Data generated by customers using the J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.® Encompass® ELD system shows customers are experiencing a marked increase in their drivers using the special driving categories available in an electronic logging device (ELD). The two special driving categories are “personal conveyance” and “yard move.” This is an interesting development, and it could be alarming one as well.
What the ELD user data shows
An aggregation of ELD user data from January to June of 2019 shows that in January of 2019, 14 percent of drivers were using personal conveyance and yard moves. By the end of June, 20 percent of drivers were using yard move and 21 percent of the drivers in the system were using personal conveyance. This equates to 48 percent more drivers were using personal conveyance in June than in January. As for yard moves, 41 percent more drivers were using this special category in June than in January.
Why the increase may be positive
This data is interesting because it shows drivers figuring out how to use the special driving categories and the benefits of them. For personal conveyance, the driving comes into the driver’s log as off-duty time, which could allow a driver to avoid an hours-of-service violation when commuting to a purely personal destination. It also keeps the personal conveyance driving time out of the driver’s 60- or 70-hour calculation.
Using yard move causes the driving time to count as on duty, not driving time. This means that the driver’s driving limit for the day is not being reduced when time is spent doing work in a yard with the vehicle.
Why the personal conveyance increase may be alarming
Where the increase in personal conveyance and yard moves could be alarming is the potential that it involves the misuse of these special driving categories (and the carriers not catching it). Incorrectly using personal conveyance or yard moves is a log falsification issue and has serious consequences. A driver could be placed out of service for 10 hours and fined, for example. For the carrier, a fine could also result, as could a lowered safety rating if caught during an audit.
Will misuse be caught? Chances are good as officers, investigators, and auditors have gotten pretty savvy at catching drivers that misuse the special driving categories.
How to ensure a positive increase in personal conveyance
To address the concern of false logs, carriers should audit all use of personal conveyance and yard moves and comparing it to the requirements. For personal conveyance, this means verifying that:
- You, as a company, have a policy allowing the use of personal conveyance;
- The driver was off duty at the time of the move;
- The driver was going to a purely personal destination; and
- There was no benefit to the company as a result of the move; OR
- The movement was made when the driver was out of hours and ordered to move by a shipper, receiver, or officer, and the driver moved to the nearest safe location and documented the situation on the ELD.
For yard moves, this means using dispatch data and position records to verify the driver was actually in a yard (an area that the public is not allowed to drive in due to signs or gates) when the movement took place.
Key to remember: There is nothing wrong with drivers using the special driving categories, but it’s your job to ensure the use is proper.
Tom has been with J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. since 2005. He brought with him an extensive background that includes years of experience in DOT compliance, policy development, driver human resources, driver training, training program development, CDL testing, claims management, and accident and injury prevention.
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