On Duty vs. Off Duty
SC&RA requested clarification from FMCSA regarding the terms “personal conveyance” and “laden” as referenced in the agency’s regulations, in the form of a letter to the FMCSA. The letter noted that association’s members carry various tools of the trade in service trucks used at remote job sites – such as slings, shackles, dollies, jacks, levels and hand tools that remain in the vehicle at all times when they are not in use. However, these service vehicles carry neither freight nor cargo. FMCSA responded by saying that it considers the term “laden” to refer to cargo or freight, not to include “tools of the trade” that are customarily stored on the vehicle when not in use.
Based on the success of this request for clarification, SC&RA has also requested similar clarification concerning when employees may unhitch a trailer and drive the cab a reasonable distance to a motel, restaurant, home or other non-work related activity at the end of the work day. SC&RA member companies have access to a copy of the letter from FMCSA; the Association encourages members to print the letter and disseminate it to drivers to carry in the cabs of their trucks as protection in cases in which inspectors misinterpret the rule.