FMCSA considering electronic IDs for large trucks and buses

Original article published by Safety + Health

Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation Flickr

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking stakeholder comment on whether to require universal electronic identification for commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce.

“FMCSA currently does not require CMVs to be equipped with a system capable of transmitting a unique electronic ID for operation,” the agency says. “However, FMCSA provides grant funding to states for technology projects that electronically identify a CMV; verify its size, weight and credentials information; and review its carrier’s past safety performance while the vehicle is in motion and then communicate safely to the driver to either pull in or bypass the roadside inspection station.”

According to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Sept. 23 Federal Register, FMCSA is considering amending its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations in response to a 2015 petition from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, after the agency denied a similar request in 2013.

FMCSA says it’s considering implementing an electronic ID requirement “to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the roadside inspection program by more fully enabling enforcement agencies to focus their efforts at high-risk carriers and drivers.”

CVSA contends that “mandating an electronic identifier requirement will not only save money in the long run – for both enforcement and industry – but will also enable more effective enforcement, improve safety and save thousands of lives every year.”

FMCSA is requesting feedback on a number of questions, including:

  • Should a device that can transmit an electronic ID be permanently affixed or removable/transferrable to CMVs in operation? Would FMCSA’s rule need to specify?
  • What data should be included as part of the electronic ID? Should it include information specific to the driver? Should it also include information that may vary from trip to trip?
  • How far in advance (time, distance) does a state need to gather the electronic ID information to positively ID a vehicle and message the vehicle whether further inspection is required?
  • Are there privacy, health or coercion concerns FMCSA should consider in a future proposal?

The deadline to comment is Nov. 22.

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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FMCSA extends comment period on speed-limiter proposal

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication


Photo: Missouri Department of Transportation Flickr

Washington — Responding to stakeholder requests, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended until July 18 the comment period on a proposed rule that would require the installation of speed-limiting devices on trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds.

As outlined in a notice published in the May 27 Federal Register, the extension provides interested parties additional time to submit responses. The initial deadline was June 3.

FMCSA, in the May 4 Federal Register, published an advance notice of supplemental proposed rulemaking that expands on a 2016 joint proposal from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FMCSA. The latter is the sole agency listed on the proposal, which doesn’t specify a top speed. The 2016 proposed rule suggested capping speeds at 60, 65 or 68 mph.

FMCSA offers multiple questions on which stakeholders may comment, including:

  • What percentage of the commercial motor vehicle fleet uses speed-limiting devices?
  • If in use, at what maximum speed are the devices generally set?
  • What training or skill sets are needed for motor carriers’ maintenance personnel to adjust or program electronic engine control units to set speed limits?
  • What equipment or tools are needed to adjust or program/reprogram ECUs? How long would the process take, and where can it be completed?
  • Since publication of the notice of proposed rulemaking in 2016, how has standard practice or technology changed as it relates to the ability to set speed limits using ECUs?
    FMCSA extended comment period on speed-limiting

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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DOT proposes oral fluid drug testing as an alternative method

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Washington — The Department of Transportation has issued a proposed rule that would revise industry drug testing protocol by adding oral fluid testing as an alternative to urine testing for commercial motor vehicle operators and other safety-sensitive transportation workers.

In a notice published in the Feb. 28 Federal Register, DOT claims the proposal “will give employers a choice that will help combat employee cheating on urine drug tests and provide a more economical, less intrusive means of achieving the safety goals” of the transportation industry’s drug and alcohol testing program.

The proposed rule stems from a Department of Health and Human Services final rule allowing federal agencies to collect and test oral fluid specimens as part of their drug testing programs. Under the rule, effective Jan. 1, 2020, agencies must initiate individual rulemaking to begin the process of allowing oral fluid testing as an option.

“The advantage of every oral fluid collection is that it will be directly observed, as opposed to most urine collections, which are unobserved,” DOT states. “While directly observed urine specimen collections have long been the most effective method for preventing individuals from cheating on their drug tests by substituting or adulterating their specimens, directly observed urine collection may only be done in certain circumstances due to employee privacy concerns. Unlike directly observed urine collections, an oral fluid collection is much less intrusive on the tested employee’s privacy.”

The agency adds that it is not proposing to eliminate urine drug testing.

HHS is still considering amendments to proposed guidelines – issued in September 2020 – concerning the use of hair samples as a method for drug testing federal employees and safety-sensitive employees in federally regulated industries, the notice states.

Comments on the proposed rule are due March 30.

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

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Study questions whether FMCSA’s ELD mandate for truckers ‘has improved safety’

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

East Lansing, MI — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s mandate on the use of electronic logging devices to record commercial motor vehicle driver hours of service “did not immediately achieve its goal of reducing accidents,” and may be linked to increases in unsafe driving behaviors and crashes, results of a recent study suggest.

The mandate took effect in December 2017. On April 1, 2018, inspectors were permitted to begin placing CMV drivers out of service for operating without ELDs, which are used in place of manual paper logs to track HOS.

Researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Arkansas analyzed data from about 4 million roadside inspections and all federally recordable crashes between Jan. 1, 2017, and Sept. 1, 2018. Although the mandate triggered significant improvement in driver compliance with reporting HOS, especially among smaller fleets, findings show that the number of incidents increased after the mandate went into effect.

For independent owner-operators, incidents climbed 11.6%, while fleets employing between two and 20 trucks experienced a 9% increase. The researchers also report an increase in violations for unsafe driver behaviors – including speeding, frequent lane changes, following too closely and hard braking – in conjunction with the mandate.

“These results call into question whether increased electronic monitoring has improved safety in this industry,” the researchers write.

After publishing the final rule in December 2015, FMCSA estimated the mandate would help prevent 1,844 crashes, 562 injuries and 26 fatalities each year.

“Drivers have reacted in ways the FMCSA has not fully anticipated, and these behaviors should be accounted for as the FMCSA revisits their hours-of-service policies,” Andrew Balthrop, study co-author and research associate at UA, said in a press release.

“Surprisingly, the number of accidents for the most affected carriers – those operators for whom the federal mandate was intended – did not decrease. In fact, following the implementation of the mandate, accidents among small carriers and independent owner-operators increased, relative to large asset-based carriers.”

ELDs record – at frequent intervals – vehicle information such as date, time, location, engine hours and miles, as well as identification information for the driver, vehicle and motor carrier.

Proponents of the mandate contend that relying on ELDs rather than paper logs to track HOS improves safety and efficiency. Opponents claim the rule violates drivers’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and lacks concrete evidence that it increases safety.

CMV drivers must carry four items as part of the mandate:

  • A user’s manual that describes how to operate the ELD
  • A sheet listing step-by-step instructions on producing and transferring HOS records to an authorized safety official
  • A sheet that outlines ELD malfunction reporting requirements and protocol for maintaining records during such incidences
  • At least eight days’ worth of blank grids to chart record of duty status reports

The study was published in the March issue of the Journal of Operations Management.

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.