FMCSA Definition of Yard Move Coming Soon

New guidance is still expected regarding the FMCSA's definition of a yard move.

Published On: 05/10/2024
Truck driver doing a yard move
J. J. Keller Editor Rick Malchow

Written by:

Rick Malchow

Industry Business Advisor — J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

Even though the term “yard move” was integrated into the ELD mandate, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) did not define it, resulting in confusion over when a driver could – or couldn’t – use the option. The yard move special driving category is designed to record the operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) inside a “yard” as on-duty, but not as driving, impacting significantly a driver’s available hours. For guidance, read our Top 10 FAQs about the ELD 'yard move' Special Driving Category blog.

The FMCSA believed that “motor carrier safety personnel and authorized safety officials would use the ELD data to explore further and determine whether the driver appropriately used the indicated special category.” Since manually logging drivers were allowed to log off-highway operation as on-duty/not driving, they felt that the change was not significant.

To remedy the angst around what constitutes a yard move, in February of 2021, the agency proposed creating a definition for a yard move and sought public commentary. In the proposal, they defined yard moves as the movement of the CMV that occurs in a confined area on private property or briefly on a public road. The proposal contained examples of properties that may qualify as yards, including:

  • An intermodal yard or port facility,
  • A motor carrier’s place of business,
  • A shipper’s privately-owned parking lot, and
  • A public road, but only if and while public access to the road is restricted through traffic control measures such as lights, gates, flaggers, or other means during the move.

FMCSA included examples of properties that do not qualify as yards, such as a public road without traffic control measures and public rest areas. Since retail operations and other publicly accessible locations were not included in the “yard” examples, operational adjustments may be needed to avoid 8-, 11-, or 14-hour driving violations.

When the FMCSA requested comments regarding the proposed yard move definition, it was assumed the term would be defined quickly. To date, no such definition has been offered.

The best current practice is to only use the yard move special driving category when operating off of a highway. A highway is defined in §390.5 as: “Any road, street, or way, whether on public or private property, open to public travel. ‘Open to public travel’ means that the road section is available, except during scheduled periods, extreme weather or emergency conditions, passable by four-wheel standard passenger cars, and open to the general public for use without restrictive gates, prohibitive signs, or regulation…”

Comply with Yard Move Requirements with J. J. Keller® ELogs

The Encompass® ELD app makes compliance with yard moves easier for your drivers, mechanics, and other employees. A user-friendly interface makes it easy to document their time through quick ELog annotation entry. Talk with a compliance specialist about how the Encompass® ELD app can keep your drivers and employees compliant with yard moves, personal conveyance, and the ELD mandate.

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