According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, personal conveyance is “the use of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal purposes.” In other words, 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.
There are some important personal conveyance rules and regulations truckers need to know, and this article will provide an overview those guidelines and help drivers understand what is allowed by the FMCSA.
What is Personal Conveyance?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires drivers to document their hours of service by identifying under one of the four following duty status options:
- On-duty not driving
- Sleeper berth
- Off duty
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 Must Comply to FMCSA Personal Conveyance Rules?
Personal conveyance rules 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
Understanding if you’re using a CMV for personal conveyance should be easy.
A 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 personal?
- Is it for a nonbusiness-related purpose?
If a driver can answer yes to all of the above questions, then they are operating under personal conveyance.
Below are MCV uses that qualify as personal conveyance. However, examples are not limited to the following:
- Time spent commuting between the driver’s work and his or her place of residence
- 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
- Off-duty time spent transporting personal property
- Commuting to a reasonable, safe location for rest after loading or unloading
- Traveling home after working at an off-site location
Below are some examples of MCV use that do not qualify as personal conveyance. Once again, examples are not limited to the following:
- 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
- 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
Are 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 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.
Personal conveyance is a concept that may confuse many drivers at first, but it’s ultimately easy to grasp the basics. When you’re familiar with what types of operations fall under personal conveyance and what the FMCSA regulations are, 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 our experts. We have decades of experience helping motor carriers comply with federal guidelines, with expertise in DOT compliance programs.