Last week the FMCSA released new guidance to clarify and expand the use of a CMV for Personal Conveyance. Here's an overview of what's changed:
Drivers are now allowed to claim Personal Conveyance to get from a shipper/receiver to the nearest safe resting place, whether they have exhausted their drive time or not. It's allowed even if the nearest safe resting place is in the same direction as the next dispatch, as long as the purpose of moving the vehicle is to find a safe location.
Drivers are also allowed to claim Personal Conveyance when asked to move by law enforcement during off-duty hours. This movement does not require a reset of the 10- or 8- hour rest period between on-duty shifts, but should not be farther than the nearest safe resting place.
Perhaps the biggest change is that Personal Conveyance can now be claimed even when the CMV is laden, as long as the load is not being moved for the benefit of the carrier. Instead of focusing on whether the truck is loaded or not, the FMCSA wants to focus on WHY the driver is making an off-duty movement.
The FMCSA recommends that drivers annotate their logs when using Personal Conveyance so the purpose for the off-duty movement is documented for law enforcement officers.
The FMCSA expanded the guidelines to specifically include motor coaches, allowing off-duty bus drivers to claim Personal Conveyance when traveling without passengers to lodging, restaurants and entertainment. They clarified that other off-duty drivers are not considered passengers when traveling to a common destination, and that off-duty drivers may claim Personal Conveyance even with luggage on board.
Personal Conveyance is an off-duty status, so there is no impact to on-duty hours. Most of the guidelines remain the same, and it's important to remember that Personal Conveyance is not allowed for any movement made at the direction of a motor carrier, to position the load for operational readiness, to drive bob-tailed to pick up a new load, or for maintenance purposes.
For more information you can read the Personal Conveyance Regulatory Guidance here. The document includes the FMCSA's responses to public comment and the updated CFR § 395.8 Driver's Record of Duty Status with examples of approved Personal Conveyance use.