On January 4, 2021, the Agency submitted a new notice requesting a people’s opinion on yard moves. The Agency wants to reconsider the divisions of the current guidance on the use of CMVs during yard moves. This notice also explains which property should be deemed a yard. Those interested must submit their commentaries by February 3, 2021.
Yard Moves as a HOS Part
Most CMV drivers must document their working hours. This is required by the FMVSS to decrease the number of accidents involving commercial automobile vehicles and to combat operator fatigue. There are four types of driver’s status: On-duty not driving, Driving, Sleeper berth, and Off-duty. The commercial driver must report the current status in the RODS in an e-log (due to ELD) or even a paper logbook — depending on what he uses.
In concordance with the ELDs and HOS Supporting Documents, recording equipment manufacturers must provide for two categories of operating vehicles: authorized personal use and yard moves. The second category means that the operator is driving the vehicle, but not obligingly in Driving status. Thus, it is necessary to give a more detailed explanation of what yard moves are and when they are appropriate.
The ELD final rule did not have a detailed definition because this official document deals with the equipment itself, not the HOS. However, it was noted that the device documents yard moves as work time without driving.
FHWA, which existed before the FMCSA, addressed yard moves in the instruction released in 1997. At that date, it was stated that the commercial operator should document times such as driving if he was driving on weekends. However, the document is currently invalid. A new regulation released by the Federal Administration in 2020 notes that such a period does not apply to Driving, but to On-duty not driving. After all, yard moves are made on private territories and not on municipal highways.
Also, earlier in February 2020, a guide was published to learn about the differences between using commercial vehicles as personal transport and yard moves that count towards working hours. Generally, the concept of personal transport provides for situations where the use of transport does not bring profit and other commercial benefits to either party to the transport transaction. However, transport should be operated wisely and not moved too long distances.
What FMCSA Means Saying Yard Moves
To clearly understand what timelines should be documented as HOS as performing other work tasks rather than driving, the Agency suggests considering which objects can be classified as yards. Thus, the operator can indicate time periods as On-duty not driving when operating in a limited private area. This space comprises the following examples:
- a port facility or intermodal yard;
- a place where an automobile carrier is located;
- a private parking lot that belongs to a goods shipper;
- a municipal road when the people’s accession is restrained by traffic control means.
Also, we have such objects that can not be considered as yards:
- a municipal road with no any control means as previously mentioned ones;
- public resting-places.
Please be aware that the authorities want to answer some other questions in addition to the general comments on the specified guidelines. Specifically, if yard moves are indicated in the law, will it be gainful for CMV operators and benefit the trucking business.
The authorities also want to find out if any other cases can be meant as yard moves as examples and if it would be helpful to add those examples to the manual. Also, how to denote yard moves in this guide.
We remind you that opinions must be sent by February 3, 2021.