When Can Driving Time Be Considered Off-Duty Time?
Under normal circumstances, all time spent at the controls operating a commercial motor
vehicle must be logged as driving time. But what happens if a driver is using his or her
commercial motor vehicle as a personal vehicle to drive to or from a personal
destination? The concept of “off-duty driving time” is not actually in the regulations;
however, it is discussed in great detail in the interpretation to Part 395. Interpretations
are the guidelines published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMCSA) to provide a better understanding of the rules.
To be able to log personal conveyance time as off duty (Line 5 on ELOGS), there are
several conditions that must be met. The guidelines are the same for Company Drivers
and Owner Operators.
First, the driver must be relieved of all responsibilities and conduct no on-duty activities.
No work for the company is allowed when using Line 5 (Off-Duty Driving). For
example, the driver cannot take the truck to a shop for repairs and use Line 5.
Second, the trip and destination must be purely personal in nature, Moving to pickup
your next load, going to a terminal or drop-lot, or going to get fuel are all work related
and cannot be done using Line 5 time. A driver can bobtail from the drop-lot to a
restaurant to eat and back on Line 5, as long as he or she is not under a dispatch.
Third, the vehicle must not be “laden”. In other words, you cannot be pulling a trailer.
Fourth, you must not be “repositioning” the equipment. If your Fleet Manager lets you
bob-tail home you can use Line 5. But when you get ready to leave home if you are sent
to get an empty trailer to use for your next load, then you cannot use Line 5.
Fifth, if you have been place out of service for an hours-of- service violation. You cannot
move the vehicle until you are put back in service.
Finally, Line 5 driving distance needs to be “reasonable”. You are not allowed to travel
several hundred miles on Line 5. But you can bob-tail to the closest truck stop to eat and
do laundry. As a guideline we use 30 minutes, if you can bob-tail to a truck stop or
restaurant in 30 minutes and then get back in 30 minutes, we consider that reasonable.
If you have additional questions please contact the Driver Services Department and ask
for the Log Staff.
Director of Driver Services
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