CVSA Inspectors Compiling Driver Personal Conveyance Data
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In an effort to help convince federal trucking regulators to better define when truck drivers can legitimately use personal conveyance time, a group of hand-picked certified inspectors nationwide are compiling inspection data on drivers who log conveyance time during the month of August.
“The genesis of the effort was that we’ve filed petitions with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration twice in the past to try and clarify the personal conveyance language,” said Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Roadside Inspection Specialist Jeremy Disbrow. “Every time we’ve requested it, they said they need safety data to support it.”
So earlier this summer, CVSA’s board gave the go-ahead for the data collection effort, he said.
Specifically, Disbrow said CVSA has created an online survey to measure the number of drivers who use the conveyance standard legitimately, or to conceal driving hours.
“We’re looking for a broad swath of inspections across the country,” Disbrow said. “So the survey was sent to all 50 states, where we asked for the states to give us their 10 or 15 most detailed inspectors that will give us good notes and explain what they ran into for every stop and inspection in the month of August.”
He said the idea is to find out if drivers used it for a variety of authorized reasons ranging from getting to a restaurant or hotel to driving home or being told to move their vehicle by a law enforcement officer.
Disbrow added, “Then we determine if they used it improperly, was it used to conceal an hours-of-service violation? Did they go over the 11-hour or 14-hour rule?
“Once that’s all put together, we’ll do a summary and send it over to FMCSA, and hopefully that will bolster the argument that maybe they need to look at it and update some of the language.”
At the end of August, CVSA will compile the numbers — FMCSA was asking for 10,000 inspections — and determine if there is enough data to make their case, Disbrow said.
The subject of personal conveyance has been lingering between CVSA and FMCSA for some time. In addition to the petitions, conveyance was a subject of interest at a meeting as recently as June between FMCSA and its advisory group, the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee.
An officer performs a roadside inspection. Disbrow said they have asked all 50 states for their most detailed inspectors to provide notes on personal conveyance data they collect in August. (DOT Readiness Group)
Under current regulations, to be eligible to log personal conveyance time as off-duty, commercial motor vehicle drivers must meet several conditions as outlined in the regulatory guidance on FMCSA’s website. These include being relieved of all on-duty activities and responsibilities and ensuring that the off-duty trip is personal in nature.
“While these conditions present certain parameters to drivers and enforcement, the guidance it offers is incomplete because it does not provide a maximum distance and/or time that a driver can travel under the personal conveyance designation,” CVSA wrote last year in its petition. “This change [roughly five years ago] adversely affects safety by allowing drivers to utilize personal conveyance to legally drive many hours beyond the hours-of-service limits and by making it difficult for inspectors to identify the misuse of the provision.
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“FMCSA should add a definition of personal conveyance that includes a maximum daily distance or time limit and subsequently remove the existing guidance.”
In its petition in March 2022, CVSA said that as of Jan. 28, 2022, there were already 3,041 conveyance violations cited, indicating the misuse of personal conveyance. Of those violations, 61% resulted in the driver being placed out of service because their misuse of personal conveyance was an attempt to conceal extra driving time.
“Although this data is preliminary, it demonstrates that drivers are in fact using the vague guidance for personal conveyance in an attempt to avoid hours-of-service violations,” the petition said.
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