The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a proposal aiming to slightly modify the existing guidelines for drivers who use their trucks as personal vehicles to their home, motel, or restaurant along their routes.
Although the guidance mainly relates to hours-of-service regulations and not the ELD mandate, questions concerning trucks being used as personal conveyance vehicles garnered more attention as the ELD mandate became mandatory on December 18, 2017.
In this new proposal, the FMCSA has proposed to remove the requirement that commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must be unladen before they can be used for personal conveyance. This change, therefore, will allow truck drivers to use their vehicles for personal purposes even if they are carrying work or load-related materials.
The FMCSA will soon post a notice in the Federal Register about the proposed changes and will seek comments from stakeholders for the next 30 days.
Special Driving Statuses
- 395.28 of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) — a subsection on special driving statuses — mentions the following:
“(1) Motor carrier options. A motor carrier may configure an ELD to authorize a driver to indicate that the driver is operating a commercial motor vehicle under any of the following special driving categories: (i) authorized personal use, and (ii) yard moves.
When an electronic logging device is set to personal conveyance mode, the device’s location function changes as it tracks the vehicle with a lower level of precision (approximately a 10-mile radius) via GPS instead of the one-mile radius required for on-duty recording.
The FMCSA has confirmed this on its site’s FAQ page.
“When the personal conveyance status is selected (as allowed and configured by the motor carrier), the CMV’s location is recorded with a lower level of precision (i.e., an approximate 10-mile radius).”
- 395.28, meanwhile, states that a truck driver operating a commercial motor vehicle under one of the special driving categories listed in paragraph (a)(1):
“(i) Must select on the ELD the applicable special driving category before the start of the status and deselect when the indicated status ends, and
(ii) When prompted by the ELD, annotate the driver’s ELD record describing the driver’s activity.”
It appears that the FMCSA expects drivers of tractor-trailer combination vehicles to drop their trailer before they use their trucks for personal purposes.
According to the FMCSA’s notice on the proposed changes, the guidance would permit drivers to use their truck when off-duty for “time spent traveling from a driver’s en route lodging” (e.g., a motel or truck stop), “to restaurants and entertainment facilities and back to the lodging.”
Also included is time spent “commuting from the last location where [the] on-duty activity occurred to the driver’s permanent residence and back to the last on-duty location” as well as driving from trailer drop-off areas to a driver’s place of residence, and between worksites and residences.
The FMCSA emphasized that personal conveyance under the revised guidance does not cover “movement of a (truck) to enhance operational readiness,” such as moving closer to a pickup location or drop-off point.
The following acts are also prohibited from personal conveyance use:
- Driving bobtail or with an empty trailer to a location to pick up another load.
- Driving an unloaded truck to a designated parking area after being unloaded.
- Repositioning a CMV or trailer in the direction of the motor carrier.
The FMCSA is seeking feedback from industry stakeholders to learn about other circumstances and scenarios in which personal conveyance would be appropriate.
Stay tuned for more news and updates from the trucking industry. We will inform our readers once the full notice is published.