Got Pulled Over!

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mountain girl's Comment
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Cambridge dictionary, UNLADEN

adjective [usually before noun ] uk ​ ​ not carrying anything:

i.e., bobtail. As soon as you're hooked and rolling, you're on duty, driving.

-mountain girl

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

A little over a year ago, Prime was audited by the DOT and got in trouble for off-duty driving. They sent a bunch of messages on the qualcomm about never using it unless you were bobtail and not dispatched on a load, and the limit went down from two hours to one hour. Not sure who you talked to there, but if you call the log department they'll definitely tell you what they want to see before you drive off-duty. Dispatch might tell you something different but logs will have the final say.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Vendingdude's Comment
member avatar

First thing I looked up was dictionary definition of "laden" too. On the DOT and FMCSA websites there is no glossary that defines "laden". I don't think having a trailer attached to a vehicle automatically qualifies as being laden.

The paperwork you get when you're loaded is called bills of lading. Same root word. Bills=loaded=laden. No bills=unloaded=unladen. Laden means carrying property or goods. It should be a consistent term in their regulations for the government to apply to all commercial vehicles. Barring a better explanation from the FMCSA I'll go with what they already put out.

Consider these scenarios. Are they laden? An empty box truck, done for the day, driver going to movies, not on dispatch until tomorrow. A hotshot driver with a dually and an empty beaver tail trailer, driving to brother's house to pick him up before going to heavy equipment dealer to pick up loader. A single axle big truck with a homemade 10' trailer behind it, empty. Was being used to take trash to the dump. A car hauler, no cars, going home after dropping them at the dealer. All of these examples are commercial vehicles that may or may not have a second unit attached, but theyre not currently engaged in commerce.

As long as they're not jerks, if they get pulled over and explain their business I can't imagine why they would be written up for HOS stuff. I don't think it matters if the trailers are commercially licensed or not, either. If so, again, I would think the govt would clear that up. But, it is the govt, so....

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar

Could not get the Link to work on this web page, so I copied and pasted it. Seems pretty clear to me:

Under normal circumstances, all time spent at the controls operating a commercial vehicle must be logged as driving time (on-duty time if the driver is using one of the exceptions that allows the use of time records).

However, what happens with a driver is using his or her commercial vehicle as a personal vehicle to commute to or from a personal destination?

The concept of “off-duty driving time” is not actually in the regulations; however, it is discussed in the interpretations to Part 395. Interpretations are guidances published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to provide a better understanding of the rules.

It can be done if you follow the rules

To be able to log personal conveyance time as off duty, there are several conditions that must be met. These conditions are the same whether a company driver is taking his/her company truck home or an owner-operator is taking his/her truck home (or to another personal destination).

First, you must be relieved of all responsibilities and conduct no on-duty activities. No work for the company is allowed during the personal conveyance. For example, you cannot bring the truck in for maintenance and call the trip personal conveyance.

Second, the trip and destination must be purely personal in nature. Moving to pick up your next load, bringing the truck into the terminal from your last destination, and running to the parts store for parts cannot be considered personal conveyance. You must be commuting to a personal destination, such as home, a restaurant, or a motel, and back.

Third, the vehicle must not be “laden.” In other words, you cannot be carrying any freight during the personal conveyance. If you drive a tractor trailer, this means not even pulling a trailer.

Fourth, you must not be “repositioning” the equipment. If you go from your company’s terminal to home, and then are dispatched to go get a trailer somewhere else, you have repositioned and cannot call the trip personal conveyance.

Fifth, you cannot be using the vehicle as a personal conveyance if you have been placed out of service for an hours-of-service violation.

Finally, the personal conveyance distance needs to be “reasonable.” You are not allowed to travel several hundred miles and call it personal conveyance. One definition of reasonable is, “Could the driver get 8 hours of sleep after arriving at the personal destination if the driver only took 10 hours off?” If the answer is no, then the distance may not be considered reasonable.

The Canadian regulations are a little more specific in this area. A driver in Canada cannot use the commercial vehicle for personal conveyance for more than 75 kilometers per day.

But they’re not paying me!

In certain situations, carriers may tell their drivers or owner-operators that they can just “head for home.” In many cases, when the carrier does this they do not pay the driver or owner-operator for their time or miles.

Does this change the situation? No, it does not. Pay is not a determining factor in whether a driver is on duty or off duty. The driver’s activity is what determines whether the driver should be logging on or off duty. If the driver is not relieved of all responsibilities, does work along the way, has a laden vehicle, or is repositioning equipment, the driver cannot claim the time is personal conveyance and the trip must be logged as on-duty and/or driving.

The only time pay is an issue when it comes to logging is if payroll records can prove that the driver was on duty. An example of this is paying a driver for loading or unloading. If the driver was specifically paid to load or unload, then the driver should have logged the time as on-duty time.

As you can see, there are several conditions that must be met to consider a trip with a commercial vehicle to be “personal conveyance.” The best advice is that when looking at the trip, if you are not sure you can meet one of the requirements, your best bet is to just keep logging the “regular” way.

Thomas Bray is Sr. Editor – Transportation Management for J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc. He spent more than 20 years in the motor carrier industry prior to joining J.J. Keller’s Transport Editorial Team eight years ago. His industry experience ranges from over-the-road driver and trainer to claims manager, lead instructor, and safety director.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey TM - not to steal from your glory or anything - but I posted a link to that article in my post at the bottom of PAGE ONE of this discussion.

And the issue with that this part "Third, the vehicle must not be “laden.” In other words, you cannot be carrying any freight during the personal conveyance. If you drive a tractor trailer, this means not even pulling a trailer." - is it is still THE ARTICLE AUTHORS OPINION - and not actual guidance that is actually found on the FMSCA's site regarding 395.8.

I've been searching pretty hard - but I think FMCSA has been INTENTIONALLY VAGUE on what it considers "unladen" to be, in order to give some wiggle room in interpretation. There is NOTHING I CAN FIND that specifically states that unladen means "bobtail only". In fact - there is NOTHING IN 49 CFR 395.8 or anywhere in 49 CFR 395 that actually defines what UNLADEN means.

As commented earlier - this provision has probably been ABUSED SO MANY TIMES - that enforcement officers will call BS on ANYTHING DRAGGING A TRAILER - so best case scenario - BOBTAIL ONLY would eliminate pretty much any argument (though you could be dispatched to be picking up a trailer, and still abused the "personal conveyance" and try to run it as off duty.

To reiterate the ORIGINAL POSTERS ASSERTION regarding logging as "off duty" while running empty from a delivery to a truck stop to await a new dispatch - this would still be an ILLEGAL APPLICATION of personal conveyance (even if you were bobtail at the time).

Any of our Primates happen to ask the log department to clarify this for us - since Joshua P hasn't gotten back to us.

Rick

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar

Sorry Rick. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed. Obviously overlooked it. Wasn't looking for glory, just interested in this thread. I know nothing about PC, since as a Swift Company Driver, it is not an option. Thanks for your research.

sorry.gif

Vendingdude's Comment
member avatar

Https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/390.5

Guidance for § 390.5: Definitions

Question 5: A driver used by a motor carrier operates a CMV to and from his/her residence out of State. Is this considered interstate commerce?

Guidance: If the driver is operating a CMV at the direction of the motor carrier, it is considered interstate commerce and is subject to the FMCSRs. If the motor carrier is allowing the driver to use the vehicle for private personal transportation, such transportation is not subject to the FMCSRs.

(Lol. Notice the wording here that the driver is described as being 'used'. Perhaps a driver is 'property' in the govt"s eyes and this discussion is moot)

Question 6: Is transporting an empty CMV across State lines for purposes of repair and maintenance considered interstate commerce?

Guidance: Yes. The FMCSRs are applicable to drivers and CMVs in interstate commerce which transport property. The property in this situation is the empty CMV.

(Using the phrase 'empty' clearly refers to a trailer, but even if there was no trailer the point of this rule is that repairing or maintaining commercial equipment counts as 'commerce'.

Also from the website, a CMV is defined.:

Definition One. Section 390.5 of the FMCSRs describes a CMV as any vehicle used in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property with a gross vehicle weight rating, gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight, or gross combination weight of 10,001 pounds or more.

Note that according to this, a CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle) must be used in INTERstate commerce to fit this narrow definition. Weigh 10001 lbs but not carrying any commercial product (and not under employer's orders, as previously stated)? Not a CMV. Not going out of state with that load of produce? According to this, you're not in a commercial vehicle. Crazy. If they didn't want a smart aleck to make that claim they should have written 'intrastate and/or interstate'.

My conclusion, with all due respect to J.J.Keller, it would appear that if you're driving a big truck, with or without a trailer, at the direction of your boss (even if that is yourself) then you are engaged in commerce and subject to HOS rules. It also appears, conversely, that if you're driving a big truck, with or without a trailer, wherever you want on personal business, and are not engaged in commerce, you are not under any FMCSA control.

Drive on.

Commercial Motor Vehicle:

A commercial motor vehicle is any vehicle used in commerce to transport passengers or property with either:

  • A gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more
  • A gross combination weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more which includes a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds
  • CSA:

    Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

    The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

    FMCSA:

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

    The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

    What Does The FMCSA Do?

    • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
    • Data and Analysis
    • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
    • Research and Technology
    • Safety Assistance
    • Support and Information Sharing

    DOT:

    Department Of Transportation

    A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

    State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

    CMV:

    Commercial Motor Vehicle

    A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

    • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
    • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
    • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
    • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
    • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

    Interstate Commerce:

    Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

    Interstate:

    Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

    Intrastate:

    The act of purchasers and sellers transacting business while keeping all transactions in a single state, without crossing state lines to do so.

    Fm:

    Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

    The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

    HOS:

    Hours Of Service

    HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

    OWI:

    Operating While Intoxicated

Kat's Comment
member avatar

In my experience with Prime and off duty driving, I have been told that if I run out of hours at a receiver, I can use off duty driving to go a short distance to park. I have used it for that purpose on multiple occasions, but I have always been empty and only once ran the full hour trying to find a safe place that wasn't slammed full. Would really be interested in Prime's response to your encounter with the trooper.

Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar

Joshua, We would really like an update on this situation. As you can tell from the responses, there appear to be conflicting opinions on this situation. What was Prime's response? Thanks!

confused.gifsmile.gif

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Kat wrote:

In my experience with Prime and off duty driving, I have been told that if I run out of hours at a receiver, I can use off duty driving to go a short distance to park. I have used it for that purpose on multiple occasions, but I have always been empty and only once ran the full hour trying to find a safe place that wasn't slammed full. Would really be interested in Prime's response to your encounter with the trooper.

I read something similar several times before and kept quiet...

The better question Kat; is doing that really legal? Simple answer, it's not. Did you read the Prime audit that Bud replied with or the information posted by Rick and TM?

Find any language in the HOS rules and guidance that is not an emergency exception, authorizing driving with zero hours, off-duty, and under a trailer. It's one thing to putt-putt, bob tailing through a terminal yard and shutting down, but entirely another when on a public road under a wagon in search of a parking spot for an hour. It's a clear violation.

The Qualcomm or like e-log system may allow you to drive off-duty with zero available hours, all in how your company configures it. My QC will automatically switch to the drive line if I exceed 15mph or drive for 15 minutes regardless of the status I set. If I chose to drive for an hour in that state I'd at the least be required to attend a log class. For multiple infractions; safety hold or a suspension.

What occurs systematically when you "off duty" drive from one location to another, the location will change electronically once you stop driving and so marked on the e-log graph. This is how DOT can determine the truck was moved illegally because the location change is clearly visible (logged) on the off-duty line and so is the zero hours. You cannot edit this out or hide it. If on paper logs, easily disguised, but impossible with e-logs.

At times we have to do what we gotta do, I get that and have been there. But I would not make a habit of off-duty driving on public roads under a trailer regardless of what dispatch or driver management is telling you.

Eventually you risk getting caught and your company will not be paying the fine if that happens. Or far worse if you are involved in a serious accident in this status, you are potentially throwing yourself at the mercy of the legal system.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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