Personal Conveyance Update – Trying to Define What a Driver Can and Cannot Do

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June 13, 2018
Lew Bricker
SmithAmundsen Commercial Transportation Alert

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Hours of Service and when is a driver on duty, how time is tracked (ELDs), and what can a driver do, have been the subject of ongoing regulatory activity, litigation and debate for the past decade and more. One of the issues that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently addressed is the “personal conveyance” provision of the regulations. On May 31, 2018, the FMCSA provided new guidance for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) – both trucks and motorcoaches – personal use while off duty.

The updated guidance applies to §395.8 Driver’s Record of Duty Status. Some of the key aspects of the guidance include:

The guidance goes on to offer many examples of possible applicable circumstances and can be found in full on the FMCSA website

We counsel clients, draft polices and contracts, litigate cases, and respond to accidents that involve the issues covered by this guidance. We are asked what do we think is (and is not) proper? What should we do? The guidance does not address all of the issues and, like every rule, creates new ones.

Driving is never as simple as getting from point A to point B. This updated guidance still leaves the decision whether to allow personal conveyance up to the motor carrier. It does shift the focus, however, from what was on the CMV to why the driver is operating the CMV while off-duty.  To successfully manage these situations, carriers need to be clear on the policies that are in place.