FMCSA CLARIFIES PERSONAL CONVEYANCE EXEMPTION
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration has clarified the personal conveyance exemption. This exemption allows for drivers, with the permission of the motor carrier, to utilize the commercial motor vehicle while logging the time spent driving as “off-duty”, if the driver meets the exemption for personal conveyance. There are no mileage restrictions or limitations as long as the driving is for personal use and not for business purposes. In order to meet this exemption, the driver must be relieved of all responsibility for the truck and cargo and be free to pursue activities of their own choosing. They must not be furthering the objectives of the motor carrier in order to be “off-duty”.
One of the biggest changes is that FMCSA no longer requires the CMV to be empty. Another significant change is that drivers who are leaving a shipper or receiver are allowed to use personal conveyance (off duty) to travel to a safe location for rest, as long as the rest and off-duty period is at least 10 hours. This means that drivers who are out of time and needing to accumulate 10 consecutive hours off can remain “off-duty” if they drive to the nearest point of rest to continue the 10-hour period.
Motor Carriers are free to impose more stringent requirements for the use of personal conveyance than this guidance allows, and are free to restrict the use all together. It is also important to remind drivers that personal conveyance does not eliminate the requirement to operate the CMV safely.
The information provided by FMCSA below provides clarification and several useful examples of determining whether the driving of the CMV can be considered personal conveyance.
As always, feel free to contact MMTA staff if you have questions.
Question 26: Under what circumstances may a driver operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as a personal conveyance?
Guidance: A driver may record time operating a CMV for personal conveyance (i.e., for personal use or reasons) as off-duty only when the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work by the motor carrier. The CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden, since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the carrier at that time. Personal conveyance does not reduce a driver’s or motor carrier’s responsibility to operate a CMV safely. Motor carriers can establish personal conveyance limitations either within the scope of, or more restrictive than, this guidance, such as banning use of a CMV for personal conveyance purposes, imposing a distance limitation on personal conveyance, or prohibiting personal conveyance while the CMV is laden.
Examples of Appropriate Uses of a CMV While Off-duty for Personal Conveyance
The following are examples of appropriate uses of a CMV while off-duty for personal conveyance include, but are not limited to:
- Time spent traveling from a driver’s en route lodging (such as a motel or truck stop) to restaurants and entertainment facilities.
- Commuting between the driver’s terminal and his or her residence, between trailer-drop lots and the driver’s residence, and between work sites and his or her residence. In these scenarios, the commuting distance combined with the release from work and start to work times must allow the driver enough time to obtain the required restorative rest as to ensure the driver is not fatigued.
- Time spent traveling to a nearby, reasonable, safe location to obtain required rest after loading or unloading. The time driving under personal conveyance must allow the driver adequate time to obtain the required rest in accordance with minimum off-duty periods under 49 CFR 395.3(a)(1) (property-carrying vehicles) or 395.5(a) (passenger-carrying vehicles) before returning to on-duty driving, and the resting location must be the first such location reasonably available.
- Moving a CMV at the request of a safety official during the driver’s off-duty time
- Time spent traveling in a motor coach without passengers to en route lodging (such as motel or truck stop), or to restaurants and entertainment facilities and back to the lodging. In this scenario, the driver of the motor coach can claim personal conveyance provided the driver is off-duty. Other off-duty drivers may be on board the vehicle, and are not considered passengers.
- Time spent transporting personal property while off-duty.
- Authorized use of a CMV to travel home after working at an offsite location.
Examples of Uses of a CMV that Would Not Qualify as Personal Conveyance
The following are examples of uses of a CMV that would not qualify as personal conveyance include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The movement of a CMV in order to enhance the operational readiness of a motor carrier. For example, bypassing available resting locations in order to get closer to the next loading or unloading point or other scheduled motor carrier destination.
- After delivering a towed unit, and the towing unit no longer meets the definition of a CMV, the driver returns to the point of origin under the direction of the motor carrier to pick up another towed unit.
- Continuation of a CMV trip in interstate commerce in order to fulfill a business purpose, including bobtailing or operating with an empty trailer in order to retrieve another load or repositioning a CMV (tractor or trailer) at the direction of the motor carrier.
- Time spent driving a passenger-carrying CMV while passenger(s) are on board. Off-duty drivers are not considered passengers when traveling to a common destination of their own choice within the scope of this guidance.
- Time spent transporting a CMV to a facility to have vehicle maintenance performed.
- After being placed out of service for exceeding the maximum periods permitted under part 395, time spent driving to a location to obtain required rest, unless so directed by an enforcement officer at the scene.
- Time spent traveling to a motor carrier’s terminal after loading or unloading from a shipper or a receiver.
- Time spent operating a motor coach when luggage is stowed, the passengers have disembarked and the driver has been directed to deliver the luggage.