As you likely have heard, effective June 7, 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has relaxed the protocol for drivers to enter personal conveyance as an ‘off duty’ status. Read more about the provision in detail here.
This privilege is now afforded to a driver to find the nearest safe parking or rest location after their hours of service for a number of reasons outside their control. It could be due to a delay in being loaded at point of origin, or in those cases when a driver arrives at their final destination, but is now in the queue to back into a loading dock to unload the cargo.
A driver can also claim personal convenience if an off-duty period is interrupted by law enforcement that requires the driver to move his commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
Historically, personal conveyance use in the U.S. was only prescribed in those specific instances where an unladen truck was moved for personal use, outside the realm of any commerce.
In the new world, personal conveyance will continue to have no commerce involved, but the CMV can now be either loaded or emptied. Further, when a driver proceeds to the nearest reasonable and safe location and takes the required rest under the HOS rules, this movement will now qualify as personal conveyance. Such use will also not affect either the driver’s on-duty or the driving maximum time under HOS.
Any driver using personal conveyance for these purposes is urged to annotate the specific purpose for selecting this off duty status in the remarks section of the log should the motor carrier be subsequently audited. Equally important is for the motor carrier to have a clear and transparent written personal conveyance policy for driver use, if questioned by law enforcement.
Personal conveyance was never prescribed as an option in regulation, but was merely a FMCSA guidance. This continues to be the case with this change. Therefore, personal conveyance continues to be a privilege that a motor carrier can allow a driver to use or not depending on their circumstances.
If a motor carrier decides to allow personal conveyance, there are no limits that must be placed on a driver in the U.S. For motor carriers in Canada, please note that this protocol is managed quite differently.
Firstly, the privilege is prescribed in regulation as ‘personal use’. A driver in Canada can elect to be off-duty on personal use when they drive a commercial motor vehicle only if:
- He or she is driving the vehicle for personal use that has no commercial purpose;
- The vehicle has been unloaded;
- Any trailers have been unhitched;
- Driving is restricted to no more than 75 kilometres in a day;
- An entry is made in the “Remarks” section of the daily log or on the time records, stating that the driver used the vehicle for personal use.
- Driver must indicate the odometer readings at the start and the end of the personal use driving.
Stay safe, folks!