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The Basics of Using Your Truck for Personal Conveyance

undefinedWhat Is Personal Conveyance?

According to the FMCSA hours of service (HOS) rules, “Personal conveyance is the movement of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal use while off-duty. A driver may record time operating a CMV for personal conveyance as off-duty only when the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work by the motor carrier.”

Although the FMCSA HOS personal conveyance rules apply to all CDL holders, not all carriers allow personal conveyance. Additionally, carriers can provide guidance to their drivers that permit certain aspects of the rules and restrict others. Drivers should be familiar with their company policies and procedures as long as they do not conflict with FMCSA HOS rules.

The driver can use personal conveyance even while loaded when off-duty to find a hotel, a restaurant, go to the gym, or even to drive home. However, there is a limit when using personal conveyance for commuting.

Personal conveyance does not relieve the driver from operating the vehicle safely in accordance with FMCSA rules.

Personal conveyance examples:

  • Traveling from a hotel or truck stop to a restaurant or entertainment (cinema, bowling center, gym, etc.).
  • Traveling to and from a “nearby, reasonable, safe location to obtain required rest after loading or unloading.” The use of personal conveyance must not deny the driver “restorative rest as to ensure the driver is not fatigued.”
  • Moving personal property while off-duty.
  • Using a chartered bus to and from entertainment facilities without passengers (other off-duty drivers are not considered passengers).
  • Authorized commuting to and from home when working at an offsite location.
  • Movement of the CMV as directed by law enforcement (LE) or safety official.

Likewise, when an LEO orders you to move the truck. However, when fleet management orders you to move the truck, that is not personal conveyance.

What Is Not Personal Conveyance?

It is not personal conveyance when fleet says to pick up a needed vehicle part while you’re off-duty.

The following are examples of activities not considered personal conveyance:

  • Moving the CMV to improve operational readiness, such as bypassing an otherwise acceptable resting location or lodging to get closer to loading or unloading or other carrier preferred location.
  • Pre-positioning a bobtailed truck so that it will be ready to load a trailer.
  • Driving a chartered bus with passengers to a restaurant or entertainment center.
  • Delivering luggage after the passengers have disembarked.
  • Driving to carrier headquarters after unloading.
  • Picking up vehicle parts or dropping the vehicle off for maintenance.

Just about anything a carrier directs you to do during your off-duty time is not personal conveyance. This means that you are not off-duty if you must perform chores or missions for the carrier.

Personal Conveyance Takeaways

"A good rule of thumb is if you’re trying to convince yourself that it’s not work, then it’s probably work.” — John Seidl, a former FMCSA enforcement official.

It is too easy to get stuck with no legal driving hours after waiting several hours to get unloaded at the shipping dock. You must log out as off-duty and change your duty status to personal conveyance to move to a hotel or parking lot for a sleeper berth if the shipper requests you leave their operations area.

Use your cellphone to photograph full parking lots and no vacancy signs to prove that driving 28 miles to a hotel was warranted and the closest “nearby, reasonable, safe location.”

However, what happens when you forget to make a duty status change to remain HOS compliant? An FMCSA approved ELD will not allow changes after the fact, so go to that portion of your log and enter a note describing what happened.

Say you used your truck to go to a restaurant during a sleeper berth or your 10-hour off-duty time, you should make a note of the occurrence in your log. Keep the receipts with a note pointing to those receipts to back up your use of personal conveyance.

What happens when you get a ticket for breaking DOT HOS rules? You must dispute the traffic ticket by consulting with and hiring a traffic lawyer. All CDL holders must challenge every traffic ticket, roadside inspection violations, and accident reports that point to violations by the driver.

Who Handles HOS Violations in Woodland, CA?

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, when you have a question about a possible FMCSA HOS violation. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We handle CDL holder traffic violations across California. We also represent CDL holders at DMV NOTS hearings to get additional leeway when you have received a DMV “Order of Suspension and Probation.”

Many truckers do not realize that the DMV is authorized to consider miles driven to give you more latitude when some or all of your NOTS points were gained in your CMV. Give us a call.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

FMCSA.DOT.GOV webpage, Personal Conveyance

The KeepTruckin.com article, ELD personal conveyance 101: What you should know

The TruckingInfo.com article, 6 Things You Should Know About Personal Conveyance