Ask Thorn Valley

Three major questions and answers that were forwarded to Thorn Valley by an attendee of the FMCSA meeting. These are questions regarding ELD compliance will come in handy. The next few months will be interesting as FMCSA and enforcement personnel make transitions.

Scenario 1

If a driver operates outside of the short-haul exemption greater than 8 times in a 30-day period, is the driver required to continue using an ELD on days when he/she would have otherwise been considered a short-haul operator? Guidance: No, an ELD is the required method of recording a driver’s hours-of-service only when he/she is not otherwise exempt. In the scenario outlined, the driver would be required to use an ELD only on the days beyond 8 in a 30-day period when he/she doesn’t meet the definition of a short-haul operator.

Scenario 2

A driver is stopped for a roadside inspection on a day in which he/she is considered a short-haul operator. Thus, the driver does not have a record of duty status (RODS) in the vehicle and a timecard is stored at the terminal. However, the said driver often travels beyond the terms of a short-haul operator and uses and ELD when required. At the time of the inspection, the driver used and ELD to prepare his/her RODS for the two days prior to the day of the inspection. Is the driver required to have copies of the RODS from the 2 previous days despite the vehicle being operated at the time of the inspection not being fitted with an ELD? Guidance: Yes, per interpretation #20 of 49 CFR Part 395.8, the driver must possess the RODS from days in which he/she is not considered a short-haul operator. Given the scenario above, the driver could accomplish this via printed ELD records for the previous 2 days available for the inspector to review.

Scenario 3

The ELD is not always capturing the odometer reading. Should the company officials manually input data as the result of a malfunction or data error? Guidance: Yes, the company officials should input the missing data if it is required to be captured by the ELD. There is not currently guidance for enforcement personnel outlining the number of errors or malfunctions which would deem the device no longer a valid ELD for use.

Personal Conveyance

Attached is the Federal Register Notice of the proposed changes to the personal conveyance guidance. The big change is that the vehicle does not have to be unloaded. However, FMCSA makes it clear that they are making this change to accommodate straight trucks who cannot simply drop their trailer and bobtail for personal reasons. This revised definition does not address the problem of a driver who runs out of hours waiting at a customer and then, after loading or unloading, is told by the customer that they cannot stay on their property. They give several examples of situations that do not qualify as personal conveyance and one of them is: Continuation of a CMV trip, even after the vehicle is unloaded. At the moment FMCSA is asking for comments and it seems that the motor carrier industry should take this opportunity to address the problem of customers who will not allow trucks to remain on their property.
View Federal Register Notice