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5 Keys to Off-Duty Driving in Your CMV

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Many commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders wonder about off-duty driving in their CMV. We will discuss five things to consider regarding off-duty driving, and what to do to keep your driving record clean when given a traffic citation in your CMV or private vehicle.

Making personal trips in a CMV while off-duty has some restrictions you need to know about before you jump in and go to a hotel or restaurant. Although FMCSA does not address it, you should check with fleet management to make sure you are authorized for off-duty driving. Some insurance companies may not cover personal conveyance in a CMV.

1.Lose that Weight!

You cannot drive your CMV while it is loaded. Carrying any cargo while off-duty driving in your CMV is prohibited by the FMCSA, even driving with an empty trailer is not allowed. Before you go out to grab a burger or pizza, drop the trailer and go bobtail if driving a tractor-trailer.

2.How Far Can I Go in My CMV?

The FMCSA does not restrict how far you can drive while off-duty, though an inspector might not believe you drove 50 miles to get a pizza. Although in some places, like Montana, that might be believable. Keep it personal. All off-duty driving in a CMV should be for personal use and short distance, like to 7-Eleven or a hotel.

However, if you live 50 miles away from where you finished your driving day, you may commute home in your CMV, if it is not loaded, rest and drive back all while off-duty. This might seem unsafe to some, but there is no FMCSA restriction against it.

3.Nothing Work-Related, Period!

Nothing you do while off-duty should be work-related. You cannot go out to refuel the truck, get maintenance done on it, or even pick up repair parts while off-duty. Unless the driver can prove they used the entire tank of fuel for personal use, refueling is considered work-related and must get logged as on-duty. Nothing you do while off-duty can have anything to do with the care and maintenance of the truck or its cargo. Furthermore, the driver must be free to pursue personal interests.

4.How Do I Log Off-Duty Driving in My CMV on an ELD?

During the initial set-up of the ELD, you need to answer “yes” on the authorized personal use screen. Then, when you select “off-duty” on the HOS status, off-duty driving or personal use will not count against your driving hours.

5.No, You Cannot Drive Your CMV Off-Duty when OOS!

The FMCSR restricts use of the CMV when under an Out-of-Service (OOS) order. You may not use the CMV for off-duty driving, not even to drive to a hotel to rest.

Traffic Attorneys Who Regularly Practice in Lamont

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, when you received a traffic ticket while driving off-duty in your CMV or private vehicle. We practice only traffic law and handle all types of traffic tickets. We use a fixed rate for all traffic tickets so that you will never be surprised by an abundance of hourly charges. Give us a no-obligation call to discuss your situation.

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

Michael H., of Templeton, commented on Yelp, “As a CDL holder, any kind of ticket is exponentially more important to your driving record, career prospects, & pay potential. Bigger & Harman was able to get a 23 mph over ticket on the grapevine completely dismissed! Would have been satisfied with reduced to a non-career lethal hit but they exceeded expectations by miles.” Although we can’t get every ticket dismissed as we did with Michael’s, we have had tremendous success representing CDL holders in Lamont Traffic Court.

Send us an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

J.J. Keller & Associates, article What Is Personal Conveyance?