Motor carriers are responsible for ensuring that drivers are not operating while ill or fatigued. However, motor carriers, at their discretion, may authorize their drivers to use a CMV while off-duty for personal conveyance.
In the trucking industry, Personal Conveyance refers to the movement of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal use while the driver is off duty, and not furthering the load closer to the final destination.
The CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden, as long as the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the motor carrier at that time.
Personal conveyance rules are covered in the ELD mandate, and some of those rules have been updated to give drivers a little more flexibility when it comes to off-duty time.
It is important to remember that personal conveyance is not mandatory; it is optional. Carriers can configure their ELDs to allow drivers to log personal conveyance, but they are not required to do so.
Some examples of what the FMCSA does consider acceptable uses for Personal Conveyance include:
- Commuting between the driver’s work and home
- Time spent traveling to a nearby, safe location to obtain required rest after loading or unloading
- Time spent traveling from a truck stop or motel to restaurants or entertainment facilities
- Moving a CMV at the request of a safety official during the driver’s off-duty time
- Time spent transporting personal property while off-duty
- Time spent traveling in a motorcoach without passengers to a truck stop, motel, restaurant, or entertainment facility, and back, if the driver is off duty, or
- Authorized use of a CMV to travel home after working at an offsite location
[Related: Driver Training Prevents the Biggest Unplanned Costs Affecting Fleets]
However, drivers should be aware of some personal conveyance limitations.
Some examples of what the FMCSA does not qualify as Personal Conveyance include:
- Moving a commercial motor vehicle to enhance the operational readiness of a motor carrier
- Continuation of a trip in interstate commerce to fulfill a business purpose, such as bobtailing, retrieving another load, or repositioning a commercial motor vehicle at the direction of the carrier
- Time spent driving a passenger-carrying CMV while passengers are on board
- Time spent transporting a commercial motor vehicle to a facility to have maintenance done on the vehicle
- Time spent driving to a location to obtain rest after being placed out of service (unless otherwise directed by an enforcement officer at the scene), or
- A trip to the terminal after loading or unloading from a shipper or receiver
Calling one of the above scenarios personal conveyance could result in citations and/or fines.
When in personal conveyance mode, the ELD does not apply the time spent driving as a part of your 11-hour driving time, however, the ELD does still record and report the time, which will show up on an audit report.
Drivers pushing the edge of their drive time window will be tempted to use personal conveyance as a method to stay within their allotted hours and finish their day, but if audited it will only take the DOT Officer a few questions to determine if the recorded Personal Conveyance was legitimate.
Therefore, it is very important for drivers to annotate their logs, specifying why personal conveyance was used.
How yard moves are different
As with personal conveyance, ELD functionality will include the ability to record yard moves, if the company chooses to do so. Operating the vehicle as a yard move will not record the time against the driver’s drive-time window.
But it does count towards a driver’s “on duty, not driving” time.
In other words, if a driver starts their day performing yard moves, then they have started their 14-hour on-duty clock.
A yard move is the operation of a commercial vehicle within:
- a carrier’s terminal yard,
- a customer’s yard, or
- the lot of a repair facility.
It is important to note that when driving as a yard move at a customer facility, it must be a closed facility with restricted public access.
For example, moving a trailer or bobtailing at a shopping mall or other road or parking lot open to the public does not qualify as a yard move. It must be logged as driving time.
If other team members, such as mechanics, move the vehicle around the yard, they too should record the drive time in the ELD.
If they don’t login to the ELD, there will be an unassigned log. Be sure to assign the yard move to the mechanic or team member and annotate with any information.
Again, yard time shows up on an audit report and it will only take the officer a few questions to determine if the recorded Yard Move was legitimate or not. So, be sure to annotate your logs, specifying why the yard move was used.
Consequences of Repeat Violations
While a single minor DOT violation is unlikely to lead to long-term damage for your company, repeat violations will.
In other words, a history of repeat violations can cause shippers to become concerned for the safety of their cargo. But this is just one example.
Repeat violations can crush your fleet’s reputation by:
- Preventing you from hiring drivers who are looking for a trusted company to work for
- Increasing insurance premiums by 15% to 45%, less flexibility in writing those policies, or non-renewal of your policy
- Freight brokers not wanting to book loads for you
- Increasing the chance of future roadside inspections and additional fines
- and more
Trucking companies that are considered “high risk” have bad SAFER scores, high losses, accidents, driver issues, and conditional ratings.
Culture is key to implement the changes necessary to pull yourself out of this category, but it can take time to see the changes reflect in your SAFER scores and over-the-road performance.
If you are worried about being considered “high risk”, reach out to CNS Insurance to shop for a high-risk policy and assistance with risk mitigation.
Drivers need to properly manage their driver logs, ELDs, and pre and post-trip inspections. Carriers should implement quality:
- driver training that is ongoing and consistent
- driver education, and
- driver awareness of current and changing traffic laws
All of this will help prevent being a target for the DOT at roadside inspections and is a valuable resource to ensure a healthy fleet, and compliant safety practices.
Our DOT trainers offer a variety of in-person or online training courses tailored to the specific needs or weaknesses of your company.
For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or email@example.com.