As a commercial motor vehicle driver, there are times when you are done with your work day and take your wheels back to your home instead of dropping them off at the workplace. The next day, you can take the truck back to work and save your time changing transportation. Everyone in the fleet and transport industry has done this at some point in their employment. The business owners also do not question this. However, for the purpose of calculating the Hours of Service, it is necessary to ascertain when the work vehicle is used as a personal conveyance.
- What is personal conveyance?
- What are the Hours of Service?
- Who is Subject to the FMCSA Personal Conveyance Rules?
- What Qualifies as Personal Conveyance?
- What is not considered Personal Conveyance?
- What Obligations does the Motor Carrier have when it Comes to Personal Transportation?
- During Off-Duty Driving, are Drivers Subject to Roadside Inspections?
- ELD Mandate and Personal Conveyance
- Managing Driver Fatigue and Personal Conveyance
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is personal conveyance?
Using off-duty commercial motor vehicles (CMV) for personal use is known as personal conveyance. It means using the CMV for purposes that do not benefit the commercial fleet operator. A vehicle can be utilized for a private commute, whether it is laden or not. Only after the motor carrier relieves the driver from all obligations to perform duties may the driver record the time operating the CMV for personal transportation as off-duty.
What are the Hours of Service?
Hour of Service (HOS) refers to the maximum permitted duty time for drivers. The HOS includes the driving time and defines the length and number of rest periods to help ensure that the drivers stay alert and awake. All CMV operators must comply with the FMCSA-HOS regulations found in 49 CFR 395. The hours-of-service have stipulated the range of hours for driving per day. The restrictions on driving are as follows:
- 14-Hour time window, to drive for a maximum of 11 hours and must take a 30-minute break after 8 hours.
- 11-Hour time window, after ten consecutive duty hours, a driver is only allowed to drive for 11 hours maximum.
- 60/70-Hour time limits driving time to 60 hours in seven days and 70 hours in eight days.
- 34-Hour restart-By accepting the 34-hour exemption status, all drivers can restart the 70- or 60-hour term. Drivers can plan their work by starting at the beginning of the week, recuperate and reset their work hours and repeat the cycle the subsequent week.
- 10-Hours off duty- After completing 14 hours, the driver must be out of work for 10 hours.
Who is Subject to the FMCSA Personal Conveyance Rules?
All fleets that operate CMVs are subject to personal conveyance rules. The FMCSA defines a CMV as a self-propelled or towed vehicle used in interstate commerce to convey individuals or cargo that falls into one of the following categories:
- Total vehicle weight or gross combined weight exceeds 10,000 pounds.
- Has a gross vehicle weight rating or a gross combination weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds.
- It accommodates and transports at least eight passengers, including the driver – for a fee.
- It boards and transports 16 persons, including the driver – without payment.
- It carries hazardous materials determined by the Secretary of Transportation.
What Qualifies as Personal Conveyance?
FMCSA stipulates those drivers use personal conveyance if they are in one of the following circumstances.
- Personal conveyance refers to time spent getting from the place of accommodation of the driver during a journey, such as a motel or truck stop, to dining establishments or entertainment venues.
- Every trip a driver makes from their home terminal to their home, from trailer drop-off points to their home, and from work sites to their home is considered personal. However, with the exception that commuting distance and time must be short enough to permit the driver to get sufficient rest to return to work the following day without being fatigued.
- The most critical aspect of personal transportation for drivers on the road is finding a safe location to park and take a break. The rest stop of choice must be close enough for the driver to return to work with adequate time to sleep. Even if it means the trucker will have to travel more when they return to work, the rest stop must be as close as is reasonably possible.
- Personal conveyance is when a driver is needed to transport a vehicle while not on duty.
- The driver can claim personal conveyance for time spent traveling without passengers to a motel or truck stop, for instance, and from their accommodation place to a restaurant, providing they are off duty. Although they may be in the car, other unemployed drivers are not considered passengers.
- Off-duty time spent moving personal goods is referred to as personal conveyance. For instance, if an off-duty driver drives their CMV to a used auto parts store to purchase a part or a car they are rebuilding at home as a hobby, this is seen as personal conveyance.
- This scenario is designed specifically for construction and utility firms that establish base camps close to a large job and conduct business from there for several days or weeks at a time. They are referred to as off-site locations because of their isolation. Personal transportation is defined as travel between the house and that off-site location.
What is not considered Personal Conveyance?
FMCSA specifies the number of instances of movements that would not be considered personal transportation. These movements would not be regarded as personal conveyance because they are all done for the profit of the motor carrier.
- Movements of operational readiness are actions taken to reduce the miles needed to complete the work for the following day while seeming to be off duty. One example of enhancing operations is for a CMV driver to bypass rest stops in favor of those more conveniently situated close to the next loading or unloading location or another planned motor carrier destination. This action would not qualify as personal conveyance because it would benefit the carrier by decreasing the time a driver spends behind the wheel, which may result in lower labor expenses.
- Once delivered, the towing unit no longer qualifies as a CMV. Personal conveyance does not apply if the motor carrier instructs the driver to pick up another towed unit.
- It is not personal conveyance when a truck is bobtailed (driven without a trailer attached) or when a trailer is towed empty for professional reasons (such as moving to the next loading point)
- The driver is said to be on duty while operating the vehicle while carrying passengers. When traveling to a shared destination of their choosing in a bus with just other off-duty drivers, they are not regarded as passengers and are deemed personal conveyance.
- A trip to a repair facility for business purposes is not considered personal conveyance. When a truck is driven home from a worksite or truck terminal using a personal vehicle the situation may seem perplexing. A trip to the repair facility is required to maintain the truck or tractor-trailer’s condition and ensure that it will continue to generate cash. The maintenance check-up is not viewed as personal conveyance because it helps the motor carrier.
- The time spent driving to a rest area after a driver has exceeded the 14-hour limit for the on-duty time allowed by HOS laws does not count as personal conveyance unless instructed by a DoT official or police officer present on the spot.
- Time spent getting to a motor carrier terminal after loading or unloading from a shipper or a receiver, for instance, does not count as personal conveyance.
- A motorcoach with no passengers on board carrying only luggage for commercial purposes is advantageous to the carrier. Hence it is not a personal conveyance.
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What Obligations does the Motor Carrier have when it Comes to Personal Transportation?
No matter whether a driver is on duty or using a personal vehicle for personal conveyance, motor carriers must prioritize that their drivers follow HOS laws. Fleet management can more easily enforce HOS laws while drivers are on the job due to ELDs, which are now mandated to be employed by law. Even some ELDs offer personal conveyance features that let drivers alternate between registering their status as on-duty and off-duty. Additionally, motor carriers have the authority to enact rules stricter than FMCSA recommendations.
During Off-Duty Driving, are Drivers Subject to Roadside Inspections?
Drivers should be aware that they may still be subject to roadside inspections, including a check of HOS compliance, even when they are not driving for work. When starting a personal conveyance, drivers are responsible for noting their starting and finishing timings. They must abide by all HOS guidelines, such as the 11-hour and 14-hour driving limit when transporting products or property. Regardless of operating a vehicle for personal transportation or during on-duty hours of service, drivers should never drive while they are tired, distracted, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
ELD Mandate and Personal Conveyance
Before electronic logging devices (ELDs) became commonplace, drivers had to record every personal vehicle on paper. However, this led to errors on the driver’s side. Although not needed by law, it is good if trucking companies set up personal conveyance ELD compliance for their drivers.
ELDs must have a personal conveyance feature or a mechanism for drivers to mark the start and stop of their conveyance time under the new ELD rule.
Currently, there is no fixed restriction on the amount of time and distance recorded on an ELD as personal conveyance. Inspectors can and will utilize these data to judge the proper use of personal commutes.
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Managing Driver Fatigue and Personal Conveyance
Personal transportation can assist in controlling driver fatigue and enable drivers to relocate to a secure area to obtain the necessary rest. Typically, this is a truck stop or hotel, although it could also be the driver’s residence. The FMCSA states that when a driver uses a commercial vehicle for personal transportation, the commuting hours between a safe place to rest and their starting work time must provide adequate time to receive the necessary restorative rest to ensure they are not fatigued.
The United States Department of Transportation found that drowsy and distracted driving caused 6,000 fatalities and 500,000 injuries annually, making driver weariness a bigger problem. Some fleets have implemented policies to manage driver weariness to decrease drowsy driving that could result in catastrophic accidents.
Sleeping enough is not the only way to prevent sleepy driving. Some tips for overcoming driver fatigue include:
- Taking a nap when it fits a driver’s work schedule is another expert recommendation for preventing driver drowsiness. It just takes ten minutes to make a difference.
- Recognize which drugs can make you sleepy. Numerous ostensibly safe over-the-counter medicines have the potential to make a driver drowsy while operating a vehicle.
- Maintain a healthy sleep routine. It might involve a consistent bedtime routine and a comfortable sleeping environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the penalty if I record driving time as Personal Conveyance due to coercion by the carrier, broker, or shipper?
The rules state that a motor carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary, including their respective agents, officers, or representatives, may not coerce a driver of a commercial motor vehicle to operate such a vehicle in violation of 49 CFR Parts 171-173, 177-180, 380-383, 356, 360, 356-379, or 390-399.
Any driver believing that they were forced to violate a regulation may file a written complaint under 386.12(c). A complaint under this section shall describe the action the driver claims, constitute coercion and identify the regulation the driver was coerced to violate. If the coercive party is found guilty of the same, they will be subject to 5 to 7 years in prison for the felony and intended falsification of the log. Likewise, drivers falsifying the logs will face a possible felony charge for not resisting coercion.
- What are my rights if I refuse my employer’s illegal instruction to record time under a load as a Personal Conveyance?
The Surface Transportation Assistance Act 49 U.S.C. 31105 (STAA) prohibits retaliation against the driver for recording on-duty time on a log book or in an eld properly. If you are terminated or fired for refusing to falsify your log, the STAA provides monetary or non-monetary remedies for drivers against the carriers.
An employer may not discharge an employee because of the following reasons:
- If the employee has, or is believed to have, submitted a complaint or started a legal process alleging a breach of commercial motor vehicle safety regulations.
- The operation violates a regulation or standard of the United States related to commercial motor vehicle safety, health, or security.
- Due to the vehicle’s hazardous condition, the employee has a reasonable fear of suffering an injury or endangering the public.
3. Does the carrier decide where I go to take my 10-hour break?
Use of a truck for personal transportation on a bulk carriers’ off day is permitted but not necessary. Although such restrictions are not required, some companies may establish corporate policies that set mileage or time restrictions for the usage of personal transportation. Also, FMCSA advises carriers to have a policy outlining what they permit in terms of private carriage.
Understanding the personal use of fleet vehicles is equally essential for fleet owners and drivers. It helps distinguish the vehicle-related fuel expenses and driver’s time used for company and personal reasons. Any negligence in the accurate recording of the same can mean a monetary loss for the fleet and the driver. Furthermore, the FMCSA has always been categorically intolerant of asset misuse, misrecord of HoS, and other regulations. Whether you are an experienced or new driver, always recap the rules regarding personal conveyance before using the fleet vehicle to take a trip back home.