Roadside Assistance of University vehicles

The question has been posed to Risk Management, “Does the University or the CSU carry a roadside assistance policy similar to AAA?” In short, the answer is "no." There is no campus-wide or CSU-wide program for roadside assistance for University vehicles.

But that raises a more important issue that departments should be addressing: If the department vehicle has a flat tire or won’t start, how do I get it underway again? The answer to that depends on several factors.

Risk Management advises departments to treat the situation as they would with their own privately owned vehicles. Each of us who owns a POV has to decide whether to purchase a roadside assistance policy, usually through our auto insurance company, or to go it alone. Either way works, depending on the environment in which the vehicle is used, the owner or person who operates the vehicle, and his/her confidence in handling vehicle issues.

If your department vehicle use is always local and your department has the capability to send a second vehicle out to assist the stalled vehicle, you might opt to continue going it alone. If, on the other hand, you have many drivers, drivers less capable of getting a vehicle’s tire changed or battery charged, older vehicles, use the vehicles to ferry larger groups of people who depend on the vehicle to get them somewhere, drive in far-flung areas at odd times, or any other factor that leaves you vulnerable or exposed to the problems of vehicle immobility, you might consider purchasing a policy – perhaps through AAA or comparable insurers – for roadside assistance.

In either case, every driver should be trained in what to do in case of a vehicle breakdown or accident, and every vehicle should have up-to-date emergency information in the glove compartment at all times. Information should include:

All vehicle owners are responsible to ensure that emergency equipment is onboard the vehicle and in useable condition. Equipment should include at a minimum: spare tire, jack, wrench, safety reflectors, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and the vehicle’s instruction manual.