FMCSA Seeks Comments on Regulation of Lockout Devices - EHS Daily Advisor

FMCSA Seeks Comments on Regulation of Lockout Devices – EHS Daily Advisor

On September 16, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a request for comment on its regulations for Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) for commercial vehicles (VMCs) (87 Federal Register (IN) 56921). In an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency revealed that it was considering changes to the applicability of pre-2000 engines, the resolution of ELD malfunctions, the process for removing ELDs from the list of approved devices by the agency, technical specifications and ELD certification.

Comments are due November 15.

ELDs help ensure driver and motor carrier compliance with agency Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. HOS regulations limit the number of hours a VMC driver can drive. The regulations also limit the maximum number of hours of service for drivers in a 7 or 8 day period.

The FMCSA is investigating whether the agency should reevaluate or change the applicability of ELD regulations for rebuilt or remanufactured CMV engines; many vehicles with pre-2000 engines and pre-2000 rebuilt engines are equipped with Engine Control Modules (ECMs) that can accommodate an ELD.

FMCSA enforcement personnel must be able to review a driver’s paper logs when an ELD fails to record a driver’s hours, so current regulations require drivers to transition to paper logs for their service records (RODS) when an ELD malfunctions. However, an ELD may malfunction but still log a driver’s hours. FMCSA asked if the agency should specify when a driver should switch to paper logs.

The agency asked several questions about removing an ELD from its list of approved devices:

  • If an ELD vendor goes out of business and fails to revoke their device’s registration themselves, should the FMCSA be able to immediately remove the device from the registered ELD list?
  • Should the FMCSA require ELD providers to update their listing within 30 calendar days of any changes to their registration information?
  • Should ERD providers be required to confirm their information on an annual basis?
  • Should a supplier’s ELD be removed from the FMCSA list if it does not confirm or update its listing on an annual basis?
  • An ELD provider is given 60 days after the agency provides written notice of proposed deletion to confirm the proposed deletion. Should the agency reduce the 60-day period to 30 days to allow for faster removal of an ELD listing?
  • Should the FMCSA consider other factors related to an operator’s continued use of a device that has been removed from the FMCSA list due to changes in a vendor’s status, such as going out of business or failure to file a registration update?

The FMCSA also had several questions about the technical specifications of the ELDs, such as:

  • Could ELD providers include, in their output file and recording,
    the version numbers of the individual components of the ELD, such as the version
    software number running on GUI/tablet, firmware running on gateway/black box and back-office software version number?
  • What would be the impact of including the following data elements in each logged event: actual odometer, actual engine hours, location description, geolocation, VIN, power supply, shipping document number, trailer, driver, co-driver if there was one, and which co-driver was driving at the time?
  • Should more frequent intermediate recordings be required on a quarter-hourly, half-hourly, three-quarters-hourly and hourly basis, and if not, what would be a reasonable frequency to require intermediate recordings?
  • Drivers often fail to enter a new duty status before turning off the ELD, causing the driver to remain in driving condition. Should the ELD automatically record an event in service, without driving, following the recording of an engine stop?
  • Should the FMCSA consider allowing a driver, rather than the motor carrier, to change their ELD configuration to an exempt status to help reduce the record keeping burden noted by the industry?
  • Should the FMCSA consider adding an exception to the rule that would not require a driver to re-enter yard move status every time the tractor is powered off?

The agency also asked stakeholders if it should establish an ELD certification process, what such a process would entail, and how FMCSA should treat existing devices.

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