Questions About Logbooks, Using a CMV for Personal Conveyance & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of March 2016)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on February 14, 2016.
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EXTRA INFO NEEDED IN YOUR LOGBOOK
Q: Is it required by the DOT that a note be put on what the driver is doing while on-duty not driving, like fueling, a pre-trip or loading, as some examples? Thanks – Nancy in Illinois
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: The only information you must include in the remarks is the name of the city, town or village (with state abbreviation) where each change of duty status occurs. As far as additional information, the FMCSA has an answer for you in one of their interpretation questions for 49 CFR 395.8 which says: “Question 23: When the driver’s duty status changes, do 395.8(c) or 395.8(h)(5) require a description of on-duty not driving activities (fueling, pre-trip, loading, unloading, etc.) in the remarks section in addition to the name of the nearest city, town or village, followed by the state abbreviation? Guidance: No.” Many motor carriers do require their drivers to identify work performed during a change of duty status, but Part 395 neither requires nor prohibits this practice.
USING A CMV FOR PERSONAL CONVEYANCE
Q: I have been unable to find anything about a “Personal Conveyance” in the regulations book. I have heard numerous interpretations of what it might be, but not sure what the rules are exactly, or if there really is such a thing. I own my truck and trailer and operate under my own authority. If I get unloaded and do not have another load to pick up or deliver, can I drive home several hundred miles if I choose to – even if I do not have enough hours to do so, based on the current HOS rules? My feeling is that at that point I am not using the vehicle for business use. Thank you – Lyle in Wisconsin
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: In the DOT regulations, there is an interpretation that has been issued dealing with use of a CMV for personal conveyance, but it is not found in the small pocket version of the regulations. You either have to have the big Management Edition, which has the interpretations printed in it, or you need to access the FMCSA website (www.fmcsa.dot.gov). The interpretation is found in Part 395.8, Question #26. This interpretation gives two examples on when a driver can use their vehicle for personal conveyance. The first example has to do with use while you are in route with a load (you drop the loaded trailer and then use the tractor to go shopping, to a movie, to get something to eat, or go to a motel for rest). The second example deals with a driver dropping a trailer at a yard or terminal and using the tractor to drive home, then returning to the dropped trailer to start the next trip. Most Troopers/Inspectors will question a driver extensively when the driver has a different starting point from their prior ending point when not operating as a team. So, when you use the vehicle to drive home from your last drop and then start your next trip from a different location, some Troopers/Inspectors will cite you for having a false log.
KEEPING YOUR OLD LOGBOOKS
Q: How long should I keep my old logbooks? Thank you in advance for your help and for your service – Keith in Maryland
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: It depends exactly on what you are using the logbooks for, besides keeping track of your hours of service. If your CMV is registered pursuant to the International Registration Plan (IRP) and/or registered under the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and you’re keeping track of mileage ran in each state (jurisdiction) in your logbook, then you will need to keep them for years. Statutorily, the State of California may audit for a period up to three years. Therefore, a California-based operator is required to maintain records for about 5 years. Since California’s mileage reporting period is from July 1 of one year to June 30 of the next, a driver submitting mileage for the 2012 IRP registration year would submit mileage accrued from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011 – up to an 18-month delay. You should check with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) at www.mva.maryland.gov to find out how many years they can audit.
~ The Ask The Law™ programs are an ongoing educational effort between Ol’ Blue, USA™ and commercial law enforcement agencies. Ol’ Blue, USA is a non-profit organization dedicated to highway safety education and to improving relations between the motoring public, law enforcement and commercial drivers. “Ask The Law” is a registered trademark of Ol’ Blue, USA. This column is copyrighted© by Ol’ Blue, USA. Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice. These interpretations were made on February 14, 2016.