Yard moves: What are they and are they being used appropriately?

By: Jill Schultz

Publication: Transportation Safety Training Advisor

Date Posted: 01/03/2020

J. J. Keller® data shows a significant increase in yard move use

Data from J.J. Keller Encompass® users show a dramatic increase in the percentage of drivers using yard moves during the first six months of 2019. From January to June, yard move use increased by 41 percent.

This sample of drivers can easily reflect what is going on across the industry and prompts the following questions:

  • Do drivers know what a yard is?
  • How about a yard move?
  • How can you ensure this information being captured on your company’s ELDs correctly?

What is a yard?

Though the regulations do not provide a definition of a yard, we can look at the definition of a highway in §390.5 for direction.

A highway is any roadway or area (public or private) that the public can operate a four-wheel vehicle on that is not restricted by signs or gates. The bottom line, if anyone can access the area, it is considered a highway.

Conversely, a yard is considered an area not open to vehicles and restricted by signs or gates. Areas that could be considered a yard include a terminal, truck parking area, or even a customer location if the area has signs or gates that keep the public from entering the area.

What is a yard move?

A yard move is a special driving category that may be used on an ELD. It allows a driver to record vehicle movement in a yard as on duty (not driving). A driver may only use this category is if authorized by his or her motor carrier.

The benefit of using this category — any time a driver spends behind the wheel during a yard move would not count toward his or her 11-hour driving limit.

Are your drivers trained on yard move use/policy?

Because a yard is not defined, there are many ways the term can be interpreted. A motor carrier needs to make sure all of its drivers understand when it is appropriate to use the yard move category and when it is not. Noncompliance can be easily discovered through an audit of ELD data.

This audit is done by checking the location of the moves (via GPS). This check verifies that the yard move option is only used in areas designated as yards and not on public roadways.

Having a strict policy and training on this policy can help in ensuring your drivers are appropriately using the yard move category.

When training on this issue, make sure your drivers understand what is considered a yard and when use of the yard move category is acceptable. They should also be familiar with the consequences for not following the regulations as well as company policy.

Stress that not using this category correctly can open both your company and your drivers to fines, penalties, and the potential for litigation.

Require remedial training when drivers repeatedly misuse the category and consider adding disciplinary measures to your company policy for chronic repeat offenders.

About the author
Jill Schultz - Transportation Safety Editor

As a Transportation Safety Editor, she specializes in both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and state intrastate safety regulations, including driver qualification, hours of service, and alcohol and controlled substance regulations.

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