FMCSA adds a few words to clarify its rules on personal conveyance

  Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

A small change in the guidance of the personal conveyance rules established several months ago by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration clarifies that a truck being used for personal conveyance doesn’t need to be empty.

The new guidance reads as follows: “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.” A spokesman for FMCSA said the phrase “even if it is laden” was added for clarification.  

Under the new guidelines for personal conveyance released earlier this year, personal conveyance could mean moving a truck into a rest spot in a period of time that exceeded the limits on for on-duty hours.  However, some truckers apparently read the rule and found it lacking in making clear that the truck being moved into place didn’t need to be empty. The “even if it is laden” phrase should clarify that.

(FreightWaves’ initial story on the new rules released at the end of May makes clear that a laden truck was considered acceptable for personal conveyance: “It will be acceptable to make that move in a truck that is laden. FMCSA said that is a reversal of past practice.” )

There will always be some ambiguity surrounding the personal conveyance guidance on moving a truck into place during time past the end of the HOS. How many minutes past the end of the HOS can you go? How many miles? And if the rule is that you can’t use personal conveyance time to move further toward the destination you’re headed to once your on-duty clock starts moving again, does that mean a trucker needs to go south to find a parking spot even if the next-day destination is north…and there might be closer parking that way?

Personal conveyance rules were one of the key areas of discussion at a session held by FMCSA chief counsel Jim Mullen at the recent American Trucking Associations’ annual meeting in Austin, and that ambiguity was front and center at the session.  

There also was some earlier guidance set by FMCSA on personal conveyance to find a “nearby, safe location to park” that could be viewed as having not specified that the truck could be laden.