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2018-01 January 9, 2018 FMCSA Proposes Changes to HOS Guidance on Use of a Commercial Motor Vehicle for Personal Conveyance

By Ed Mazzullo, Technical AdvisorJanuary 9, 2018

On December 19, 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice in the Federal Register requesting public comments on proposed changes to hours-of-service regulatory guidance concerning driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal use while “off-duty.”

The current guidance in Question 26 has remained unchanged since 1997. It provides for use for personal conveyance to be documented as “off-duty” on the driver’s record of duty status (RODS), and provides examples of uses that meet the criteria for “off-duty” use and those that do not.

In this notice, FMCSA proposes to revise the guidance to focus “on the reason the driver is operating the CMV while off-duty, without regard to whether the CMV is or is not laden.” In other words, the requirement that the CMV must be unladen would be eliminated. Mr. Mazzullo notes however, that “providing this benefit to drivers of CMVs containing hazardous materials may be difficult for hazmat carriers, particularly for shipments required to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR). For example, how can a driver be 'relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work' when driving a placarded load of hazardous materials?”

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The FMCSA notice of regulatory guidance; request for comments [Docket No. FMCSA-2017-0108] may be viewed here. Comments may be submitted online at www.regulations.gov. Comments are due by January 18, 2018.