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Federal Truck Regulations Expert:
"FMCSA Seeking Input on Paperwork Burden Associated with HOS Compliance"

Truck Accident / Truck Safety Expert Witness Articles

By Scott Greene

According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)and the Federal Register, on September 12, 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier SafetyAdministration (FMCSA) issued a Notice and Request for Comments on the agency’splan to revise and extend an Information Collection Request (ICR)* entitled“Hours of Service (HOS) of Drivers Regulations.”

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The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 requires the FMCSAto submit the ICR to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its reviewand approval.  FMCSA is seeking approvalto extend this ICR.

 

The HOS rules require most Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)drivers to maintain on the CMV a Record of Duty Status (RODS) current to thelast change in duty status (Off Duty, On Duty, Driving, Sleeper Berth).  The RODS is critical to helping roadsideenforcement officials determine if CMV drivers are complying with the FMCSAsHOS rules. These rules limit driver on-duty and driving time and requiringperiodic off-duty time and help the FMCSA protect the public by reducing thenumber of tired CMV drivers on the highways.

 

The FMCSRs state: ‘‘No driver shall operate a commercial motorvehicle, and a commercial motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver tooperate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver’s ability or alertness isso impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or anyother cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operatethe commercial motor vehicle’’ (49 CFR 392.3). Also see 395.8.

 

The FMCSA rules regulate the amount of time a CMV driver maydrive or otherwise be on duty, in order to ensure that adequate time isavailable to the driver for rest. Drivers must accurately record their dutystatus 24 hours a day per 49 CFR 395.8(a)(1). This RODS must be recorded in thedriver’s logbook.  A driver must have theRODS for the previous 7 consecutive days in the CMV at all times per Section395.8(k)(2). The RODS must be submitted to the motor carrier along with anysupporting documents, such as fuel receipts and toll tickets, which couldassist the Motor Carrier in verifying the accuracy of the entries on the RODS. Motorcarriers must retain these records for a minimum of 6 months from the date ofreceipt and make them available to enforcement officials upon request per Section395.8(k)(1). Currently the HOS rules allow for three methods of recordingdriver duty status:

 

(1)   Paper RODS or paper logs must graph the driver’stime and location on a paper record over a 24- hour period (Section 395.8(g)).These paper logs must be present on the CMV.

 

(2)  TimeRecord for ‘‘Short haul’’ CMV drivers do not have to maintain a RODS and keptin the CMV if the driver’s motor carrier maintains a time record showing foreach duty day when driver reported for duty and when he or she was released fromduty along with the total hours on duty (Section 395.1(e)).

 

(3)  ElectronicLogging Devices (ELDs) also known as Automatic On-Board Recording Device(AOBRD) or Electronic On Board Recording (EOBR) devices: which collect thedriver’s status in electronic records are permitted if it is created andmaintained by an ELD as defined by Section 395.2. These electronic records recordmust include all the information that would appear on RODS and the driver or motorcarrier must be capable of producing this information upon demand.

 

On March 28, 2014, the FMCSA publisheda supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking proposing motor carriers use on-boardtechnology to record their HOS regulations. This notice also sought public commenton this requirement (79 FR 17656).

 

The FMCSA is seeking to reduce thenumber of hours required by drivers and motor carriers to record the driver’sstatus by: (1) A lower estimate of the number of CMV drivers who are subject tothe HOS rules and/or (2) reduce the burden by experienced by CMV drivers byusing electronic HOS technology.

 

On June 24, 2014, the FMCSApublished a Federal Register notice allowing for a 60-day comment period onthis ICR. To date, the agency has received no comment in response to thatnotice.

 

Comments are being taken until October14, 2014. All comments should reference Federal Docket Management System (FDMS)Docket Number FMCSA 2014–0189.

Who is the CVSA?:

According to the CVSA’s website,the “CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization comprised of local,state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials andindustry representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Ourmission is to promote commercial motor vehicle safety and security by providingleadership to enforcement, industry and policy makers. CVSA memberjurisdictions are represented by various Departments of Transportation, PublicUtility and Service Commissions, State Police, Highway Patrols and Ministriesof Transport. In addition, CVSA has several hundred associate members who arecommitted to helping the Alliance achieve its goals; uniformity, compatibilityand reciprocity of commercial vehicle inspections, and enforcement activitiesthroughout North America by individuals dedicated to highway safety andsecurity.” CVSA is based in Greenbelt, MD.

What is an ICR?:

An ICR is a set of documents that describe reporting, recordkeeping, survey, or other information collection requirements imposed on thepublic by a federal agency. Each request for collection, must be sent to andapproved by the Office of Management and Budget before a collection begins. TheICR process provides an overview of the collection of information and allowstime for the public to respond.

 

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