Facilities/Instrumentation - Reserving Department Vehicles

This document describes the process to reserve department vehicles.


  • Faculty, staff and students in Entomology, Forest and Wildlife Ecology, and Plant Pathology; Hub staff


Four vehicles in Russell Labs can be reserved for University business by Russell Labs faculty, staff, and students:

Russell Labs Vehicles You Can Reserve
Dept. Number Color Make Model Kept In
Plant Path A2701 White Chevrolet Uplander Extended Lot 34
Plant Path 2155 White Dodge Grand Caravan Lot 34
F&WE A1776 White Dodge Grand Caravan Lot 36
F&WE A2111 White Dodge Grand Caravan Lot 36

Who is Eligible to Reserve a Van

All vehicles:

When driving for UW business/research, no matter who owns the vehicle, the driver must be an authorized driver.

Plant Pathology vehicles:

  • You must be a member of the Russell Labs community (faculty, staff, or student).
    • We prioritize members of the Plant Pathology community.

Restrictions on Who Can Ride in a Van

  • Spouses, relatives, etc. are not authorized to ride with a University employee because state vehicles do not have “medical payments” coverage.
  • All passengers in University vehicles must be on official University business at all times. 

Reservation Process

Vehicle reservation calendars are kept in Room 218 Russell Labs. 

Open the calendar to the day you want to reserve it. 

In pencil, record the following on the calendar: 

  • Block the time slots by drawing vertical arrows. 
  • Your first and last name, and the name of your lab group. 
  • The number of the vehicle from the table above. 

Important: if you return the vehicle after hours or on the weekend, you will need an outer door key to get in the building to return the metal box to Room 218. 


If your plans change and you will not need the vehicle, please cancel your reservation so someone else can use the vehicle. Erase your reservation from the calendar.

The Day of the Trip

Pick up the metal case for the van in Room 218. The metal case contains the keys to the van, pencils, and the mileage logs. 

Head to Lot 34 (shown in red on this map).

Make sure to check the following items before you leave: 

  • Gas level 
  • Tires  
  • Windshield wipers - are they working, and is there fluid*
  • Headlights, taillights, turn signals, and warning flashers*

* The vehicle driver is held personally responsible for all tickets - under State law, tickets cannot be paid with University funds. Check the vehicle before you leave to prevent problems.

Once in the van, open the metal case and record the starting mileage on the log. 

Make sure to print letters and numbers clearly.

Don't skip recording the mileage!  All mileage for the trip will be charged back to your lab group.

Returning the Vehicle

  • Open the metal case and record the ending mileage on the log. 
  • If:
    • the gas tank is less than ½ full, fill the tank before returning the vehicle. 
    • the vehicle is muddy or dirty inside, take it to the car wash before returning it. 
    • the washer fluid is out, purchase new fluid and refill it (see owner’s manual in glove compartment for fluid reservoir location). 
  • Park the van in the ramp [Lot 34] in the appropriate spot.
  • Lock the van. 
  • Put the keys in the metal case and return the metal case to Room 218. 

Additional Information

What to Do if You Get in An Accident


All crashes/damage of any kind involving a UW vehicle must be reported to UW-Madison Risk Management within 24 hours.

  • An information packet with instructions and a vehicle incident report are located in the vehicle glove box or on the Risk Management site.
  • After hours, the UW Police may be contacted for emergencies. 


State owned vehicles are covered by the state’s property and liability program, as administered by UW-Madison Risk Management. 


Liability coverage is provided through the state’s liability program.

It provides coverage for all approved drivers in the course and scope of their employment.


Employee injuries while in a motor vehicle are covered under worker’s compensation.

Non-employees must rely on their own health insurance to take care of any auto accident related injuries, unless the accident is the fault of a University driver.

If the accident is the fault of a University driver the University will be responsible.

What to Do if You Get a Ticket

The 2004 DOA Fleet Driver and Management Policies and Procedures Manual (PDF) states: 

“… Drivers are responsible for promptly paying all vehicle citations. Failure to pay parking tickets immediately results in late fees and possible vehicle registration revocation or suspension. The owner agency will pay the amount due upon notice and invoice the driver and their employing agency, which may include extra charges. The responsible driver may be subject to discipline, as determined by the employing agency.” 

This means written notice of an unpaid citation is sent to a vehicle owner (the department), along with the threat of title suspension for all vehicles owned.

In order for state fleet registrations to not be suspended or revoked, citations are paid by the department. The charges are billed to the program that signed out the vehicle during the period the citation was issued. 

According to University and State Department of Administration policy, payments of parking citations are considered unallowable expenditures.

Since University funds cannot be used to pay unallowable expenses, departments are responsible for recovery of charges from those who incurred the citations.

If a department is unable to identify drivers who incurred the citations, the person who reserved the vehicle is ultimately responsible for payment. 

Departments are responsible to reconcile vehicle expense charges with billing statements and SFS, to ensure proper expenditure of University funds. Departments are responsible to recover funds from those who incurred citations or other unallowable expenses (such as food purchased with the fuel card) and document the results so they can be reviewed by internal audit or other interested parties. 

Other tickets

Drivers are also responsible, as above, for any and all citations other than a parking ticket.


If a fleet vehicle has an equipment failure such as burned out light or broken speedometer, the driver is considered responsible for any violations because they drove the vehicle in that condition.

The fleet and/or the University are not responsible for driver citations; they may not be reimbursed on a travel expense report or by other means.

Drivers should report equipment failures promptly and cooperate in obtaining repairs as needed. The fleet will cooperate in providing documentation of repairs for law enforcement as needed if warning or conditional citations are issued. 

Policy on Using Vans for Personal Use Like Taking the Van Home

Personal Use

The following is excerpted from state fleet policy. See the New State Fleet Driver Policies link for the full text. De Minimis Use is explained at the bottom of this article. 

 All drivers operating state vehicles must comply with the following personal use policies. State vehicles shall not be used for personal purposes other than commuting and may be used for commuting only if: 

    The agency requires the employee to commute in the vehicle for valid business needs of the agency. 

    The agency requires the employee to use the vehicle; it cannot be voluntary on the employee’s part. 

    The agency prohibits the personal use other than commuting and incidental use (see below), while on official state business. 

When not being used by an employee, the vehicles are parked at the agency (i.e., work shared or motor pool vehicle); vehicles are not to be used for any personal purposes. Work shared and pool vehicles may not be used for commuting unless required by the employer. […]” 

The following is explanation, advice, and interpretation of the above: 

    Taking any employer-provided (fleet or rental) vehicle home is considered by the IRS to be a taxable fringe benefit so it must either be counted as income or the employee must reimburse the employer. 

    The state forbids agencies from adding the value of personal use of fleet vehicles to the income reported on the W2 form, so employees must reimburse the employer for personal use of fleet vehicles or vehicles rented by the employer. 

    State of Wisconsin fleet policy states “[…]If the employee needs to take a pool vehicle home overnight or on the weekend when the fleet office is not open for business, written authorization from a supervisor is required. If a motor pool vehicle is taken home more than once a month the employee is required to reimburse the state for personal miles traveled. […]” 

De Minimis use 

The IRS recognizes use of less than once per month as something called “de minimis” use as not being a taxable fringe benefit. 

This means up to eleven times per year (no more than once per month), an employee can take an employer-provided car home without having to reimburse. The Code of Federal Regulations Part 26, 1.132-6 states in part: 

“[…] the fact that the commuting use of an employer-provided vehicle more than one day a month is an example of a benefit not excludable as a de minimis fringe[…] does not mean that the commuting use of a vehicle up to 12 times per year is excludable from gross income as a de minimis fringe.” 


KeywordsReserve department vans, minivans   Doc ID130428
OwnerDixie L.GroupRussell Labs Hub
Created2023-08-17 14:05 CSTUpdated2023-11-06 15:12 CST
SitesRussell Labs Hub
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