Yard moves guidance comments due Feb. 3

January 26, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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Truck drivers are speaking up about how they believe the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration should define a “yard move.”

In response to proposed regulatory guidance published in the Federal Register on Jan. 4, dozens of truck drivers have submitted comments to the docket. Comments will be accepted through Feb. 3.

FMCSA’s 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.

Public comments

As of Jan. 26, more than 130 comments had been submitted online, with most of the comments coming from individuals.

“Shipper and receiver locations plus moving within a truck stop should also be consider(ed),” wrote Wayne Leviner of Milford, N.J. “Like to and from a parking spot, to a shop, or from the fuel island to a parking spot.”

Ronnie Hendricks, an OOIDA senior member from Burkburnett, Texas, said there should be some flexibility.

“Drivers who don’t own a yard should be able to drop a trailer in a domicile ZIP code, bobtail home, park, bobtail back to the trailer when necessary to leave as a yard move,” he wrote. “In my case, it’s 2-3 miles each way.”

Those who would like to add to the comments can do so here, or by going to the Regulations.gov website and entering Docket No. FMCSA-2020-0018.

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. 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.