In a recent study conducted by J. J. Keller and Associates, Inc., respondents reported that one of the biggest challenges around hours-of-service compliance is managing personal conveyance. Carriers are right to be concerned about compliance in this area: Drivers who misuse personal conveyance are essentially creating false logs.
But misuse isn’t impossible to identify. Carriers that can’t confidently say that personal conveyance is being used appropriately might want to start by watching for certain patterns in personal conveyance data and considering what those patterns might be telling them.
1. Compare the Balance of Weekly PC Use
Carriers that run on a weekly cycle and allow drivers to keep their commercial vehicles at home should see a good amount of personal conveyance use at the beginning and end of the week. The amount, however, should be balanced.
If significantly more personal conveyance occurs at the end of the week compared to the start of the week, further investigation might be warranted. Drivers may be misusing personal conveyance by using it to complete assignments when short on (or out of) hours.
2. Know What’s Typical — Amount and Frequency
In certain operations, such as those where drivers are assigned to remote work locations for extended periods, or those with day-cab drivers that stay out overnight, carriers may see daily use of personal conveyance. The key in such setups will be watching for drivers that have excessive amounts of personal conveyance or abnormal spikes in its use.
For instance, if the average driver has one hour per day of personal conveyance, but one driver has four hours one day, the latter deserves special attention.
Likewise, if the average driver at a company is using personal conveyance one to three times a week, but one driver used it nine times in a week, this is another spot where the use of personal conveyance should receive special attention.
In short, carriers should keep an eye out for sudden spikes in the amount or frequency of personal conveyance use on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis. If these show up without a corresponding change in operation, the carrier must take the time to look into such anomalies.
3. Addressing 'Abnormalities'
When the misuse of personal conveyance is discovered, carriers don’t have to immediately assume abuse is to blame. A driver first starting to use personal conveyance may simply need additional training on the concept.
Where abuse is identified, however, the key is to catch the issue early and make sure drivers understand the carrier’s commitment to keeping logs in line. This may be a matter of a simple correction, a warning, or even discipline if the situation merits it.
4. Respect the Data
The important thing is that a carrier remain committed to listening to what the data is telling them. Again, those that don’t do that risk accepting false logs from drivers.
Tom Bray is a transportation industry consultant at J.J. Keller & Associates, with an extensive background in DOT compliance, driver training, CDL testing and more. This article was authored under the guidance and editorial standards of HDT’s editors to provide useful information to our readers.