The Federal Motor Safety Administration (FMCSA)published in the Federal Register [RIN 2126-AA76] a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking intended to tighten self-monitoring procedures to ensure the compliance of hours of service (HOS) and records of duty (ROD) status.

FMCSA proposes a supporting document-based self-monitoring system that would serve as the primary means to guarantee HOS and ROD compliance. The agency seeks to clarify that this responsibility fall on not only carriers, but also on independent owner-operators and owner-operators working for carriers.

The agency noted it is continuing to study electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) and determining a standard for data collection for the device.

“The 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. “The 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.”

Additionally, the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking clarifies the definitions of “supporting documents”, “employee”, “driver.” The purpose of the proposal is to clarify any misunderstandings some motor carriers and drivers had on the existing final rule, which was enacted November 26, 1982. No new regulations are imposed under this proposal.

The agency is receiving comments until January 3, 2005.