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Personal Conveyance Rules by FMCSA

04/13/2022 00:59

The U.S. Department of Transportation describes personal conveyance as “the use of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal purposes.” To keep it simple, it’s when you use a CMV for travel not related to work. While this may seem like a trivial issue, it has caused some confusion for drivers and motor carriers alike.

Take note that there are important personal conveyance rules and regulations truckers need to know, and this article will surely provide a guideline of those that will help drivers understand what is allowed by the FMCSA.

What a Personal Conveyance is?

The requirements from The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for drivers are to document their hours of service by identifying under one of the four following duty status options:

  • Sleeper berth
  • Off duty
  • On-duty not driving
  • Driving

Personal Conveyance is the use of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal use while a trucker is in category 4: off duty.

Any CMV movement benefiting the motor carrier should not be considered personal conveyance.

Who Are Considered to Comply with FMCSA Personal Conveyance Rules?

The rules of personal conveyance apply to all fleets that run CMVs. A CMV is defined by the FMCSA as a self-propelled or towed vehicle used in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property that falls under one of the following:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight of over 10,000 pounds
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of over 10,000
  • Is designed to carry and transport 8 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is designed to carry and transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is used for transporting hazardous material, as identified by the Secretary of Transportation

Any motor carrier or driver that operates CMVs should be aware of these regulations and be compliant.

Determining if You’re Using Personal Conveyance

There is an easy way to understand if you’re using a CMV for personal conveyance.

The best and simple way to determine if you are operating under personal conveyance is to ask yourself these questions, as outlined by FMCSA Director of Enforcement and Compliance, Joe DeLorenzo.

  • Am I off duty?
  • Am I doing any work for myself, rather than at the request of the motor carrier?
  • Is the major purpose of why the motor vehicle is being moved personally?
  • Is it for a nonbusiness-related purpose?

Take note that if a driver can answer yes to all of the above questions, then they are operating under personal conveyance.

Here are some examples:

The statements under MCV uses that qualify as personal conveyance. Just take note though that these examples are not limited to the following:

  • Traveling home after working at an off-site location
  • Time spent traveling from lodging (such as a motel or truck stop) to restaurants, entertainment, or other commercial facilities while off duty
  • Moving a CMV at the request of a safety official during off-duty time
  • Time spent commuting between the driver’s work and his or her place of residence
  • Off-duty time spent transporting personal property
  • Commuting to a reasonable, safe location for rest after loading or unloading

Here are some Non-examples:

Below are some examples of MCV use that do not qualify as personal conveyance. Once again, examples are not limited to the following:

  • Time spent traveling to a vehicle maintenance facility for maintenance on a CMV
  • Any time spent driving a passenger-carrying CMV while passengers are on board
  • Traveling to a motor carrier’s terminal after loading or unloading from a shipper or receiver
  • Moving a CMV to improve a motor carrier’s operating readiness.
  • Picking up another towed unit under the direction of a motor carrier after completing a delivery
  • Operating a motorcoach with luggage after the passengers have disembarked, and the driver has been ordered to deliver the luggage

Is There Distance or Time Limits for Personal Conveyance?

No, there is no maximum distance or time that a driver may use personal conveyance. However, off-duty drivers must get adequate rest before returning to driving a CMV.

Can a Loaded Vehicle Be Used For Personal Conveyance?

Yes, drivers may use a loaded vehicle for personal conveyance. The term defines CMV use regardless of whether a vehicle is laden.

When Can a Driver Use Personal Conveyance?

A driver can operate a CMV for personal conveyance purposes anytime they are off-duty. They should be completely relieved from work and all responsibility pertaining to the motor carrier.

Motor Carrier Imposed Limitations

Motor carriers may establish personal conveyance limitations for drivers operating underneath them. Their rules must remain within the scope of, or be more restrictive than, the FMCSA guidelines. For example, motor carriers may ban the use of CMVs for the personal conveyance or impose a maximum time or distance.

As a driver, it is always a good measure to be aware of your motor carrier’s personal conveyance rules in addition to those laid out by the FMCSA.

Personal Conveyance Impact on On-Duty Time

A necessary requirement of personal conveyance is that it only occurs during off-duty time. Therefore, under no circumstances should it affect a driver’s on-duty time. Personal conveyance also should not conflict with hours of service (HOS) regulations including the 11/14-hour limitations for truck drivers or the 10/15-hour limit for bus drivers.

In Conclusion

To end this article, let's just say that personal conveyance is a concept that may confuse many drivers at first. However, it’s ultimately easy to grasp the basics. It is better that you’re familiar with what types of operations fall under personal conveyance and what the FMCSA regulations are. With that, you’ll know exactly how to stay in line.

If your company or drivers need help understanding this subject matter, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance from Labworks USA. We have years of experience helping motor carriers comply with federal guidelines including drug and alcohol testing concerns. Our DOT Consortium will support your fleet all the way. Know more about Labworks USA and feel free to check out our services here.

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