In December, the FMCSA announced they were considering updating personal conveyance guidance in light of concerns stemming from the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. The original guidance was published in 1997 and has not been updated since. Following the announcement, the FMCSA opened a 30-day comment period that has since been extended to February 20, 2018.
The change to personal conveyance will be minor, but could have a big impact on drivers. The original guidance, released over 20 years ago, required vehicles to only use personal conveyance when they were unladen. It was written in consideration of combination vehicles – where the trailer can be easily detached by the driver.
Because of the way the guidance was written, drivers of single-unit commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that carried loads or work equipment were unable to document this off-duty time. The contents of these vehicles can’t be easily unloaded, left unattended, and then loaded back up in order to operate the vehicle for personal use.
The ELD mandate brought to light concerns with this section of the hours-of-service (HOS) rules since all miles, on-duty and off, are recorded using electronic logging devices.
What Are The New Personal Conveyance Rules?
The FMCSA now wants to focus on a driver’s duty status – so whether they are off-duty when using personal conveyance – rather than what they are carrying.
The revision is intended to eliminate the requirement that the CMV be unladen, therefore ruling out the inconsistent impact that personal conveyance has on drivers of varied vehicle types.
The change in guidance would allow drivers to use their truck off-duty. For example, when they are driving to their motel, a truck stop, or to a restaurant from their lodging. Drivers will also be permitted to commute to their personal residence, then back to their last on-duty location (for instance, a driver’s terminal, trailer drop-off location, or work site).
A Clarification on Rule Exclusions
The FMCSA also clarified some prohibitions to the proposed personal conveyance updates:
- The revised guidelines exclude the use of a CMV to boost operational readiness – meaning drivers cannot use personal conveyance to move closer to the next motor-carrier directed destination.
- When driving bobtail or with an empty trailer to a location to pick up another load, this time should be recorded as on-duty driving time.
- Driving unloaded to a designated parking area will still be included in your duty time.
- Any other movement that is made under the direction of a motor carrier, like repositioning a vehicle in a loading zone.
How to Use Personal Conveyance With ELDs
ELDs are required to include a duty-status option for personal conveyance. This option can be granted to drivers at the discretion of the carrier, as it is not auto-enabled. With BigRoad, this can be done from inside the BigRoad Web App in just a few taps.
Under the ELD mandate, personal conveyance can be tracked with less precision than on-duty driving time. The accuracy must be within 10 miles when driving in personal conveyance, rather than 1 mile when driving on-duty.
Drivers must select this status at the beginning and end of their personal conveyance time, and if prompted, annotate the record to detail their activity. Because the use of this feature is up to carrier discretion, carriers are advised to have a policy in place regarding personal conveyance and train their drivers on it.
Your Feedback Counts
Although the original announcement included a 30-day comment period (ending on January 18, 2018) the FMCSA announced that they would be extending the comment period to February 20, 2018. During this time, they are seeking feedback from stakeholders to learn about other circumstances where using personal conveyance would be appropriate. To submit your comments on the proposed guidance changes, click here.
Keep Up-to-Date With HOS Rules
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