FMCSA expands Personal Conveyance exemption to Hours of Service Rules

Effective immediately, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has said it will allow drivers to use personal conveyance status to get to the nearest safe parking spot/rest location after hours are exhausted by a shipper/receiver, or off-duty periods are interrupted by law enforcement.  Will this expansion of the “personal conveyance” exemption be abused by some drivers?  Probably, and so the logs and actual movements of tractor trailers should be carefully examined in any case where time and distance traveled before a wreck looks suspicious.

“The movement from a shipper or receiver to the nearest safe resting area may be identified as personal conveyance,” text of the clarification reads, “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.” (p. 7)

The new interpretation of when it is legal to use a truck for personal conveyance allows use of personal conveyance whether the truck is loaded or not.

Generally, personal conveyance use has not been allowed for any move intended to further the direction of the current or next dispatch, and is intended as truly personal use of the truck, outside the stream of commerce. Further clarifying the change in personal conveyance interpretation, the agency noted it recognized that “the driver may not be aware of the direction of the next dispatch and that in some instances the nearest safe resting location may be in the direction of that dispatch. If the driver proceeds to the nearest reasonable and safe location and takes the required rest, this would qualify as personal conveyance.”

Any driver using personal conveyance should “annotate on the log if he/she cannot park at the nearest location and must proceed to another location.”

Personal conveyance is also newly specifically allowed in other similar circumstances, the agency noted — when a safety official (such as a law enforcement officer) requires a driver to move during an off-duty period. Such a use should be “no farther than the nearest reasonable and safe area to complete the rest period,” according the Federal Register publication.

Travel to home after working “offsite,” as long as the driver’s home is not in the direction of the current or next dispatch, is also explicitly allowed as personal conveyance by the new guidance.

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