March 10 is deadline for hours comments

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Comments on the federal government’s revised hours-of-service rule must be filed by March 10.

The proposed rule can be read as an Adobe PDF document at http://dmses.dot.gov/docimages/p80/312470.pdf.

Comments can be faxed to (202) 493-2251 or mailed to Docket Management Facility, USDOT, 400 Seventh St. S.W., Nassif Building, Room PL-401, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001. Be sure to mention that you’re responding to Docket No. FMCSA-2004-19608, formerly FMCSA-1997-2350.

The American Trucking Associations says the rule errs in not specifying the number and type of supporting documents that may be used by motor carriers to prove they are in compliance. The effect, the ATA argues, is to expand motor carriers’ recordkeeping responsibilities.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposes “that any piece of electronic data must be maintained as a supporting document,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA vice president of safety, security and operations. “They define everything to be a supporting document, and they need a specific definition.”

The ATA wants the FMCSA either to specify the documentation needed or to allow the industry to create its own documentation system, Osiecki said.

“They have chosen neither of those choices,” Osiecki said. “Now, whatever piece of electronic data is printed on a sheet of paper, you must keep as a supporting document.”