With the ELD mandate firmly in place, the FMCSA finally provided guidance on the personal use (“personal conveyance”) of commercial motor vehicles. This has been a murky area for truck drivers for many years. Fleet Owner magazine published an excellent article, “10 Things To Know About Personal Conveyance”, which provides an overview of the FMCSA’s new guidance. However, neither the Fleet Owner article nor the FMCA’s report provide information on the insurance and risk management implications of the new personal conveyance guidance, which is an important consideration when as you develop your personal conveyance policy.
It’s important that you develop a clear personal conveyance policy and educate drivers on what is acceptable or not when they’re operating a truck while off duty. As risk management professionals, we are concerned about fatigued drivers operating their rig under the guise of “personal conveyance” and putting the motoring public and themselves at risk. Therefore, here are a few tips you may want to consider as you develop your personal conveyance policy.
- Safe Parking: One of the benefits of the FMCSA’s personal conveyance rule is that it may enable drivers to find safe parking. We have had numerous claims related to drivers parking in unauthorized areas because they were out of time. If you provide a limited personal conveyance policy, you should stress that it’s intended primarily to find safe parking. Please note that “advancing a load/job” is NOT considered personal conveyance.
- Limits on Mileage: The FMCSA provided no limits on mileage allowed under personal conveyance, but we recommend you work with drivers and safety staff to develop a reasonable limit. You should be ready to defend your mileage limit if a claim occurs during personal conveyance time. An arbitrary limit may result in a claim that is more difficult to defend.
- Fatigued Driving: Fatigued driver driving is the primary cause of truck crashes. Therefore, your personal conveyance policy should stress that drivers should, under no circumstances, operate their truck if they’re fatigued.
- Owner Operator Considerations: If your fleet uses owner operators, it’s critical that they have a bobtail liability policy (non-trucking use) in place and regularly provide evidence of coverage. These policies are intended to pay for claims resulting from the personal use of a commercial motor vehicle. If you do not have an owner operator insurance program in place, consider providing a non-trucking use insurance program. Remember, if your driver doesn’t have insurance, your policy may ultimately respond to a claim—if there is coverage at all.
- Insurance Company Input: You may want to work with your insurance company’s safety department while developing your personal conveyance policy. Ultimately, it’s better to keep your insurance partners informed in case there is a claim that arises while a drive is using personal conveyance time. This may result in a better policy for drivers—and avoiding challenges at the time of a claim. You should also keep your insurance agent in the loop.
As always, the trucking insurance professionals at The Daniel & Henry Company are here to help you understand what measures you can take to reduce risk and insurance costs. Please contact us today if you have any questions about personal conveyance guidelines or any other transportation insurance and risk management matter.