New university policy regulates campus utility vehicles

One of Mason's motorized utility vehicles (photo by Online News Editor Vernon Miles)
One of Mason's motorized utility vehicles (photo by Online News Editor Vernon Miles)

The many golf carts zipping around campus are now being officially regulated for the first time thanks to the new University Policy 1131. The new policy, enacted earlier this month, covers the use of motorized utility vehicles (MUVs) on campus, including golf carts. MUVs, which are plentiful at  Mason, are vehicles that are not licensed by the State and not intended for road use. The policy covers the purchase, operation and maintenance of MUVs on campus.  

According to Mason’s Director of Parking and Transportation, Josh Cantor, the policy was born because of a need to regulate the increasing use of golf carts and other motorized utility vehicles on campus. “As campus has grown and we have more pedestrians, bikes, and carts, there was a desire to ensure we have a policy that controls who can use and drive MUVs to ensure the safety of their operation,” Cantor said.

The policy is multi-faceted, calling for regulated safety standards, regular maintenance of MUVs and increased accountability for departments that own and operate MUVs on campus.

A key aspect of the policy is the requirement to register all new and existing university MUVs with the Office of Parking and Transportation. “Similar to most state owned university vehicles, we wanted to be able to identify which MUV’s belong to which departments – just for basic identification since many look similar,” Cantor said. “Also, in case of any issues with the carts or their drivers, we will know which departments to notify.”  

In addition, an annual registration fee for MUVs has been instituted in the policy. The fee is designed to fund infrastructure changes that will make campus more accessible to MUVs and to cover the cost of grounds maintenance repairing damage caused by MUVs.

Another component of the policy states that any purchase of an MUV by a university department must be approved by the Office of Parking and Transportation. In order to be approved, the department must demonstrate a valid business need for the MUV, which  must conform to certain safety standards. Departments with existing MUVs have one year to make sure all vehicles in their possession adhere to these safety standards.

Before its implementation, no specific university policy regulated the use of MUVs. The policy was created over the course of 18 months by a taskforce comprised of many departments, including The Office of Parking and Transportation, Facilities Management, the Environmental Health and Safety Office, the Office of Risk Management and  University Police. “Our committee that crafted the policy researched and used best practices from many institutions and throughout the parking & transportation industry,” Cantor said.

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