Alex Clark, our Director of Compliance has been working in trucking for decades. He basically wrote the how-to guide on CSA when the government put it in place in 2010. His opinion on using Personal Conveyance: Don’t. It’s a gray-area rule that is open to way too much interpretation; and the person who decides which interpretation is right isn’t the trucker. It’s the DOT officer reviewing his logs.
Okay, but Personal Conveyance is there to be used, right? It’s helpful to drivers and practically essential if they have to make quick trips for errands, meals, etc while on the road. If truckers have to use Personal Conveyance, how do they do it without getting in trouble with the DOT? Let’s work through it.
From the FMCSA: “Personal conveyance is the movement of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal use while off-duty. A driver may record time operating a CMV for personal conveyance as off-duty only when the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work by the motor carrier.” (Check out this link for the full FMCSA page on Personal Conveyance. Lot’s of helpful Dos and Don’ts.)
The basics are that when you’re off duty you can claim PC to move in the truck not related to work. People usually get tripped up when they use Personal Conveyance for these two things: going home and looking for a safe place to park. Why?
1. Going home: has to be not related to work at all. If you pick up a load, then go home for your reset, then start from home with your load, that’s misuse of Personal Conveyance.
2. Finding a rest area: go back to the last one you passed. If that’s not an option, stop and google the best closest spots. Don’t just keep going and hope you’ll find something. “Furthering the load,” as DOT officers say, is misuse of Personal Conveyance. DOT officers don’t care that the last three rest areas were full. All they care about is that you drove the load a full hour toward your destination while in the Off Duty status.
So if the best way to avoid misuse of Personal Conveyance is to never use it, what’s the second best way? Plan your trip and have multiple stop options for yourself. That way you won’t get caught hopping from full rest area to full rest area. It’s not going to be perfect. Drivers get stuck in no-win situations with their logs all the time. But it’s better to take your trip in your own hands than have it reviewed and judged by a DOT officer who cares more about the black and white facts than your side of the story.
There’s one last piece of good news at the end of all this. Logbook violations don’t affect your driver’s license record. You might get put out of service for a little, but you won’t find yourself suspended for having too many problems with your logs. As long as you’re careful with your Personal Conveyance, you can avoid a lot of trouble.
If you need help fighting ticket or inspection violations for your logs or anything else, please give us a call. We see hundreds of tickets and inspections from all over the country every month. Our staff goes after inspection violations with DataQ challenges and our attorney network covers you in court for tickets from Los Angeles to Miami to New York to Sisseton, SD. I bet you don’t even know where Sisseton is. But you will if you get a ticket there, and we’re here to help.