FMCSA revises digital-signature policy for log software

July 10, 2014

Truck drivers who use logging software programs on laptops, tablets and smartphones to generate their records of duty status (RODS) are no longer required to print and sign paper copies of the RODS generated through the software. But only if they can sign them at the end of each work day and display the electronic record at roadside.

In a regulatory guidance published in the Federal Register for July 10, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) clarified the relationship between its policy on using logging software programs— electronic logging solutions that don’t meet requirements for automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs)– and its January 4, 2011 regulatory guidance concerning electronic signatures.

The 2011 guidance was intended to allow expansion of electronic signatures pending a formal rulemaking. FMCSA proposed such a rule in April and its comment period ended in late June.

Under the new guidance, a driver may make manual duty-status entries to a computer, tablet, or smartphone program that is used to generate the graph grid and entries for the RODS provided the electronically generated display (if any) and output includes the minimum information and formatting required by regulation.

In addition, the driver must sign the RODS– manually or electronically– at the end of each 24-hour period.

If electronic signatures are not used, the driver must print and manually sign the RODS daily and have in his possession the printed and signed RODS for the prior seven consecutive days.

If RODS have been electronically signed, at the time of an inspection of records by a law-enforcement official, the driver may display the current and prior seven days RODS to the official on the device’s screen.

And if the enforcement official requests printed copies of the RODS, the driver must be given an opportunity to print the current and prior seven days RODS at the time of inspection.

The latest guidance is the second such document published this year related to the electronic display of RODS. In May, FMCSA revised its guidance on what data AOBRDs must display for roadside inspections.

About the Author

Avery Vise | Contributing editor

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