One of the key topics of conversation in the commercial trucking industry is centered around ELDs and their impact on driving events like ”yard move” and ”personal conveyance”.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been trying to come up with a better definition of what constitutes a ”yard” when it comes to ”yard moves” under hours-of-service regulations. Hours of service (HOS) compliance is an essential part of risk management in the commercial trucking industry.
In addition to commercial or owner-operator trucking insurance and safety-oriented procedures, complying with Hours of Service (HOS) guidelines to driver operations can protect commercial fleets and their drivers while helping to avoid penalties and fines. Although yard moves are not an uncommon practice in fleet operations, there are many misconceptions about the relationship between yard moves and HOS compliance.
What Is Yard Move?
By definition, yard move is designed for every moment when a truck is moved, but the truck is not actually being ”driven”. One example of a yard move is when you have been asked to move a short distance in a parking lot, or you are picking up a load and you need to move closer to the dock. When trucks are operated in fleet yards, such as to place themselves in a better position to receive maintenance or cleaning, this is also considered a yard move. The term ”yard” can refer to various facilities, including(but not limited to) the following:
- Port facilities
- Restricted public roads
- Private parking areas that are owned by a motor carrier
Two examples of properties that do not qualify as yards include public rest areas and public roads without traffic control measures.
The ”yard move” issue rose during the Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) process. Although ”yard moves” were already a part of the HOS regulations before ELDs entered the picture, without the use of an electronic device recording the movements of a commercial truck, the movements were generally not documented.
Before ELDs were implemented, fleet managers understood that yard moves were not considered an on-duty time and were not counted towards the hours of service. Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are not able to distinguish between what is considered on-duty movements and what is considered off-duty movements. Generally, an ELD will document each movement a commercial truck makes.
If a driver’s ELD logs did not meet the regulatory guidelines, fleet owners could face a variety of penalties and fines. Any penalty or fine can lead to an increase in expenses, including commercial truck insurance. The conversations about yard moves began to heat up during the Electronic Logging Device regulatory process.
In December 2019, the final ELD mandate deadline went into effect. After the mandate deadline, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance asked the FMCSA for additional guidance.
What Is Personal Conveyance?
Personal conveyance happens when your commercial truck is used for personal transport. How often do you finish your work for the day and drive your truck home? This is referred to as ”personal conveyance”. The FMCSA has set strict rules about when personal conveyance can be used. According to the FMCSA, you must be:
- Driving to and/or from your home to your work location
- Driving an unladen vehicle
- No longer considered on-duty
- Traveling a short distance from a terminal or motel to a restaurant in the area
If you use your commercial or owner-operator truck to get to your home, but you are called by your motor carrier and dispatched from your home, you will officially be on duty as soon as you leave your home. When personal conveyance, you will not be logged as on-duty driving. Personal conveyance should not impact your log.
In the United States, there are no limits placed on how much personal conveyance you can use. However, you should always be cautious when you do use personal conveyance. You may be questioned at any time if it looks like you are using personal conveyance too much.
Commercial fleet owners are aware that risk management can come in many forms. To effectively and efficiently manage risks, one of the keys will be trucking insurance. Compliance with federal motor carrier regulations and federal motor carrier regulations is also another key factor. Yard moves and personal conveyance continue to spark conversations due to the myths and misconceptions surrounding the topics.
The new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidance can help fleet managers remain in compliance with trucking regulations, including HOS regulations. There are yard move considerations that can help fleet managers put their drivers’ minds at ease when it comes to yard moves. What are the considerations?
- Yard moves can be used to satisfy required breaks as long as the yard move takes place during the break.
- Yard moves will not count against a set number of driving limits under the current guidelines
Yard moves are easy to audit in an Electronic Logging Device. The officer, investigator, or auditor can easily investigate the location data at the time of the yard move. The information that arises after the investigation will be able to help the officer, investigator, or auditor determine if the movement will be considered a yard move.
Managing HOS and understanding yard move and personal conveyance are key aspects of commercial trucking operations. When there is adherence to HOS regulations and the FMCSA guidelines are being followed, fleet managers will be able to supplement the protection of their commercial trucking insurance policies. Proper risk management practices can lead to trucking operations that are safer and more efficient.
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