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Hours of Service of Drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles: Proposed Regulatory Guidance Concerning the Use of a Commercial Motor Vehicle for Personal Conveyance


American Government Trucking

Hours of Service of Drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles: Proposed Regulatory Guidance Concerning the Use of a Commercial Motor Vehicle for Personal Conveyance

Cathy F. Gautreaux
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
19 December 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 242 (Tuesday, December 19, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 60269-60271]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-27315]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2017-0108]


Hours of Service of Drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles: 
Proposed Regulatory Guidance Concerning the Use of a Commercial Motor 
Vehicle for Personal Conveyance

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of regulatory guidance; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: FMCSA is proposing to revise the regulatory guidance 
concerning driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal use 
while off-duty, referred to as ``personal conveyance.'' This provision 
is available to all CMV drivers required to record their hours of 
service (HOS) who are permitted by their employer to use the vehicle 
for personal use. The Agency requests public comments on the guidance 
and its economic impact.

DATES: Comments are due by January 18, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2017-0108 using any of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room 
W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 
5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.

[[Page 60270]]

    Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket number 
for this notice. Note that DOT posts all comments received without 
change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
included in a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or visit Room W12-140 
on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays. The on-line FDMS is available 24 hours each 
day, 365 days each year. If you want acknowledgment that we received 
your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or 
postcard or print the acknowledgement page that appears after 
submitting comments on-line.
    Privacy Act: DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform 
its guidance process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including 
any personal information the commenter provides, to 
www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/
ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information concerning this notice 
contact Ms. LaTonya Mimms, Transportation Specialist, Enforcement 
Division, FMCSA. Ms. Mimms may be reached at 202-366-0991 and by email 
at LaTonya.Mimms@dot.gov. If you have questions on viewing or 
submitting material to the docket, contact Docket Services, telephone 
(202) 366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    FMCSA encourages you to participate by submitting comments and 
related materials.

Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
notice (FMCSA-2017-0108), indicate the specific section of this 
document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each 
suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material 
online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of 
these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a mailing 
address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your 
document so the Agency can contact you if it has questions regarding 
your submission.
    To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
put the docket number, ``FMCSA-2017-0108'' in the ``Keyword'' box, and 
click ``Search.'' When the new screen appears, click on ``Comment 
Now!'' button and type your comment into the text box in the following 
screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual 
or on behalf of a third party and then submit. If you submit your 
comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no 
larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic 
filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they 
reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard 
or envelope.
    FMCSA will consider all comments and material received during the 
comment period and may change this notice based on your comments.

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble 
as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
insert the docket number, ``FMCSA-2017-0108'' in the ``Keyword'' box 
and click ``Search.'' Next, click ``Open Docket Folder'' button and 
choose the document listed to review. If you do not have access to the 
internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket 
Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT West 
Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

II. Background

    Currently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) 
require drivers to document their HOS on records of duty status (RODS), 
identifying one of four duty status options: On-duty (non-driving), 
driving, sleeper berth, and off-duty (49 CFR 395.8). As a result, when 
personal conveyance in a CMV is authorized by the motor carrier, 
drivers are required to document such use as off-duty on their RODS, 
irrespective of the method used to record the driver's HOS (e.g., paper 
logs, automatic on-board recording device, electronic logging devices 
(ELDs), etc.)
    The minimum performance and design standards for ELDs in the 
Agency's final rule on ``Implementation of Electronic Logging Devices 
and Hours of Service Supporting Documents'' (ELD rule) include the 
automatic recording of data related to the off-duty movement of the 
CMV. As part of the ELD rule, ELD manufacturers are required to include 
a special driving category for personal conveyance. This may be used at 
the motor carrier's discretion, based on their operations. In addition, 
motor carriers may grant drivers authority to operate a CMV under 
personal conveyance without preconfiguring the ELD with the personal 
conveyance special driving category.
    The existing guidance on personal conveyance (49 CFR 395.8, 
Question 26) was issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 
FMCSA's predecessor agency, in a memorandum dated November 18, 1996, 
and later published in a compilation of guidance (62 FR 16370, 16426, 
April 4, 1997). The guidance reiterated the basic principle that a 
driver in off-duty status must be relieved from work and all 
responsibility for performing work. It highlighted the use of the CMV 
as a personal conveyance in traveling to and from the place of 
employment (e.g., the normal work reporting location). The 1997 
guidance included discussion of CMVs used to travel ``short distances'' 
from a driver's en route lodgings to restaurants in the vicinity of 
such lodgings. In addition, the 1997 guidance explicitly excluded the 
use of laden vehicles as personal conveyance and the operation of the 
CMV as personal conveyance by drivers who have been placed out of 
service for HOS violations. The guidance has remained unchanged since 
1997.
    In issuing today's proposed revision to the guidance, the Agency 
focuses on the reason the driver is operating a CMV while off duty, 
without regard to whether the CMV is or is not laden. The previous 
guidance, which required the CMV to be unladen, was written for 
combination vehicles, where the driver could readily detach the trailer 
and use the unladen tractor for personal conveyance. This 
interpretation had the inadvertent effect of not allowing drivers of 
single-unit work trucks that carry loads, as well as tools of trade and 
related materials, on the power unit to document this off-duty time on 
the RODS. In the absence of a trailer, these loads, tools, and other 
equipment cannot reasonably be offloaded, left unattended, and reloaded 
after the power unit has been used for personal conveyance. This 
proposed revisision to the guidance eliminates the requirement that the 
CMV be unladen and thus the disparate impact created by the previous 
guidance.
    FMCSA's regulatory guidance for the FMCSRs is currently available 
on the Agency's website at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations.

[[Page 60271]]

Question 26 under section 49 CFR 395.8 currently reads as follows:

    Question 26: If a driver is permitted to use a Commercial Motor 
Vehicle (CMV) for personal reasons, how must the driving time be 
recorded?
    Guidance: When a driver is relieved from work and all 
responsibility for performing work, time spent traveling from a 
driver's home to his/her terminal (normal work reporting location), 
or from a driver's terminal to his/her home, may be considered off-
duty time. Similarly, time spent traveling short distances from a 
driver's en route lodgings (such as en route terminals or motels) to 
restaurants in the vicinity of such lodgings may be considered off-
duty time. The type of conveyance used from the terminal to the 
driver's home, from the driver's home to the terminal, or to 
restaurants in the vicinity of en route lodgings would not alter the 
situation unless the vehicle is laden. A driver may not operate a 
laden CMV as a personal conveyance. The driver who uses a motor 
carrier's Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) for transportation home, 
and is subsequently called by the employing carrier and is then 
dispatched from home, would be on-duty from the time the driver 
leaves home. A driver placed out of service for exceeding the 
requirements of the hours of service regulations may not drive a 
Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) to any location to obtain rest.

III. Proposed Guidance Language

    FMCSA proposes to replace the above interpretation with the 
following revised Question 26 and seeks comments on this guidance. 
FMCSA also seeks public comments and information on other appropriate 
uses of a CMV while off-duty for personal conveyance, as well as the 
economic impacts of the proposal. FMCSA proposes to update the guidance 
for Sec.  395.8 Driver's Record of Duty Status to read as follows:
    Question 26: Under what circumstances may a driver operate a 
commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as a personal conveyance?
    Guidance: A driver may record time operating a CMV for personal 
conveyance (i.e., for personal use or reasons) as off-duty only when 
the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing 
work.
    (a) Examples of appropriate uses of a CMV while off-duty for 
personal conveyance include, but are not limited to:
    1. Time spent traveling from a driver's en route lodging (such as a 
motel or truck stop) to restaurants and entertainment facilities and 
back to the lodging.
    2. Commuting from the last location where on-duty activity occurred 
to the driver's permanent residence and back to that last on-duty 
location. This would include commuting between the driver's terminal 
and his or her residence, between trailer-drop lots and the driver's 
residence, and between work sites and his or her residence.
    (b) Examples of uses of a CMV that would not qualify as personal 
conveyance include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. The movement of a CMV to enhance the operational readiness of a 
motor carrier. For example, moving the CMV closer to its next loading 
or unloading point or other motor carrier-scheduled destination, 
regardless of other factors.
    2. After delivering a towed unit, and the towing unit no longer 
meets the definition of a CMV, the driver returns to the point of 
origin under the direction of the motor carrier in order to pick up 
another towed unit.
    3. Continuation of a CMV trip in interstate commerce, even after 
the vehicle is unloaded. In this scenario, on-duty time does not end 
until the driver reaches a location designated or authorized by the 
carrier for parking or storage of the CMV, such as a permanent 
residence, authorized lodging, or home terminal.
    4. Bobtailing or operating with an empty trailer to retrieve 
another load.
    5. Repositioning a CMV and or trailer at the direction of the motor 
carrier.
    The CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden, 
since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of 
the carrier at that time.

IV. Expiration Date of the Proposed Regulatory Guidance

    In accordance with section 5203(a)(2)(A) and (a)(3) of the Fixing 
America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Public Law 114-94, 129 
Stat. 1312, 1535 (Dec. 4, 2015), the proposed regulatory guidance would 
be posted on FMCSA's website, www.fmcsa.dot.gov, if finalized. It would 
be reviewed by the Agency no later than December 19, 2022. The Agency 
would consider at that time whether the guidance should be withdrawn, 
reissued for another period up to five years, or incorporated into the 
safety regulations.

V. Request for Comments

    Refer to the ADDRESSES section above for instructions on submitting 
comments to the public docket concerning this regulatory guidance. The 
FMCSA will consider comments received by the closing date of the 
comment period to determine whether any further clarification of these 
regulatory provisions is necessary. In addition to general comments 
concerning the guidance, the Agency is seeking information on the 
following:
    1. Which carriers or drivers would take advantage of the additional 
flexibilities proposed in this guidance?
    2. Are there particular segments of the industry that would take 
advantage of this change more than others?
    3. Are there some carriers or segments of the industry that would 
prohibit their drivers from driving laden vehicles for personal 
conveyance?
    4. For what reasons would a carrier prohibit drivers from driving a 
laden vehicle for personal conveyance?
    5. What benefits would the new flexibilities provide to carriers 
and drivers?

    Issued on: December 13, 2017.
Cathy F. Gautreaux,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2017-27315 Filed 12-18-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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