FMCSA: Personal conveyance mileage limit would be ‘arbitrary’

November 2020

Mark Schremmer

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Saying the creation of a mileage limit would be arbitrary, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration denied the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s petition regarding personal conveyance.

After FMCSA announced its hours-of-service changes in May, CVSA petitioned the agency to update the definition of personal conveyance and to include a mileage limit.

In a Sept. 18 letter, FMCSA told CVSA that its petition was being denied. Without proper research, the agency said that any mileage limits would be “arbitrary.”

CVSA’s petition called into question FMCSA’s regulatory guidance concerning drivers’ use of a commercial motor vehicle for personal conveyance, saying it does not provide sufficient precision for enforcement officials for motor carriers. In addition, CVSA said a driver could drive hundreds of miles over the course of several hours, all designated as personal conveyance.

“While we acknowledge the CVSA’s concerns, we do not believe there is a sufficient safety basis for initiating a rulemaking,” FMCSA wrote.

“The agency is unable to estimate the extent to which drivers may be circumventing the hours-of-service requirements by claiming personal conveyance status, or to the extent to which drivers’ violations result in safety critical events.”

FMCSA said it believes its 2018 regulatory guidance is appropriate considering the available data.

“A rulemaking would propose certain time or distance limits on the use of personal conveyance status without data to determine its economic impact,” the agency wrote. “The rulemaking would essentially propose arbitrary limits without any evidence of safety-critical events to be avoided. Irrespective of the limits to be considered, FMCSA would have no basis for estimating how many drivers per year would be affected by the changes or for developing a quantitative estimate of improvements in motor carrier safety.”

In late August, FMCSA also denied petitions for reconsideration from CVSA, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and several safety groups that asked

the agency to not move forward

with its hours-of-service changes. The changes went into effect on Sept. 29. LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.