By now, many of you know that operating a commercial vehicle beyond the allotted hours of service is grounds for a violation. However, it’s unrealistic that truckers on the road be stopped and stranded when making their long journeys without a personal vehicle. For that reason, guidelines are put in place to promote safe and reasonable personal conveyance. Personal conveyance is the driving of a commercial motor vehicle, like a truck, during the driver’s off-duty hours. To avoid committing truck driving violations, there are some things to understand about off-duty trucking.
What’s It For?
As mentioned, personal conveyance is considered the movement of a truck for personal use during off-duty hours. Beyond letting drivers get to a truck stop or lodgings to get some rest, personal conveyance gives drivers some flexibility in their driving schedule when they get held up loading or unloading at a location. The driver can use personal conveyance to leave the property and get to the nearest safe stop before fulfilling their required off-duty and rest time.
This type of off-duty truck driving must be and is recorded via electronic logging devices. The time and miles driven during personal conveyance can’t be tampered with when this information is automatically reported. The places the truckers are commuting to and from must be for personal reasons, like getting groceries or going to a motel. Furthermore, when navigating to the appropriate rest stop during off-duty hours, the driver must take the vehicle to the nearest, safest, and most reasonable location. Of course, during off-duty truck driving, the driver must still follow safe driving practices. As you can see, the procedures for off-duty truck driving still requires the drivers to exercise sound judgment.
While the federal law allows for personal conveyance, not all individual carriers have to permit it. Therefore, more specific restrictions are generally set by carriers for their drivers. The main idea to take away is there has to be a clear distinction of off-duty driving. If the driver is in any way operating the truck or doing some task for the benefit of the carrier, it would be considered as part of their hours of service. Personal conveyance excludes driving the truck to get fuel, taking it in for maintenance work, driving an empty trailer or cab to the next work-committed destination, and certainly using your personal hours to advance to your next destination.
Previously, only unladen truck driving was permitted as personal conveyance. Now, some carriers are permit laden trucks to be driven, so straight trucks and semi-trailer drivers may use their vehicles during off-duty hours.
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