The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is clarifying – through regulatory guidance – two points of confusion surrounding the agency’s hours-of-service rules: the 150-air-mile agricultural-commodity exemption and the personal-conveyance provision.

In December 2017, FMCSA published Federal Register notices proposing regulatory guidance for the transportation of agricultural commodities and the use of personal conveyance and requested public comment. The agency received nearly 850 public comments on the two topics.
150-air-mile radius agricultural-commodity exemption
FMCSA is issuing Regulatory Guidance to Section 395.1. Questions 34, 35, 36, and 37 were added to clarify the exception with regard to:

1. Drivers operating unladen vehicles traveling either to pick up an agricultural commodity or returning from a delivery point;
2. Drivers engaged in trips beyond 150 air-miles from the source of the agricultural commodity;
3. Determining the “source” of agricultural commodities under the exemption; and
4. How the exemption applies when agricultural commodities are loaded at multiple sources during a trip.

Personal Conveyance

FMCSA is replacing Question 26 of the regulatory guidance for Section 395.8. The revised text includes numerous examples to assist carriers and drivers in knowing whether the driver qualifies to operate the truck or bus for personal conveyance.
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 by the motor carrier, regardless of whether the vehicle is laden. Previously, drivers could only log “off duty” for personal conveyance if the vehicle was unladen. The new guidance describes seven scenarios when the provision may be used and eight when it does not apply.

Originally Posted on the Idealease Safety Bulletin