The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA)’s updated its personal conveyance rules to add more flexibility for commercial drivers. Informed by industry feedback on changes first proposed in 2017, the guidelines clarify and expand the use of the off-duty driving status. This article outlines what you need to know to understand the personal conveyance limit.

What is personal conveyance? 

Personal conveyance is the term the FMCSA applies to “the movement of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal use while off-duty.” Personal conveyance would fall under the off-duty hours-of-service (HOS) a driver documents, along with on-duty not driving, driving, or sleeper berth (49 CFR 395.8).

When a driver records time for personal conveyance, they must be relieved of work and all responsibility for performing work by the motor carrier. Of course, they must still responsibly operate the CMV, but there is no commercial benefit for the motor carrier from the movement of the CMV.

What are the personal conveyance rules?

Before the electronic logging device (ELD) rule was established in December 2015, designating drive time as personal conveyance could be documented by hand. With the introduction of ELDs, the method of recording personal conveyance changed. This led to a need for greater clarity on the rules.

FMCSA personal conveyance rules were modified to give drivers the flexibility to locate and obtain adequate rest while in personal conveyance status. Instead of focusing on whether the vehicle is laden or unladen, the agency now focuses on the purpose behind the driver’s operation of the CMV while off-duty. Specifically, the modification lets drivers drive off-duty, in personal conveyance, with a laden truck.

In describing the changes, the FMCSA noted there are “approximately 2.3 million straight trucks that operate in interstate commerce.” Under the previous personal conveyance rules, if a driver was held up by loading or unloading of cargo, operating in the correct off-duty status was complicated because they were still laden.

The revised guidance allows laden vehicles, under specific circumstances, to be driven as a personal conveyance.

Special driving status

The FMCSA guidance permits drivers to use their truck when off-duty for personal conveyance needs such as:

  • Traveling from a driver’s lodging (such as a motel or truck stop) to restaurants and entertainment facilities.
  • Commuting between the driver’s terminal and residence, between trailer-drop lots and the driver’s residence, and between work sites and the driver’s residence. 
  • Traveling to a nearby, safe location to obtain required rest after loading or unloading. 
  • Moving a CMV at the request of a safety official during the driver’s off-duty time.
  • Transporting personal property while off-duty.

Learn how to use Motive to enable or disable a driver for personal conveyance or yard move in our Help Center.

How does personal conveyance impact on-duty hours?

Personal conveyance is an off-duty status. As a result, there are no impacts to the 11- or 14-hour limitations for truck drivers.

Is personal conveyance mandatory?

Personal conveyance isn’t mandatory. Carriers can decide to configure ELDs to allow drivers to log personal conveyance, but they aren’t required to.

Personal conveyance limits

The personal conveyance rules can’t be used however the driver wants, though. The FMCSA identifies several things that don’t qualify as personal conveyance, including:

  • Movement of a (vehicle) to enhance operational readiness, such as moving closer to a pickup location or drop-off point.
  • Driving bobtail or with an empty trailer to a location to pick up another load.
  • Driving an unloaded truck to a designated parking area after being unloaded.
  • Repositioning a CMV or trailer in the direction of the motor carrier.
  • Transporting a CMV to a facility to have vehicle maintenance performed.
  • Traveling to a motor carrier’s terminal after loading or unloading from a shipper or a receiver.

Carriers might impose limits or establish policies for their fleets or drivers, but there are no specific time or distance personal conveyance limits for the U.S. In Canada, commercial drivers are limited to 75 kilometers (46.6 miles) per day. The 75-kilometer distance refers to the actual distance traveled, not the radial distance.

Learn how to use personal conveyance in this tutorial.

How Motive can help simplify FMCSA personal conveyance compliance

Understanding the FMCSA’s personal conveyance rules and ensuring drivers are always compliant with HOS regulations can help your company avoid violations and potential fines. FMCSA-registered and certified in Canada, the Motive ELD ensures compliance across North America. 

Drivers can use the Motive Driver App on their mobile devices to record personal conveyance movement. Accurate HOS countdown clocks clearly display the available drive time while pre-violation alerts notify of impending violations in advance. Plus, the mobile convenience makes completing logs and inspection reports faster and more reliable.

Managers benefit from ready access to driver data across the fleet. The Compliance Hub and Fleet App present a complete view of fleet compliance health. You can manage data easily, resolve violations faster, and stay compliant from anywhere.

Enjoy an integrated fleet management solution to ensure compliance and improve operational efficiency with Motive. Schedule your demo today.