For company drivers and leased owner-operators, a lot depends on the carrier you're driving for or leased to and its internal policies, as it's fairly common for carriers to set limits on "personal conveyance" -- off-duty driving of the truck for non-work/-business reasons -- that simply don't exist in current regulatory guidance.
In this video, part of Overdrive's Trucking Law series, attorney Paul Taylor's distillation of regulatory guidance around personal conveyance makes clear what is and isn't acceptable off-duty movement of the truck. If some in the enforcement community and trucking have their way, though, guidance in the future could change, with new limits.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance of law enforcement and industry recently reiterated a request to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to update its guidance around PC to include a time and/or distance limitation on personal use of a truck. As suggested, it's not the first time CVSA has issued such a request. A previous petition to FMCSA for time/distance limits to personal conveyance was denied by the agency in September of 2020. CVSA noted inspectors have difficulty determining if a driver’s use of personal conveyance is legitimately for personal use rather than a method of skirting hours of service regulations.
Yet that apparent difficulty didn't prevent inspectors from issuing more than 3,000 false log violations for improper use of personal conveyance since June of 2021, when enforcers began tracking the issue specifically.
Some among owner-operators also note confusion around what is and isn't law when it comes to personal conveyance as a significant source of inspector/driver animosity at roadside.
Notably, Canada takes a distance-limited approach to personal conveyance, with a 75 km (about 47 miles) cap for personal use, similar to what CVSA would like to see in U.S. guidance and/or regulation.
Further reading on the topic of personal conveyance and the hours of service:
- September 2020 hours of service changes and personal conveyance, coercion, rates
- FMCSA allows personal conveyance use from a shipper/receiver to a parking location
- What works as 'personal conveyance'?
- ELDs: What can be done about your 'jacked-up' log when you forget to go PC?
- Notes on proper -- and improper -- use of personal conveyance under ELDs
- Personal conveyance guidance notes with Roadcheck on the horizon
Find more information about the ins and outs of regulatory processes and the hours of service, maintenance and business, among a myriad other topics, in the Overdrive/ATBS-coproduced "Partners in Business" manual for new and established owner-operators, a comprehensive guide to running, and eventually growing, a small trucking business. The latest edition features a tutorial on hours of service flexibility introduced with the September 2020 split-sleeper-berth changes. Click here to download the newly updated 2022 edition of the Partners in Business manual free of charge.