June 6, 2018

The FMCSA updates personal conveyance guidelines

The FMCSA updates personal conveyance guidelines

The FMCSA has updated personal conveyance guidelines and added more flexibility for commercial drivers. The latest guidelines clarify and expand the use of the off-duty driving status.

According to the FMCSA, drivers can now identify movement from a shipper or receiver to get to the nearest safe resting spot as personal conveyance after their hours are exhausted. Drivers can also use the personal conveyance status if their off-duty hours are interrupted by law enforcement demanding they reposition the vehicle.

The latest personal conveyance guidelines also clarify that the CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden, because the movement isn’t for the benefit of the carrier.

A quick recap

In December 2017, the FMCSA proposed revisions to the regulatory guidance pertaining to the use of personal conveyance. The agency received more than 380 comments — most of them were in favor of the changes.

For more information, read: The FMCSA proposes new personal conveyance guidelines.

The reason for using personal conveyance

Instead of focusing on whether the vehicle is laden or unladen, the Agency has now focused on the purpose behind the driver’s operation of the CMV while off-duty.

How does personal conveyance impact on-duty hours?

Because personal conveyance is an off-duty status, it will have no impact whatsoever on a drivers’ on-duty hours.

Finding a safe place for the required rest

Several trucking groups pointed out how drivers should be allowed movement from the shipper’s or the receiver’s place as personal conveyance — even after exhausting his/her hours-of-service limits — if the drivers’ purpose for operating the vehicle is to find a safe location to rest.

The FMCSA agreed — provided that the vehicle is moved for the sole purpose of enabling the driver to find the required rest and safe location.

“Previously we had said, ‘Do the best you can, but it’ll put you in hours violation,’” Joe DeLorenzo, Director of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance, is quoted in a recent article. “But when you analyze why you are making that move – to get to a safe location to get your required rest – that can be done during personal conveyance.”

Because drivers cannot move the vehicle to enhance the operational readiness of the motor carrier, the FMCSA encourages drivers to annotate their log if they cannot park at the nearest safe location and must move to another place.

Movements required by safety officials

If a local, federal, or state official requires truck drivers to move their vehicles during their off-duty period, that movement can be identified as personal conveyance.

Since the movement is done while off-duty, it will not require a restart of the rest period.

The FMCSA mentioned, however, that the vehicle shouldn’t be moved any further than the nearest reasonable safe area for the driver to complete their rest.

Again, DeLorenzo is quoted: ”Say I get woken up in the middle of the night because law enforcement wants me to move my truck. Again, the purpose of that movement is not to advance the load or get closer to where you’re going; the purpose is to get somewhere safe in order to take rest.”

What’s next?

To learn more about the recent personal conveyance guidance, you can read the text of the new Personal Conveyance Regulatory Guidance here. In it, the Agency lays out specific examples that do and do not qualify as personal conveyance using real-world scenarios. The updated guidance will be published in the Federal Register in the next few days.

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