For drivers travelling in Canada or the United States, it is important to understand how to use personal conveyance to comply with regulations. This blog demystifies this hours-of-service exception which differs in the United States and in Canada.

What is personal conveyance?

Personal conveyance (PC) is the moving of a commercial motor vehicle for personal use while off duty. Certain criteria must be met for personal conveyance to apply.

Personal conveyance in the United States

In June 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a guidance on personal conveyance. The updates allow drivers to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal conveyance, even when it is laden. Personal conveyance applies whenever the driver is off-duty and no longer performing work for the carrier.

The guidance clarifies under what circumstances drivers can use the PC mode. This includes time spent traveling to a nearby, reasonable, safe location to obtain required rest after loading or unloading, regardless of whether the driver exhausted his or her HOS. It should be noted, however, that drivers will still be required to respect the minimum rest period that begins when arriving at the rest stop, before returning to on-duty status.

Updates also include other personal uses of the CMV, such as travelling to en route accommodations (such as a motel or truck stop), to restaurants or entertainment facilities, or even moving a CMV at the request of a safety official during the driver’s off-duty time. Additional examples and a more detailed explanation can be found on the FMCSA website.

Nearest reasonable, safe resting area

“The movement from a shipper or receiver to the nearest safe resting area may be identified as personal conveyance,” says the FMCSA. The nearest rest location is based on the distance from the driver’s position, regardless of his final destination. This means that if the nearest rest location is in the opposite direction from a driver’s final destination, that is where he must drive. If a driver goes to the nearest resting area and is unable to stop there and must proceed to another location, he may continue to drive under personal conveyance and annotate the reason on his device.

Cases that do not qualify for personal conveyance

It is sometimes difficult to identify when a situation qualifies for personal conveyance and the FMCSA has said they will evaluate on a case by case basis. For instance, a driver can use the CMV under personal conveyance to drive from the terminal to his home, but not to a vehicle maintenance facility or garage. Other restrictions include:

  • The movement of a CMV in order to enhance the operational readiness of a motor carrier.

  • After delivering a towed unit, the driver returns to the point of origin under the direction of the motor carrier to pick up another towed unit. For example, the driver of a tow truck has an empty flatbed and has 30 minutes left until he must take a rest period. He cannot use personal conveyance to drive to the next pick up location to save hours. He must remain on duty and is subject to the HOS rest requirements.

  • Time spent traveling to a motor carrier’s terminal after loading or unloading from a shipper or a receiver.

Personal conveyance in Canada

In Canada, rules regarding personal conveyance are slightly different. The hours-of-service regulations limit drivers to 75 km of PC per day. Furthermore, the vehicle must be unloaded and trailers unhitched.

With paper logs, drivers use the off-duty status to travel under personal conveyance and must keep track of the distance traveled with odometer readings and subtract that distance from the total distance traveled for the day. With an ELD or AOBRD device, the distance is calculated automatically and drivers can annotate as they would while driving in the U.S.

Beware when crossing the border

If you have business on both sides of the border, be sure to know the differences in personal conveyance requirements. Both the rules and law enforcement are different. Just because your use in the U.S. was legal does not mean it will be when you cross the border. The fact that the commercial vehicle must be unloaded and the trailer unhitched in Canada can complicate things. For example, if you use personal conveyance in the U.S. (off-duty status) while your truck is loaded, and then cross over to Canada, your personal conveyance segment will be considered driving by the Canadian road inspector calculating the hours of service.

The best way to record and track hours of service, including exceptions such as personal driving, is by using an electronic logging device (ELD). You get detailed visibility into drivers’ hours of service and receive alerts to avoid violations, allowing you to ensure your fleet’s compliance.

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  1. Jaskaran July 21, 2020 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    Hi,
    Very informative article but I cannot see that in Canada, if we can drive to mechanic garages by using PC bobtail? And we do that, driving to mechanic using PC in Canada, will it be a violation if we cross to USA and inspected by US Inspector? I need info on that.
    I will appreciate that.
    Thanks

    • ISAAC Instruments July 27, 2020 at 7:29 am - Reply

      Hi! Drivers in Canada can choose to be off duty on personal use only if they are driving the vehicle for personal use that has no commercial purpose. Therefore, it would not be permitted to drive to mechanic garages using PC since the vehicle would be used in the course of the business of the motor carrier.

  2. Zahid Bhatti September 24, 2020 at 11:10 am - Reply

    I don’t understand when a driver is on rest for the purpose of reset for 36 hours without any load on his trailer, why in those hours he cannot drive his equipment to the mechanic or to the truck wash,
    This is the time when he/she is not performing his duties but preparing his/her equipment ready and safe for the next job,
    Why the driver cannot go to the mechanic by using PC in his off duty at home terminal time,

    • ISAAC Instruments September 29, 2020 at 2:49 pm - Reply

      Hello Zahid,
      First, we just want to clarify that we do not write the laws. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration decided the personal conveyance rules. In the examples given by the FMCSA, the movement of a CMV to enhance the operational readiness of a motor carrier and the time spent transporting a CMV to a facility for vehicle maintenance are usages that would not qualify as personal conveyance. Therefore, getting the equipment ready does not fall under personal conveyance as per the FMCSA. You may find more information regarding personal conveyance on the FMCSA’s website: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/personal-conveyance

  3. SEERHA November 26, 2020 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    Hi,
    I read the article and I got a question. Lets say I have used by hours of both on duty and driving but I cannot find a place to sleep. So can I use my Personal CON to go to a location to sleep in USA lets say which is about 30 miles.

  4. ISAAC Instruments December 1, 2020 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Hi,

    If a driver is already on the road and has no more hours of service, he/she can’t use personal conveyance to go to a parking lot. According to the FMCSA, that situation would enhance the operational readiness of the motor carrier and would not qualify as personal conveyance.

    Example of Appropriate Uses of a CMV While Off-duty for Personal Conveyance
    Time spent traveling to a nearby, reasonable, safe location to obtain required rest after loading or unloading. The time driving under personal conveyance must allow the driver adequate time to obtain the required rest in accordance with minimum off-duty periods under 49 CFR 395.3(a)(1) (property-carrying vehicles) or 395.5(a) (passenger-carrying vehicles) before returning to on-duty driving, and the resting location must be the first such location reasonably available.