a collision or who has a two-year cumulative total point assessment of three or more will be scheduled to attend the next available formal defensive driving course offered by the City.  For lesser point assessments, the Board may require the employee to complete a formal defensive driving course, require the employee to complete an alternative course of remedial driver training prescribed or approved by the Vehicle Accident Review Board, or waive the training requirement as the Board   feels appropriate.


3.      All employees who are required to operate City-owned vehicles will be scheduled to attend defensive driving training no less than every five years.  The Safety and Risk Officer will monitor and schedule employees to attend.


4.      The Safety and Risk Officer will inform departments or divisions of the names of employees who are scheduled to attend driver training.  Department directors will insure employees attend as scheduled.



II.     Safe Driver Incentive Awards:  Awards are based on the number of cumulative calendar years an employee completes without being assessed points against his or her driving record by one of the City’s Vehicle Accident Review Boards. Any point assessment will disqualify the employee for any driving award for the calendar year in which the collision, incident or driving violation giving rise to the point assessment occurred.


A.    Safe Driving Awards:  Awards will be presented to eligible employees for consecutive calendar years without a point assessment according to the following:


1-4 years     Certificate of Achievement

5-10 years   Certificate and one-half working day of non-charged leave time

11+ years    Certificate and one working day of non-charged leave time.


B.    Award Criteria


1.      Eligible employees are those in positions where driving is a primary or major job requirement who have completed one or more consecutive accident-free years.  Accident free year is defined as one in which the employee was assessed no points by a Vehicle Accident Review Board.


2.      For award consideration, the accident-free years start at the first of the calendar year following hire, promotion or transfer into a position where driving is a primary or major job duty or the first of the calendar year following the date the employee was involved in a collision, damage incident or driving violation for which one or more points were assessed.


3.      All accumulated accident-free years previous to the date of a collision, damage incident, or driving violation for which one or more points were assessed are not considered in determining future award eligibility.


4.      For purposes of the incentive awards, only cumulative accident-free years since January 1, 1985 are considered.  However, the pins awarded will reflect the actual number of years without an accident.


C.    Department directors will provide a list of such employees within their department eligible and nominated for the awards.


D.    The Safety and Risk Officer will prepare certificates and pins for eligible employees and forward them to department directors for presentation.


E.      Awards will be presented annually during the second or third month of the calendar year.  The Mayor, City Manager, Department director or other official will present the awards in an appropriate ceremony.







III.     Point System for Collisions, Damage Incidents and Driving Violations


A.      This establishes a system by which points are assessed against the driving records of employees involved in vehicle collisions or vehicle damage incidents or who violate traffic laws or safe driving procedures. Points may be assessed to employees who cause or contribute to a collision or damage to a City-owned vehicle even if they were not the operator of the vehicle when the collision or damage occurred.


B.      City employee driving records will be updated by the Safety and Risk Officer to record any involvement in a collision, incident or a violation and point assessment.


C.      Points will be assessed against an employee’s driving record by the City Vehicle Accident Review Board according to the following:


                ITEM                                                     POINTS


            1.     Chargeable Collision                            3

            2.      Preventable Collision                          2

            3.      Chargeable Damage Incident              1

            4.      Driving Violation                                1

            5.      Non-Preventable Collision                  0

            6.      Non-Preventable Damage Incident     0


At the discretion of the Review Board, a point may be added to or deducted from items "1" through "4" on this schedule. The additional point may be assessed due to an unusually high cost to the City of the damages or injuries resulting from the collision or damage incident, the seriousness of the driving violation committed by the employee, failure of the operator to wear safety belts, failure to use ground guides to back when required, and other instances where warranted. One point may be deducted by the Board based on extenuating circumstances such as weather, road conditions, evasive actions minimizing damages, very minor or no damages, improper or inadequate direction by a designated ground guide, or other situations that the Board feels mitigate the employee’s responsibilities for a collision or incident


For non-operator personnel whose negligence or misconduct caused or contributed to a collision, two points may be assessed.  One point may be assessed against such employees for a chargeable damage incident.  At the discretion of the Review Board, a point may be added to or deducted.  The additional point may be assessed due to an unusually high cost to the City of the damages or injuries resulting from the collision or damage incident.


For a collision or damage incident where more than one of the above categories may seem to apply, the Board will assess points based on the one category for which the greatest number of points could be assessed.


The Police Department has a separate Vehicle Accident Review Board and point assessments for the Police Board will be governed by Departmental policy.


D.    Violations Which May Cause Immediate Termination:  Some violations are of such a serious nature that the point system may be preempted and the initial occurrence becomes cause for immediate termination of employment.  


1.      Operating a city-owned vehicle or piece of equipment while his/her driving privileges have been revoked or suspended by the State of Oklahoma.


2.      Willful intent to injure or damage property, or reckless conduct resulting in injury or damage to property, by a City employee. Any property damage or injury caused by a City employee while using or under the influence of beer or alcoholic beverage or any controlled or dangerous substance as defined by the statutes and laws of the State of Oklahoma.


3.      Any injury or property damage caused by a City employee who is engaged in conduct outside the scope of his employment with the City of Lawton.


E.    Recovery of Loss or Liability by City of Lawton:  For any property damage or injury resulting from the actions of an employee as described in the preceding paragraph causing loss or liability on the part of the City, the City of Lawton shall institute appropriate action to recover the loss from the offending employee, whether or not the employee is discharged as a result thereof.  Special care shall be given to evaluating accidents involving authorized emergency vehicles used in emergency situations.


IV.    Vehicle Accident Review Boards:  Two Boards are established.  The City Vehicle Accident Review Board will handle actions involving all general employees and Fire Department employees. The Police Vehicle Accident Review Board is established for actions involving police officers.


        A.    Composition of Boards


1.      The City Vehicle Accident Review Board is composed of the City Manager or designated representative, the Safety and Risk Officer, and the Equipment Maintenance Division Superintendent, who are considered permanent members of the Board.  In addition, a designated representative from the Department or Division of the employee whose collision, incident, or violation is being considered will be a voting member of the Board, but only for the involved employees they represent. With the exception of the Fire Department, the designated representative will be the Department/Division representative on the General Employee Safety Committee.  The Fire Chief will appoint the Fire Department representative. Thus, at any point in time, the Board will have a maximum of four voting members.


2.      The Police Vehicle Accident Review Board will be composed of the Safety and Risk Officer, Equipment Maintenance Division Superintendent, and two police supervisors (captains or lieutenants) or one police supervisor and one police master officer appointed by the Police Chief.


         B.    Responsibilities of Boards


1.      The Boards are established to monitor overall driver qualifications, to review vehicle collisions/incidents involving City employees and to determine appropriate actions to reduce the number and severity of vehicle accidents.  The Boards will also monitor the driver training and driver orientation programs.


2.      The Boards have final responsibility for assessing points against the driving records of employees who are involved in preventable collisions or who are otherwise guilty of driving violations.  In determining points or reviewing discipline, the Board may consider unusual or mitigating circumstances.


C.    Rules and Regulations:  The following information pertains to the City Vehicle Accident Review Board. Police Board guidelines are contained in a departmental policy.


1.      Chairman: The City Manager or designated representative will act as Board Chairman.


2.      Administrative Support: The Safety and Risk Officer will provide the necessary administrative support, including preparation of the agenda and recording minutes of the meetings.


3.      Meetings: Meetings will be conducted no less than monthly at dates and times established in the bylaws or as determined by the Chairman.


4.     Quorum: All three permanent members of the Board or designee must be present.


5.      Conduct Hearings: The employee, his immediate supervisor, division or department head, may request a formal hearing before the Board if they disagree with the points assessed by the Board. The request for formal hearing must be submitted within ten days of the Board’s initial findings and must be in writing with an explanation as to why the initial findings of the Board were not appropriate. The department director will insure that the employee, the employee’s immediate supervisor, and the available witnesses appear at the hearing as scheduled. The Board may elect to conduct a formal hearing on any accident/incident or driving violation.  The decision of the Board is final, subject to applicable provisions of the Lawton City Charter, employment agreements with bargaining units, and state law.


    V.      Disciplinary Action


A.      The appropriate level of disciplinary action for an employee is determined by the cumulative points assessed against that employee’s driving record by the Board for collisions, damage incidents, or infractions occurring during a 24-month period.   Points assessed by the Board for any current collision, incident, or infraction under review will be added to points assessed for such occurrences in the previous 24-month period and prescribed disciplinary action will be based on the point total.  Department directors are responsible for taking disciplinary action.  The City Manager must approve suspensions of ten days or more or termination. The prescribed disciplinary action for the various levels of point accumulation are as follows:


                POINTS                 ACTION

                 0-1               Informal Conference

                 2-4               Written warning notice

                 5-6               Written reprimand and one day suspension without pay.

                 7-8               Suspension of 40 working hours without pay

                 9 or above   Termination from City employment

B.      Process for Investigation, Submission to Board, and Determination of Disciplinary Action -- Collision/Damage Incidents


1.    All employees will be instructed to immediately call their supervisors and the Police Department whenever they are involved in a vehicle accident.  The Police Department has agreed to respond and prepare a report even if the accident occurred on private property.


2.      Upon notification that one of his/her assigned personnel have been involved in a collision/incident, the immediate or higher level supervisor shall immediately begin investigation of the collision/incident.  Written statements from available witnesses will be obtained.


3.      Interview of the employees involved: As a part of the investigation, the investigating supervisor must interview the vehicle operator to determine the employee’s version of how the collision/incident occurred and how it could have been prevented.  If one or more other employees were involved who were not operating the vehicle at the time the collision or incident but may have caused or contributed to it, they will also be interviewed.  The affected employee(s) will be told that points may be assessed against their driving record(s) and, based on cumulative point total, disciplinary action may be taken. Also, the employee(s) will be told that he/she may be required to appear before an Accident Review Board.


4.      Based on the investigation, the supervisor will prepare a “City of Lawton Vehicle Damage Report."  (See attachment #1)


5.      At department or division level, any police report of the collision/incident and written damage estimates must be obtained and attached to the “City of Lawton Vehicle Damage Report."  


6.      The department director will review the documentation for completeness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.  Based on the information available, the department director will recommend the appropriate point assessment in accordance with this policy. The recommendation, along with narrative justification, will be forwarded to the Safety and Risk Officer for consideration by the appropriate Review Board.


7.     Copies of all documents relating to the collision/incident and subsequent investigation, along with the department head recommendations which may be made on the "City of Lawton Vehicle Damage Report" or in a separate narrative attached to the report, will be forwarded to the Safety and Risk Officer within seven calendar days of the collision/incident.


8.      The Review Board will review the accident package and determine the points, if any, to assess against the driving records of the employees involved.  If points are assessed, the employee(s) will have a chance to appeal the board’s ruling to their department director.  If the employee(s) do not appeal the board’s ruling, a report of the assessed points for the accident/incident in question, the employee’s cumulative point total and disciplinary action as specified by this policy, shall be forwarded to the applicable department director or division supervisor.  The department director will then take appropriate action.


C.    Process for Submission to Review Board, and Determination of Driving Violations (Police Citations)


1.      All employees are required to report to their supervisor all traffic citations (tickets) that they receive while operating a city-owned vehicle or piece of equipment. Department directors will insure that the immediate supervisor provides a copy of the citation along with a narrative statement as to events and circumstances surrounding the issuance of the citation in memorandum format. A statement from the employee may be included.


2.      The Board will review the documentation and issue a ruling on the reported driving violation.  The employee will be given an opportunity for an appeal if dissatisfied with the Board’s preliminary ruling.


3.      The Boards findings will be transmitted by letter to the employee and their supervisor concerning any point assessment. The department director will be notified of the suggested/recommended disciplinary action to take based on the employees cumulative point total.


D.      Process for Investigation, Submission to Review Board, and Determination of Disciplinary Action--Driving Violations (Complaints)


1.      Due to the nature of complaints from the public or fellow employees concerning driving violations (see definition), investigation is required to determine their validity.


2.      All such complaints received will be sent to the appropriate department/division for investigation.


3.      The complaint or summary thereof, and the result of the investigation will be submitted in writing, by the immediate supervisor, to the department director who will forward the report with his comments and recommendations to the Safety and Risk Officer.


4.      All documentation concerning the complaint will be reviewed by a Review Board, the validity determined, and, if appropriate, points assessed.


5.      The Review Board will inform the department of the employee’s cumulative point total and of the prescribed disciplinary action to be taken and forward a notice letter to the affected employee.


6.      The employee may request an appeal with their department director to review the Review Board’s ruling.  All appeal requests shall be made in writing, including any documentation to substantiate the appeal.


 7.     The Review Board shall notify the applicable department director of an appeal request.  The department director shall be responsible for scheduling and notifying the employee of the appeal hearing date, time and location.  The department director shall make a ruling, which is final.    The director shall notify the safety and risk officer within seven calendar days of the final decision.  The board will prepare a notice letter, including the director’s final decision, the number of points assessed for the accident/incident in question, the employee’s cumulative point total and disciplinary action as specified by this policy. The letter will be sent to the affected employee and the department director.  The department director will then take appropriate action.


     VI.      Driver Record Maintenance, Review, and Update


A.    Establishment of City Driver Records for City Employees


1.      The Human Resources Department will establish City driving records for employees newly hired, promoted, or transferred into positions requiring operation of City-owned vehicles.


2.      Should supervisors become aware that employees who are required to operate City-owned vehicles have not been entered in the records program, they are to contact the Safety and Risk Officer who will arrange to establish the appropriate driving records.


3.      Employees who do not have established driving records are not authorized to operate City-owned vehicles.


4.      The Safety and Risk Officer will maintain and update driving records as appropriate.


5.      Driving record will include the employee’s name, drivers license number, birth date, job title, department, division, driver license expiration date, type license, list of type equipment the employee is authorized to operate, defensive driving courses attended, collisions/incidents and driving violations with point assessments, and most recent record review date.


        B.    Record Review


1.      No less than once every four years, during the month the employee’s drivers license is scheduled to expire, the Safety and Risk Officer will provide a copy of their driving record to the appropriate department.   


2.      The employee will review their record with the immediate or higher level supervisor. They will correct and update any incorrect, incomplete or outdated information on the record and determine if further action is required (such as schedule attendance at a defensive driving course, train the employee on additional equipment, re-certify the equipment the employee is authorized to operate, etc.)


3.      A copy of the updated record certified by the employee and the supervisor will be returned to the Safety and Risk Officer who will then update the master record.


C.    Driver License Examination:  It is forbidden for an employee to operate a city-owned vehicle or piece of equipment without a driver’s license of the appropriate class currently valid in the State of Oklahoma.  In conjunction with the records review, the supervisor will physically inspect the employee’s license and certify that it is valid and indicate the expiration date or certify it invalid or unavailable and report the employee to the appropriate division supervisor or department director for appropriate action.


    VII.      City Safety Belt Policy


A.      Unless an exemption has been granted, any person operating or riding in a City-owned vehicle will be required to have safety belts buckled around them and properly adjusted at all times while the vehicle is in motion.  This policy includes construction equipment, farm tractors and riding mowers equipped with rollover protection, and vehicles equipped with air bags.


B.      Requests for exemptions to this policy must be in writing with full justification as to how and why particular operations or job requirements preclude the use of safety belts.  The request will be forwarded from the Department Director through the Safety and Risk Officer to the City Manager for approval.  The Safety and Risk Officer will investigate and provide findings and recommendations to the City Manager.  No exemptions can be granted for vehicle classes requiring seat belt usage by state law.


C.      Equipment Maintenance Division employees will inspect to insure that safety belts are installed and serviceable during maintenance activities on City-owned vehicles.  If discrepancies are found, they will be reported to the applicable department director for correction. Department directors will be responsible for insuring that safety belts are installed and serviceable.


D.      The bid specifications for all vehicle purchases will require safety belt installation for drivers and passengers as a part of the contract.  This requirement extends to construction equipment, farm tractors and large riding mowers.  Also, rollover protection (ROPS) must be specified for these vehicles.


E.      Noncompliance with this policy will be treated the same as noncompliance with  any other job requirement. Disciplinary action will be taken against employees who fail to use safety belts and supervisors who fail to enforce this policy.


VIII.      Authorized Operations of City-Owned Vehicles:  Only City employees who are properly licensed, trained and who have driving records established in the City’s Driver Program should be allowed to operate city-owned vehicles. Persons not employed by the City of Lawton, including leased employees from a temporary services firm, should be prohibited from operating City vehicles.


IX.      Dead Lining of City-Owned Vehicles


A.      It is the policy that all vehicles and other motorized equipped provided by the City for operation by City employees will be fully serviceable and safely operable. 


B.      Department directors will insure that a comprehensive vehicle inspection program is in effect for assigned equipment.  Inspection checklists will be used to ascertain operating condition of each vehicle.


C.      All operators will take action to correct, or report to their immediate supervisor for correction, all vehicle discrepancies which could affect the safe operation of the vehicle.


D.      Unsafe vehicles will be immediately dead lined by the division/department to which they are assigned until repairs are completed.


E.      The Equipment Maintenance Superintendent has the authority to dead line any City owned vehicles which he deems to be operationally unsafe.




RESCISSION:    This policy rescinds Administrative Policies 3-12 dated August 14, 1998, and will remain in effect until rescinded.



Jerry Ihler, City Manager

February 01, 2018