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Ask The Safety Rep: ELDs During Personal Use

If a driver is permitted to use a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) for personal reasons, how must the driving time be recorded with an ELD?

Good question! The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) do not provide a specific regulation on this matter, but the guidance in 49 C.F.R. § 395.8, Question 26, helps clarify any confusion.iStock_000021963370_Large.jpg

First and foremost, the guidance states, “A driver may not operate a laden CMV (commercial motor vehicle) as a personal conveyance.” A driver can only bobtail the tractor or drive a tractor and empty trailer when the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. Driving an unladen CMV 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 recorded as off-duty time on an electronic logging device (ELD). Similarly, time spent traveling short distances from a driver’s en route lodgings, such as a shipper’s terminal or motel, to a restaurant in 

the vicinity of such lodgings, is considered authorized personal use and entered as off-duty time, as well. Keep in mind, though, if the driver uses a motor carrier’s CMV for transportation home, and is then dispatched from home, this should be entered as on-duty from the time the driver leaves home.An ELD does not change the duty status following a period of personal conveyance. The driver should change the duty status to off-duty before powering off or later annotate the record to explain the off-duty status at the end of the driving time. The FMCSA does not set a threshold for distance or time, but officials can and will use the data from the ELD to determine whether the special category was properly used by the driver.

Call to Action

  • Establish a written policy on the personal use of company vehicles.
  • Conduct training for drivers, dispatchers, and driver managers on how to properly log authorized personal use of company CMVs.
  • Audit logs to ensure compliance with FMCSR, found in 49 C.F.R. § 395 Part 395 — Hours-of-Service of Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers; Regulatory Guidance Concerning Off-Duty Time.

The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.

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