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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Personal Conveyance Clarified In The Age Of ELD’s


After promising to listen to truck drivers and consider their issues going forward, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for the first time in 20 years issued new guidance regarding personal conveyance designed to clarify the situations under which it can be used.

Personal conveyance of the commercial motor vehicle is an off-duty status and therefore, doesn’t impact 11- or 14-hour limitations for truck drivers, the 60/70-hour limitations or the 34-hour restart. The subject has long been a source of confusion, but now that electronic logging devices are mandated it’s even trickier since all movement of the commercial vehicle must be exactly accounted for.

“This change in guidance for personal conveyance likely comes from the many scenarios which have played out where a driver is parked for the night and is asked to move their CMV 20 feet away or is asked to leave the property of the shipper, or simply just ran out of time to find a safe place to park. This new development makes life easier not only for drivers, but shippers as well. Before the FMCSA loosened the rule, shippers were in an awkward spot: since many of them don’t have sufficient parking at their stores and warehouses, they often had trucks parked onsite who had run out of legal hours but couldn’t use their trucks for personal conveyance so stayed put for a rest. But, shippers couldn’t order them off their property without risking a possible fine or investigation under the driver coercion rule. Now that drivers have more flexibility, it will ease congestion at distribution centers,” said Oswaldo Flores, product manager for Teletrac Navman, a fleet management solutions provider.

“These type of changes are welcome from the industry and shows a goodwill to the carriers and drivers concerns from the FMCSA. I think what is key here is the willingness from the FCMSA to flex the recent mandate regulations and adjust accordingly to the real world impact as they play out in the field. It’s also significant that the FMCSA adapted a rule that had long vexed truckers, which may signal their willingness to be flexible and attentive to drivers’ viewpoints going forward and re-consider measures that would make their jobs easier,” Flores added.

After asking for input last year, the Agency received nearly 400 comments from industry stakeholders indicating that much of the stress concerning hours of service results from delays in loading and unloading, putting drivers over their number of allowed working hours.

New guidance says the movement from a shipper or receiver to the nearest safe resting area may be identified as personal conveyance, regardless of whether the driver exhausted his or her HOS, as long as the CMV is being moved solely to enable the driver to obtain the

required rest at a safe location.

The agency also said if a federal, state or local law enforcement official requires the driver to relocate the CMV during the 10-hour break period, it “does not require a restart of the rest period”, however “the CMV must be moved no farther than the nearest reasonable and safe area to complete the rest period.”

However, carrier’s are not required to allow personal conveyance and FMCSA recommends they have a clear policy regarding the issue in place. Also, drivers must be off-duty and relieved of any work responsibilities in order for it to be considered personal conveyance.