When Are Truck Drivers “Off-Duty”?

Truck DriversBecause truck drivers are in such a safety sensitive position, there are a plethora of rules and regulations to follow when it comes to how they spend their workdays. A driver is required to log their hours, in part to prove that they are operating within these guidelines.

But what about when a truck driver has some personal business to take care of, and they only have access to their commercial vehicle? These types of trips fall into “off-duty” driving time, or what is otherwise known as “personal conveyance”.

Personal conveyance is not actually spelled out in federal transportation regulations, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has provided an interpretation of the rules, an interpretation that must be followed by drivers looking to log “off-duty” time. They must meet certain specific conditions to be able to do so.

The first condition is pretty obvious—you’re not allowed to be working. However, there’s no wiggle-room in the condition. Drivers logging “off-duty” time are absolutely prohibited from carrying out any “on-duty” tasks. Furthermore, they must be completely relieved of their responsibilities as a truck driver.

The next condition is similar, in that it requires the duration of each trip—and the end destination—to be for entirely personal reasons. In other words, you cannot count the ride to the parts store as “off-duty” but you could count a trip to a restaurant.

Additionally, drivers on “off-duty” time are not allowed to be pulling any freight whatsoever. Not even a little bit. You cannot be “repositioning” equipment on the trip. And if you have been placed out of service for an hours-of-service violation, you may not log “off-duty” hours.

The last condition is that the distance of the trip needs to be reasonable. This is in part to make sure that a driver is well rested and driving safely.

Other issues may arise between the driver and his employer, but these have no bearing on the FMCSA interpretation for “off-duty” hours. To stay up to date on rules and regulations in the trucking industry, or for CDL driver staffing and placement services in all areas of Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, visit Platinum Drivers today.