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5 Items to Clarify Personal Conveyance Rules

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Although personal conveyance has been around as long as hours of service (HOS) rules, many still do not fully understand the rules. To stay in compliance with FMCSA HOS rules, when a driver uses their commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for other than transporting cargo, personal reasons, they must be off-duty.

There have been some recent changes we would like to catch you up on to keep you legal. The FMCSR used to state you could not keep your trailer attached to use the truck for personal conveyance. Then, the FMCSA discovered they might be putting drivers in a no-win situation if they ran out of driving hours during unloading cargo and would need to move their CMV to a location for rest.

1. What the FMCSA Guidance States

The driver can use their CMV to go to the “closest safe, and reasonable place to rest.” Likewise, depending on your fleet’s policy, you can use the truck for other personal errands. The FMCSA reminds drivers while using the personal conveyance status, they are off-duty, and the HOS 11/14 and 10/15 limiting rules do not apply.

2. Fleets of All Sizes Need a Personal Conveyance Policy

Fleets need a personal conveyance policy, which could be more stringent, such as one that states no personal use of CMV other than emergency movement, a more liberal application that makes full use of the FMCSA rules, one that limits distance or outlines specific use restrictions. Drivers need to know what their limitations are when using their CMV while off-duty.

John Seidl, a safety consultant states, “Companies that use personal conveyance to their advantage will retain drivers because you’re allowing your drivers extra flexibility to get their job done.”

3. What Is and What is Not Personal Conveyance

Some personal conveyance uses are indisputable and straightforward. When a law enforcement officer (LEO) tells you to move the truck because it is blocking traffic or what-have-you, fire up the rig, put the ELD in personal conveyance, and move to a safer location. Likewise, before you go back to the hotel after your driving shift, just because a fast food joint is across the street, doesn’t mean you have to use it. You can use the personal conveyance mode to drive to a restaurant with healthier food.

According to page 25380 of The Federal Register Volume 83, the following are examples of personal conveyance:

  1. Traveling to a hotel, restaurant, or entertainment from lodging
  2. Traveling home from trailer drop sites or terminals, providing there is enough time for rest
  3. After unloading or loading, the movement to “a nearby, reasonable, safe location” for rest
  4. Moving the CMV as ordered of safety officials
  5. Moving a motor coach with no passengers (other drivers are not passengers) as in 1 or 2
  6. To transport personal property in an off-duty status
  7. Traveling home

The following are examples of non-personal conveyance:

  1. Movements that improve operational readiness (bypassing adequate lodging to get closer to the next loading site)
  2. Using a truck and empty trailer or bobtailing to another pickup site
  3. Driving passengers to an agreed upon location for dinner or lodging even when the driver will sleep or eat there too, this is on-duty driving
  4. Maintenance, refueling, etc.
  5. When placed out-of-service, except as directed by the on-scene official
  6. Traveling to or from the shipper to the carrier
  7. Delivering luggage after passengers have departed, on-duty

Driving to get a part for the truck, refueling, etc. are work-related and thus not allowed. Off-duty means you cannot do anything work-related.

4. Personal Conveyance & Commuting

There is nothing in the regulation that prohibits a driver from going home or using the truck to commute to and from work. However, driving from home to the loading bay or shipper is work, you are on-duty. Driving from the shipper to the hotel or home after off-loading must give the driver enough time to get the prescribed rest. Although there is no prescribed distance limitation by regulation, the carrier might limit how far you can drive while off-duty.

5. “Closest Safe, & Reasonable Place to Rest”

The regulatory guidance that states, “closest safe, reasonable place to rest” means just that. Taking your truck to a hotel or motel closer to your next load if it is not the closest is not personal conveyance. The guidance, however, is not meant to restrict drivers from using their CMV within the scope of their carrier’s policy and acceptable use during off-duty time.

As long as the driver is off-duty and conducting personal business, there is no official distance or time limitation for personal conveyance. If a driver is off-duty for three days and has permission from the carrier to use the CMV to move, it’s perfectly legal to pack up their household belongings and move to a new location.

With the current driver shortage, carriers should use their personal conveyance policy to attract and retain good drivers.

Consult a CDL Traffic Attorney Who Practices in Roseville, CA

When you have a ticket for allegedly violating personal conveyance or HOS rules, you need to consult with a traffic attorney. To consult with a traffic attorney knowledgeable about trucking issues, call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We represent CDL holders and other drivers with traffic tickets and at DMV Hearing. No one understands CA Vehicle Code better than us, and applying it in traffic court is our only law practice. Unlike other attorneys, we do not handle other areas of criminal law but have mastered our craft in traffic courts throughout Central and Northern CA.

Therefore, when you require advice about a traffic ticket in Placer County, contact us.

Send us an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

HDT Truckinginfo.com article, 6 Things You Should Know About Personal Conveyance

The FMCSA link, Personal Conveyance

The Federal Register Volume 83, Rules & Regulations Pertaining to Personal Conveyance with a CMV