Last month the Federal Motor Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking intended to tighten self-monitoring procedures to ensure compliance with hours-of-service (HOS) and records of duty (ROD) status rules.
FMCSA proposes a supporting, document-based self-monitoring system that would serve as the primary means guaranteeing HOS and ROD compliance. The agency seeks to clarify that this responsibility falls not only on carriers but also on independent owner-operators and owner-operators working for carriers. The agency noted it is also continuing to study electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) and determining a standard for data collection for such devices.
“FMCSA adopts the position that the use of electronic-based record keeping methods in a supporting document system is preferred over traditional paper records,” the agency stated. “FMCSA proposes to allow motor carriers to use electronic, laser or automated technology, in conjunction with paper supporting documents as long as the electronic supporting documents are retained for the same period as applied to paper supporting documents, are equally accessible and reviewable by special agents as are their paper counterparts, and can be produced, within 48 hours of demand, in hard copy.”
The notice also clarifies the definitions of “supporting documents”, “employee”, and “driver.” The proposal aims to clarify any misunderstanding motor carriers and drivers may have on the existing final rule, which was enacted November 26, 1982. No new regulations would be imposed under this proposal.
FMCSA is accepting comments on the proposal until January 3, 2005.