Personal transport: how and when to use it
With strict hours of service regulations, using personal transportation can be an important tool for truckers. However, this can be a confusing area for some.
Personal conveyance is used to account for the movement of a truck while the driver is off duty. Current regulatory guidelines from the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration state that:
“A driver may record time spent driving a commercial vehicle for personal transportation purposes as off-duty only when the driver is relieved of his duty and of all responsibility for the performance of the work by the motor carrier. The VMC can be used as personal transportation even if it is loaded, since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the motor carrier at that time. Personal transportation does not reduce the driver’s or motor carrier’s responsibility to operate a commercial vehicle safely. Motor carriers may establish personal transportation limitations either within these guidelines or more restrictive than them, such as prohibiting the use of a commercial vehicle for personal transportation purposes, imposing a distance limit on personal transport or prohibition of personal transport when the commercial vehicle is loaded. .”
Drivers can use their personal transport in several ways
Tom Crowley, compliance and regulatory expert with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, says using personal transportation can benefit drivers looking for safe parking after their clock is up. 14 hours.
“You would have drivers who were at a sender-receiver who ran out of their 2 p.m. clock. And so technically they couldn’t leave the property of their sender-receiver,” Crowley said. “Still, the owner said to me, ‘Hey, you get your truck off my property or I’m going to call the cops!’ That would leave the drivers stranded. So the feds came back and said, ‘You can use personal transportation from a shipper-receiver, if you’re short on hours, to the most parking option. near, not on the way to your next load, but the nearest option. So personal transportation comes into play where you are off hours, but you have to leave the property. You can use personal transportation so you don’t have to show a violation at your nearest parking option. It’s a way to use it for the average driver on the road.
A former driver, Crowley drove his truck around the yard and back home every day. Using personal transportation, his hours began when he arrived in the yard and ended when he left the yard.
Additional instances of using personal transportation, per FMCSA guidelines:
- Time spent traveling from a driver’s en-route accommodation (such as a motel or truck stop) to restaurants and entertainment venues.
- Shuttle between the driver’s terminal and his residence, between the trailer depots and the driver’s residence, and between the work sites and his residence.
- Time spent traveling to a nearby, reasonable and safe place to obtain necessary rest after loading or unloading.
- Moving a commercial vehicle at the request of a security guard during the driver’s off-duty hours.
- Time spent transporting personal property outside working hours.
- Permitted use of a commercial motor vehicle to drive home after working at an off-site location.
Journaling Personal Transport
Crowley said drivers using a paper service status record can use the provision without changing their current check-in procedures. However, drivers using an ELD will want to keep track of the miles put on their truck while not in use.
“You don’t have to keep records. Technically, when you’re on personal transport, there are no hours of service to cover you, so you don’t have to record anything,” Crowley said. “That said, you have an ELD that tracks every mile you go, most people do now. They must therefore put the ELD in a status that will show a personal transfer rather than keeping their hours. So that’s when they would use the PC button or technically they could totally log out of the system. But then they would still have miles to manage with these missing people.
As part of the FMCSA’s ELD rule, manufacturers are required to include a special ride category for personal transportation.
Crowley said drivers need to be aware of instances where personal transport and its use can be misinterpreted.
“You’re out of deodorant. You run to Walmart, buy some deodorant, and return to the truck store. It’s a personal move,” he said. “But here’s the thing. If, while you’re at Walmart, you buy yourself a gallon of oil for your truck, you’ve canceled personal transportation. Because now it was a business-related move. Just to, you know, keep things complicated.
While some gray areas still exist for the use of the provision, Crowley said the most common example of its misuse comes from drivers inaccurately determining rest status.
“A lot of drivers tend to think that if they’re not loaded, they’re on a personal vehicle,” he said. “So I leave Kansas City, go to Los Angeles to deliver my load, then return to KC empty. You can’t return to Kansas City empty because it’s part of your trip. But drivers tend to think that if I’m not on dispatch, you know, I’m not on a charge that I can use as personal transportation. And I have to say no all the time. “Well, I did that.” Well , you weren’t caught. That’s the only thing.
Other cases that would not be considered personal transportation, under current FMCSA regulatory guidelines, include the following:
- Moving a motor utility vehicle to improve the operational readiness of a motor carrier. For example, bypassing available rest areas in order to get closer to the next loading or unloading point or another destination planned by the motor carrier.
- After delivering a towed unit, and the towing unit no longer meets the definition of a VMC, the driver returns to the point of origin under the direction of the motor carrier to pick up another towed unit.
- Continuing commercial motor vehicle travel in interstate commerce to fulfill a business purpose, including bobtailing or operating with an empty trailer to retrieve another load or repositioning a tractor or truck. a trailer under the direction of the motor carrier.
- Time spent transporting a commercial vehicle to a facility to have the vehicle serviced.
- Time spent traveling to a motor carrier’s terminal after loading or unloading from a shipper or receiver.
Knowing when to use – and especially when not to use – personal transportation is important. Drivers who use a personal means of transport incorrectly are subject to penalties.
“That would be a tampering with the logbook and would equate to an immediate 10 hour shutdown,” Crowley said. “And that’s absolutely what’s happening to them.”
Changes to FMCSA Personal Transportation Guidelines
On March 29, 2022, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance asked the FMCSA to change current guidelines regarding the use of personal transportation. In its petition, CVSA asked the administration to better define it by adding a maximum distance and/or time that drivers could operate under this designation.
“Under current guidelines, a driver could, in theory, travel hundreds of miles in several hours, all under the designation of personal transportation,” the alliance wrote in its petition to the FMCSA. “This presents the opportunity for increased driver fatigue and risk on our roads, as drivers may decide to drive hundreds of miles in order to strategically move to another location after driving a full day. With no maximum daily distance and/or time limit, the guide presents a legal way for drivers to significantly extend their driving time and load progress while recording personal transportation. to mitigate the impacts of fatigue on road safety Allowing a significant extension of driving time with the use of personal transportation undermines the objectives of hours of service regulations.
The CVSA originally asked the FMCSA to make this change on December 17, 2018, before the current revised guidelines took effect. This petition was denied on September 18, 2020.
CVSA’s claim is not groundless
Canadian truckers are limited in the distance they can travel using personal transportation. Current guidelines limit its use to 75 km (about 47 miles) per day. The driver must log in as being out of service with the truck unloaded and the trailers uncoupled.
According to CVSA, false service status violation records accounted for 3rd most documented driver violation in 2021. In June 2021, a violation code was added to roadside inspection software that allowed inspectors to note when a false record of service status violations resulted from improper use of a means of personal transport. As of January 28, 3,041 violations have been reported indicating misuse of personal transportation. Additionally, 61% of these offenses resulted in the driver being taken out of service because their misuse of the personal conveyance was an attempt to conceal additional driving time.
“By establishing a maximum distance or time allowed for personal transportation, FMCSA will not only eliminate confusion and inconsistent enforcement among inspectors on this issue, but will also ensure safer roads because commercial vehicle drivers and motor carriers are warned that personal transportation time cannot be used as safe harbor to travel hundreds of miles after exhausting their hours of service. LL