How to Set Rules for Personal Conveyance and Off Duty CMV Driving

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August 6, 2019

Using a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal, off-duty driving use is known as Personal Conveyance. Personal Conveyance raises a lot of questions regarding hours of service (HOS) and other Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations for CMVs and carriers. When truck drivers use their CMV for off-duty driving, what rules apply to them and how can they be sure they are compliant?

In June of 2018 the FMCSA updated their guidelines and rules for personal conveyance to improve flexibility and consistency of enforcement of these 20 year old rules. The new guidance focuses on why a vehicle is being moved and whether or not it is loaded (laden), and provides examples of inappropriate and appropriate use of a CMV for personal conveyance.

What is personal conveyance?

The Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) mandate defines personal conveyance as movement of a commercial motor vehicle for personal use while off-duty. Personal conveyance means the vehicle is being used for purposes that do not benefit the motor carrier. Vehicles can be used for personal conveyance whether they are laden or unladen.

Examples of acceptable off-duty driving for personal conveyance

Generally speaking, drivers are allowed to engage in personal conveyance under FMCSA guidelines once they are relieved from all work and responsibility by their motor carrier. Motor carriers can set personal conveyance policies for their fleet as long as they comply with FMCSA regulations as well. Some carriers have very strict rules for off-duty driving. Below are a few examples of accepted off-duty driving behaviors:

  1. Time spent driving to or from a driver’s en route lodging, such as a hotel or truck stop, to entertainment facilities such as a restaurant or movie theater.
  2. Traveling to a lodging location after loading or unloading.
  3. Use of a CMV to transport personal property while off-duty.
  4. Commuting distance between a driver’s residence and approved work site or driver's terminal.
  5. Moving a CMV at the request of a safety official (for example, being told to leave a rest location at the direction of law enforcement).

When does the use of personal conveyance not apply?

There can be a grey area when identifying whether or not a driver is engaging in personal conveyance. In short, if a driver is moving a CMV in order to enhance the operational readiness of a motor carrier, they are not engaging in personal conveyance and are considered “on the job”. Examples include:

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  1. Driving past the nearest available resting location in order to get closer to the next loading or unloading point.
  2. Moving a CMV to an offsite location to have vehicle maintenance or service performance.
  3. Returning an empty trailer to a motor carrier's facility after delivering a load.
  4. Time spent driving to safe parking to take a rest stop after being placed out of service for exceeding HOS driving time limitations, unless directed by a law enforcement officer.
  5. Continuing an interstate commerce trip at the direction of the motor carrier or to fulfill a business purpose including bobtailing and repositioning trailers.

Other common questions about personal conveyance

Are hours-of-service rules applicable to personal conveyance time?

It is the responsibility of both the driver and the shipper to ensure compliance with HOS rules while driving on personal conveyance time. Drivers must not drive if they are drowsy, fatigued, or under the influence, whether they are considered on-duty or off-duty. Motor carriers and drivers must keep records of driver’s HOS, and electronic logging devices make that easier (more below).

Is personal conveyance allowed with loaded vehicles?

As long a laden vehicle is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the carrier, personal conveyance is allowed with loaded vehicles. For example, a driver with a loaded truck could drive from a rest stop to a restaurant while on break and that would be considered personal conveyance.

Are drivers susceptible to roadside inspections during off-duty driving?

Drivers should keep in mind that even when driving off-duty they are still susceptible to roadside inspections, which can include review of HOS compliance. Drivers are responsible for recording their starting and ending times when beginning personal conveyance. They must be sure to comply with HOS rules and regulations, such as the 11-hour driving limit and 14-hour driving limit if transporting property or goods. Drivers should never get behind the wheel when they are tired, distracted, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether they are driving for personal conveyance or on-duty hours of service.

What are the motor carrier's responsibilities for personal conveyance?

Motor carriers need to prioritize that their drivers are compliant with HOS regulations regardless of duty time vs. personal conveyance time. ELDs make it easier for fleet managers to enforce HOS regulations while drivers are on duty, and they are now required to be used via federal mandate. Some ELDs even have personal conveyance features that allow drivers to switch between on-duty and off-duty status recording. Motor carriers also have the power to establish policies that are more restrictive than FMCSA guidelines.

The Verizon Connect ELD is part of a total fleet tracking solution. It provides commercial navigation options that help with following HOS rules, following guidelines for personal conveyance, improving fuel efficiency, and promoting fleet safety. Contact Verizon Connect today for a free demo.

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