It’s been almost a year since electronic logging device (ELD) requirements have gone into effect – and like many regulations, the industry has had its ups and downs with it, and muddled through varying degrees of confusion on its proper implementation.
Among the FMCSA rules that have created some of that confusion are the rules that surround the proper use of the “personal conveyance” classification of driver time. What does the FMCSA mean when they talk about personal conveyance? And perhaps more importantly, what are their intentions, and what rules have they put in place to help clarify and enforce those intentions?
Recently, the FMCSA has revised their personal conveyance guidelines in an effort to provide that clarity – as well as to allow more flexibility for fleets and drivers.
“Personal conveyance,” as it pertains to the ELD regulations, is the use of a commercial vehicle by an off-duty driver for – well, for personal conveyance. Companies may choose to disallow such use of its vehicles by its drivers, but if they do allow it then the FMCSA has put rules in place to ensure that it’s not a way for companies and drivers to get around HOS and other rules.
Put simply, it allows for off-duty drivers to use their vehicles as personal transportation. Acceptable personal uses include using the vehicle as transportation between home, en-route lodgings or resting areas, or restaurants to a terminal or other work location – at which point the driver’s status would change to being on duty, and the HOS rules take over.
The biggest change appears to be in the laden / unladen requirements. Historically, if a vehicle was laden, it could not be used as personal conveyance – if it was laden in any way, then the driver was considered to be on duty and the normal ELD / HOS rules applied. In the most recent FMCSA guidance though, that has changed. The FMCSA now considers the intent of the movement, over and above whether the vehicle is laden. Thus, if the movement of the vehicle is truly personal in nature – i.e., it benefits the driver, and does not contribute to the operational readiness of the company – it can now be appropriately classed as personal conveyance.
As mentioned, the FMCSA has allowed this change in order to provide commercial operators and drivers with more flexibility. The normal HOS rules, however, still do apply. For example, if the driver is at home, and is dispatched from that location to a load, they are to be considered on duty even if the vehicle is unladen. And if a driver is in out-of-service status because they’ve exceeded allowed HOS, they cannot drive the commercial vehicle, even if it would otherwise be considered appropriate personal conveyance.
As with all things regulatory, of course, there’s more. For example, during authorized use of a vehicle as a personal conveyance, the vehicle’s ELD must aid in protecting personal privacy by recording location with a much lower degree of precision – somewhere on the order of “within ten miles,” as opposed to on-duty ELD requirements that location be recorded within a mile or so of accuracy.
Because there’s so much to know when it comes to ELD regulations, it’s always helpful to keep knowledge of 49 CFR 395, which are the actual HOS regulations, up to date. For further clarification, you can also check out this recorded FMCSA webinar, Personal Conveyance 2018, and hear directly from FMCSA personnel about their recent guidance on the topic.
And finally, be sure that you’re working with an industry-trusted ELD services provider like CyntrX. Because we have years of HOS experience and knowledge, and started implementing ELD for fleets and drivers long before the requirements became mandatory, we have the experience and expertise to ensure that you can always avoid costly out-of-service situations and the penalties that will come if you’re found in violation of the rules.
Request a demo, and learn why we’re ELD experts – and find out why we not only have industry-leading customer satisfaction, but have also become an ELD provider of choice for fleets and drivers who were unhappy with their current ELD partners and were looking to make a change.