FMCSA rethinks supporting documents
Agency offers incentive to use electronic tracking technology
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has decided not to require any motor carriers to retain certain documents related to drivers’ hours of service and will relieve carriers that use electronic mobile communications and tracking technology of the burden of maintaining numerous other supporting documents in order to verify driver logs. In a related move, FMCSA now will allow drivers to scan their logbooks as an alternative to creating a second handwritten duplicate logbook. (See “FMCSA offers alternative to duplicate logs,” page 23.)
The new regulatory guidance and policy, which was published in the June 10 Federal Register and takes effect July 12, will benefit carriers that have faced additional scrutiny since December 2008 when the agency adopted a policy of treating the data from electronic mobile communications and tracking systems as supporting documents that could be demanded in a compliance review.
In 1997, FMCSA’s predecessor published a list of more than 30 types of supporting documents that carriers needed to retain in order to verify logs. In its new regulatory guidance, the agency said that certain documents in that list no longer are used regularly by enforcement staff and no longer will be required of any motor carriers.
In general, FMCSA will continue to require other types of supporting documents that were listed in April 1997, but carriers using qualifying electronic mobile communications and tracking technology that capture time and/or position location information now will be relieved of the requirement to retain many of the remaining supporting documents.
In order to take advantage of this paperwork relief, however, motor carriers cannot challenge in HOS enforcement proceedings the accuracy of their own electronic mobile communications and tracking records. The new regulatory guidance spells out the specifications that electronic mobile communications and tracking systems must meet in order to qualify for the paperwork relief.
FMCSA’s new guidance and policy comes as the agency and the American Trucking Associations have been negotiating a settlement for several months of a lawsuit ATA filed in January regarding supporting documents. ATA’s suit, which was prompted in large measure by FMCSA’s December 2008 enforcement memorandum, seeks to compel the agency to issue a long-overdue regulation governing HOS supporting documents. The trucking group argued that without a regulation, carriers did not have clarity and certainty over what supporting documents were required.
In the regulatory guidance, the agency confirmed its plan to proceed with a regulation to establish requirements for HOS supporting documents. FMCSA plans to issue a proposed rule, which also would expand the mandate for electronic onboard recorders, by the end of this year and to adopt a final rule within two years.
For a copy of the new policy and any comments filed regarding it, go to www.regulations.gov and search FMCSA-2010-0168.
DOCUMENTS NO LONGER REQUIRED BY ANY CARRIERS
• Driver call-in records
• International Registration
• International Fuel Tax
• Trip permits
• Cash advance receipts
• Driver fax reports (cover sheets)
DOCUMENTS NO LONGER REQUIRED OF CARRIERS USING QUALIFYING
ELECTRONIC MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS AND TRACKING TECHNOLOGY
• Gate record receipts
• Weigh/scale tickets
• Port of entry receipts
• Delivery receipts
• Toll receipts
• Agricultural inspection reports
• Over/short and damage reports
• Driver and vehicle examination reports
• Traffic citations
• Overweight/oversize reports and citations
• Carrier PROs
• Credit card receipts
• Border-crossing reports
• Customs declarations
• Telephone billing statements
* Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in May for the 10th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 13th consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s latest PMI – a composite index of overall manufacturing activity that takes into account production, orders, inventories and other factors. According to ISM, manufacturing grew slightly more slowly in May than in April, but new orders grew at the same rate.
* Net orders for heavy-duty Class 8 commercial vehicles increased 91 percent in April compared to the same month last year, according to ACT Research Co., which also reported that net orders for heavy-duty vehicles continue to strengthen month-to-month.
* Schneider National celebrated its 75th anniversary in June. The company began in 1935 when founder Al Schneider sold the family’s car to purchase his first truck. Today, the company has more than 11,000 trucks and logs 926 million miles a year.
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