New Guidance Regarding Personal Conveyance in the ELD Hours of Service Rule
The FMSCA has provided further instruction on what counts as personal conveyance and what does not.
The FMCSA has just released guidance and clarification in response to the widespread concern and comments submitted in response to the ELD mandate that came into effect December 17, 2017. Carriers, companies, and associations wanted further information in what was regarded as a movement as a personal conveyance when off-duty as opposed to a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
The purpose of the FMCSA guidance is to:
The FMCSA has put this guidance forth, hoping to clarify what qualifies the personal use of a conveyance in an off duty-status, and the details on what is used to determine if the movement was appropriate.
The hope is to make the industry more uniform, and more easily and fairly regulated by law enforcement groups.
Straight from the mouth of the FMSCA
We have provided a straight quote from the FMSCA published guidelines here for you to read.
New Guidance Language
FMCSA replaces Question 26 as noted below. In accordance with the requirement in Section 5203(a)(2)(A) of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Public Law 114-94,.129 Stat. 1312, 1535, Dec. 4, 2015, the guidance above will be
withdrawn, reissued for another period of up to five years, or incorporated into the safety regulations at that time.
FMCSA reminds motor carriers and drivers that additional information about ELDs is available at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/eld.
FMCSA updates the guidance for§ 395.8 Driver’s Record of Duty Status to read as follows:
Question 26: Under what circumstances may a driver operate a commercial motor vehicle
(CMV) as a personal conveyance?
Guidance: A driver may record time operating a CMV for personal conveyance (i.e., for personal use or reasons) as off-duty only when the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work by the motor carrier. The CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden, since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the carrier at that time. Personal conveyance does not reduce a
driver’s or motor carrier’s responsibility to operate a CMV safely. Motor carriers can establish personal conveyance limitations either within the scope of, or more restrictive than, this guidance, such as banning use of a CMV for personal conveyance purposes, imposing a distance limitation on personal conveyance, or prohibiting personal conveyance while the CMV is laden.
(a) Examples of appropriate uses of a CMV while off-duty for personal conveyance include, but are not limited to:
Time spent traveling from a driver’s en route lodging (such as a motel or truck stop) to restaurants and entertainment facilities.
Commuting between the driver’s terminal and his or her residence; between trailer• drop lots and the driver’s residence, and between work sites and his or her residence. In these scenarios, the commuting distance combined with the release from work and start to work times must allow the driver enough time to obtain the required restorative rest as to ensure the driver is not fatigued.
Time spent traveling to a nearby, reasonable, safe location to obtain required rest after loading or unloading. The time driving under personal conveyance must allow the driver adequate time to obtain the required rest in accordance with minimum off-duty periods under 49 CFR 395.3(a)(l) (property-carrying vehicles) or 395.S(a) (passenger-carrying vehicles) before returning to on-duty driving, and the resting location must be the first such location reasonably available.
Moving a CMV at the request of a safety official during the driver’s off-duty time
Time spent traveling in a motorcoach without passengers to en route lodging (such as motel or truck stop), or to restaurants and entertainment facilities and back to the lodging. In this scenario, the driver of the motorcoach can claim personal conveyance provided the driver is off-duty. Other off-duty drivers may be on board the vehicle, and are not considered passengers.
Time spent transporting personal property while off-duty.
Authorized use of a CMV to travel home after working at an offsite location.
(b) Examples of uses of a CMV that would not qualify as personal conveyance include, but are not limited to, the following:
The movement of a CMV in order to enhance the operational readiness of a motor carrier. For example, bypassing available resting locations in order to get closer to the next loading or unloading point or other scheduled motor carrier destination.
After delivering a towed unit, and the towing unit no longer meets the definition of a CMV, the driver returns to the point of origin under the direction of the motor carrier to pick up another towed unit.
Continuation of a CMV trip in interstate commerce in order to fulfill a business purpose, including bobtailing or operating with an empty trailer in order to retrieve another load or repositioning a CMV (tractor or trailer) at the direction of the motor carrier.
Time spent driving a passenger-carrying CMV while passenger(s) are on board. Off•
duty drivers are not considered passengers when traveling to a common destination of their own choice within the scope of this guidance.
Time spent transporting a CMV to a facility to have vehicle maintenance performed.
After being placed out of service for exceeding the maximum periods permitted under part 395, time spent driving to a location to obtain required rest, unless so directed by an enforcement officer at the scene.
Time spent traveling to a motor carrier’s terminal after loading or unloading from a
shipper or a receiver.
Time spent operating a motorcoach when luggage is stowed, the passengers have disembarked and the driver has been directed to deliver the luggage.
Other concerns regarding the ELD Hours of Service Rule
Some other concerns were raised that the FMCSA answered individually. Here is an overview of the questions asked.
The FMCSA has clarified that personal conveyance is the same as off-duty status and does not effect on duty hour limitations for either truck or bus drivers.
A driver may move from a shipper/receiver to a rest area even if they have exceeded the HOS limits, as long as they move to the nearest available rest stop. If the nearest rest stop is unavailable, they can move on to the next. It is recommended that the driver note in their log why they had to move on to another location.
Note: The FMCSA recognizes that the driver may not know where the next dispatch location is. If the rest stop is in the same direction as the next dispatch, this does not change the drivers status as off-duty.
If official law enforcement personnel requests that the driver move the vehicle during their required break, this qualifies as personal conveyance and off-duty status and duration are not affected, but the driver must move to the next closest rest location.
Drivers may resume on-duty status from their rest location. They do not have to return to the site of their last on-duty location.
If any movement provides commercial benefit to the motor carrier, this is classified as an on-duty movement, unless as outlined in the note above. This on-duty status includes if the driver goes to their home if this improves their location with respect to the delivery unless it is the next closest rest spot.
Other takeaways from this new guidance:
Personal conveyance is not a requirement: It is up to each motor carrier whether personal conveyance of the CMV is permitted.
The FMCSA does not require the carrier to put limits on the personal conveyance: However, that does not mean that carrier won’t put limits on what the drivers can do while characterized as a personal conveyance.
The CMV can be either loaded or unloaded while performing off-duty personal services.
Commuting with the CMV to and from home can be characterized as personal conveyance
The major takeaway from all this is: the personal conveyance status is meant for personal use: finding a restroom, rest stop, or restaurant while off-duty for example. Don’t try to enhance your readiness to move to another location while off duty, this is what enforcement officials will be looking for. And make sure you stay within the guidelines set by the carrier you are employed by.
To read the guidance in full you can check out the PDF here