May 25, 2019

Golf cart users drive defensively

On a regular basis, golf carts can be spotted whizzing around campus, transporting students to their destination, assisting campus police in their daily rounds and providing means of transportation to university employees traveling across campus.

Throughout Fresno State’s campus there are roughly 50 to 60 golf carts allocated to various departments for university use, according to Ryan McCaughey of Plant Operations.

The golf carts are owned, leased or rented by the university. Some are gas powered, while the rest are electric. Campus personnel can rent the golf carts for departments, events and transportation purposes.

Within Plant Operations alone, there are around 30 golf carts that are shared by the office staff and maintenance employees. University Police Department is responsible for around 15 golf carts.

Each department is held accountable for the upkeep of their golf carts, such as checking the batteries and tires, said University Police Department Public Information Officer Amy Armstrong.

“Each department who owns golf carts are responsible for overseeing the staff that drives them,” Armstrong said.

The University Police Department’s Traffic Operations Staff and the free campus tram, the Dog Run, are the programs that utilize the golf carts for student assistance.

“Parking officers and safety escorts use the carts as transportation to make their way around the campus as they open buildings, direct traffic, patrol parking lots and serve the campus community,” Armstrong said.

As for the Plant Operation’s golf carts, students won’t find them of much assistance for getting to class on time. Employees are not allowed to use the carts to transport passengers.

Whether the golf carts are carrying students around or helping department employees, they can only be used with proper conduct and can only be driven in the course of university duties. All drivers must complete the Fresno State defensive driving course that is required not only by the university, but also by the state.

In order to drive a golf cart, the driver must be a university employee and enroll in the defensive driving course. For those individuals preparing to drive the golf carts at Fresno State, the course is offered once a month or online. The next course is on May 30 in University Student Union Room 310. To register for the May 30 or online course, e-mail Jeri Willis at

Drivers must possess a valid California driver’s license and have a good driving record. The driver can have no more than two Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) points and no DUIs within the past four years. After completing the course, drivers are issued a defensive driving card, which must be renewed every four years to continue to operate the vehicles around campus.

The State of California Department of General Services and Office of Risk and Insurance Management insures the university for auto liability coverage. All campus employees and students who will be driving a campus vehicle are required to follow the state administrative manual guidelines.

Environmental Health and Safety manages the approval process to drive golf carts or any vehicle on state business through the defensive driving program.

Defensive driving privileges can be taken away by the Environmental Health and Safety department if driving requirements are not met or if problems occur while operating any state vehicle such as a golf cart.

The defensive driving course is a quick refresher of good driving skills, according to the director of environmental health and safety, Steven Martinez. It also reminds drivers of pedestrian safety and their right-of-ways.

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