What is personal conveyance?
Personal conveyance (PC) is using a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for off-duty driving. Drivers can log their driving time as PC as long as they’ve already registered enough hours and finished their duties for the day.
Personal conveyance enables drivers to travel short distances so they can find a suitable place for eating and resting. It helps ensure your drivers are not fatigued after their typical 11 to 14-hour shift.
Trucking companies aren’t required by law to allow personal conveyance to their drivers. Even if they do, it’s up to them to set their own personal conveyance rules and limitations.
That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a set of FMCSA personal conveyance guidelines to help trucking companies. We’ll discuss some of its key points in the next section.
Need-to-know personal conveyance rules
The main requirement of the personal conveyance FMCSA guidelines is that the driver does not perform any work-related tasks. That means the driver cannot pick up or unload any cargo or do any maintenance on the truck, as those are considered “work.”
In the United States, there is currently no limit on the distance a driver can travel under personal conveyance. However, a driver must still keep travel distances reasonable, as DOT personal conveyance inspectors can still call them out on any abuses.
As per new personal conveyance rules, drivers can now use a truck for off-duty driving, regardless if it is loaded or not. Older guidelines required drivers to use personal conveyance with empty trailers only. It was changed to allow them more flexibility in finding a safe resting spot after hours.
Uses for personal conveyance
It’s the driver’s responsibility to properly record their personal conveyance time. Some examples of that time could be:
- Travel time to a nearby, reasonably, safe location where a driver can rest after completing their loading or unloading duties
- Travel time from a driver’s lodging to restaurants or entertainment
- Travel time between a terminal and driver’s residence
When a driver needs to move because a traffic officer asked him to, this can also be considered as personal conveyance. In this case, he can log in PC hours until he reaches a more suitable place to park.
For a complete list of proper personal conveyance use, visit the FMCSA.
Personal conveyance and the ELD mandate
Before the emergence of electronic logging devices (ELD), drivers had to log any personal conveyance on paper. However, this produced a lot of inaccuracies and “fudging” on the drivers’ part.
With ELD personal conveyance, trucking companies are encouraged—but are not required by law—to set up personal conveyance ELD compliance for their drivers. Per the new ELD rule, ELDs are required to provide some sort of personal conveyance feature or a way for drivers to annotate the beginning and end of their personal conveyance time.
Currently, there is no set limit on the length of distance and time that can be logged as personal conveyance on an ELD. However, inspectors can and will use these data to determine if personal conveyance was used appropriately or not.
Personal conveyance and managing driver fatigue
Personal conveyance can help manage driver fatigue and allow drivers to transfer to a safe location so they can get enough rest. This is usually a truck stop or motel, but it can also be the driver’s home. When using a commercial vehicle for personal conveyance, a driver must ensure that the commute times between a safe location to rest and their starting work time must allow for enough time to “obtain the required restorative rest as to ensure [they’re] not fatigued,” according to the FMCSA.
Driver fatigue is a larger issue, as the US Department of Transportation reported drowsy and distracted driving as the cause of 6,000 deaths and half a million injuries every year. Some fleets have taken action to reduce drowsy driving, putting policy in place to manage driver fatigue before it turns into a catastrophic incident. One such fleet is Ryder, a transportation and logistics provider, who doesn’t rebuke drivers for fatigue-related incidents. Rather, they work with the driver to understand the root cause and coach to prevent fatigue moving forward.
Getting “enough” sleep isn’t the only solution to drowsy driving. Other expert tips for combating driver fatigue include:
- Taking a nap as it suits a driver’s work schedule. Even 10 minutes can make a difference.
- Understand which medications can cause drowsiness. There are plenty of seemingly harmless over-the-counter medications that can make a driver feel sleepy behind the wheel.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. This can include a steady bedtime routine and proper sleep environment.