FMCSA proposes new guidance on yard moves

December 31, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing changes to its regulatory guidance regarding how commercial motor vehicles should record “yard moves” in the hours of service.

FMCSA’s notice of proposed regulatory guidance is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register on Monday, Jan. 4. The guidance provides examples of properties that would be considered “yards.” The agency said movements of commercial motor vehicles in “yards” would be considered “yard moves” and could be recorded as on-duty not driving time rather than driving time.

“FMCSA’s revised 2020 guidance provides that the time jockeying commercial motor vehicles in the yard is not driving time,” the notice stated. “The driver should record that time as on-duty not driving time.”

The proposed guidance language aims to clarify what is and isn’t a “yard.”

“A driver may record time operating a commercial motor vehicle for yard moves as on-duty not driving only if the movement of the commercial motor vehicle occurs in a confined area on private property,” FMCSA wrote.

According to the proposed guidance, examples of properties that may qualify as yards include, but are not limited to:

  • An intermodal yard or port facility.
  • A motor carrier’s place of business.
  • A shipper’s privately-owned parking lot.
  • A public road, but only if and while public access to the road is restricted through traffic control measures such as lights, gates, flaggers or other means. For example, if a driver must operate on a public road briefly to reach different parts of a private property, the movement may be considered a yard move if public access is restricted during the move.

Under the proposed guidance, examples of properties that do not qualify as yards include but are not limited to:

  • A public road without the traffic control measures noted above.
  • Public rest areas.

Once the notice is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 30 days to comment. FMCSA will consider comments to determine if any further clarification of these regulatory provisions is necessary.

FMCSA requests responses to the following questions:

  • Would defining “yard moves” in the agency’s regulations provide necessary clarification and therefore benefit carriers and drivers.
  • Are there other properties or situations where drivers may be in a “yard move” status that should be included in the examples?
  • Would adding examples of “yard moves” be beneficial for this guidance (e.g., moving a commercial motor vehicle for maintenance)? If so, please provide examples for consideration.
  • How should “yard” be defined for the purposes of this guidance?

FMCSA notes that the guidance – if finalized – lacks the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way. The guidance is meant only to provide clarity to the public regarding FMCSA’s interpretation of its existing regulations.

Comments will be able to be made at the Regulations.gov website by entering Docket No. FMCSA-2020-0118. LL

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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.