[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 132 (Thursday, July 10, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 39342-39343]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-15951]

[[Page 39342]]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 395

Hours of Service for Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers; Regulatory 
Guidance Concerning Records of Duty Status Generated by Logging 
Software Programs

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of regulatory guidance.


SUMMARY: FMCSA revises its regulatory guidance concerning records of 
duty status (RODS) generated by logging software programs on laptop 
computers, tablets, and smartphones. These logging software programs 
are used by certain drivers to help them prepare RODS, but the 
computers, tablets, and smartphones with such software do not meet 
FMCSA's requirements for automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs). 
The revision of the guidance clarifies the relationship between the 
Agency's policy concerning the use of logging software programs and the 
Agency's January 4, 2011, regulatory guidance concerning electronic 
signatures by removing the requirement that drivers print and sign 
paper copies of RODS generated through such logging software, provided 
the driver is able to sign the RODS electronically at the end of each 
work day and display the electronic record at the roadside. This 
guidance provides the motor carrier industry, and Federal, State, and 
local motor carrier enforcement officials with uniform information 
regarding computer software and devices used by drivers to assist them 
with hours-of-service (HOS) recordkeeping. All prior Agency 
interpretations and regulatory guidance, including memoranda and 
letters, are rescinded to the extent they are inconsistent with this 

DATES: This regulatory guidance is effective July 10, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas L. Yager, Chief, Driver and 
Carrier Operations Division, Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590; 
telephone 202-366-4325; email [email protected].


Legal Basis

    The Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 (Pub. L. 98-554, Title II, 98 
Stat. 2832, October 30, 1984) (the 1984 Act) authorizes the Secretary 
of Transportation to regulate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and 
equipment, and the drivers and motor carriers that operate them. 
Section 211 of the 1984 Act also gives the Secretary broad power to 
``prescribe recordkeeping and reporting requirements'' and to ``perform 
other acts the Secretary considers appropriate.'' (49 U.S.C. 
31133(a)(8) and (10)). The Administrator of FMCSA has been delegated 
authority under 49 CFR 1.87(f) to carry out the functions vested in the 
Secretary by 49 U.S.C. chapter 311, subchapters I and III, relating to 
CMV programs and safety regulation.


    On January 4, 2011, FMCSA published regulatory guidance for Sec.  
390.31 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) 
concerning electronic signatures and documents (76 FR 411). The 
guidance explained how electronic signatures could be used under the 
existing regulations while the Agency considers a notice-and-comment 
rulemaking to amend the FMCSRs to explicitly allow electronic 
signatures on documents required by the safety regulations. The 
guidance provides a short-term solution for allowing the use of 
electronic signatures, to the greatest extent possible under the 
existing regulations, consistent with the requirements of the 
Government Paperwork Elimination Act of 1998 (GPEA) and the Electronic 
Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 (E-SIGN). The 
purpose of GPEA is to improve customer service and governmental 
efficiency through the use of information technology. The purpose of E-
SIGN is to promote the use of electronic recordkeeping in private 
commerce by establishing legal equivalence between traditional paper-
based methods and electronic methods.
    On April 28, 2014, FMCSA published a notice of proposed rulemaking 
concerning ``Electronic Documents and Signatures'' (79 FR 23306). The 
proposed regulatory amendments would permit the use of electronic 
methods to sign, certify, generate, exchange or maintain records so 
long as the documents accurately reflect the information in the record 
and can be used for their intended purpose.

Records of Duty Status

    Generally, drivers of CMVs as defined in 49 CFR 390.5 who are 
subject to the Federal hours-of-service requirements must record their 
duty status for each 24-hour period. However, the rules provide limited 
exemptions to the RODS requirements, including an exemption for the 
following drivers:
     CMV drivers (whether the vehicles require a commercial 
driver's license (CDL) or not) who operate within 100 air-miles of 
their normal work reporting location and satisfy the time limitations 
and recordkeeping requirements of Sec.  395.1(e)(1).
     Drivers of property-carrying CMVs for which a CDL is not 
required and who operate within a 150 air-mile radius of the location 
where the driver reports for duty and satisfy the time limitations and 
recordkeeping requirements of Sec.  395.1(e)(2).\1\

    \1\ A driver who qualifies for this exception is not eligible 
for the 100 air-mile exception under 49 CFR 395.1(e)(1).

    For drivers that must prepare RODS, 49 CFR 395.8 specifies a 
particular ``grid'' or type of form that must be used to document the 
driver's activities during the 24-hour period.
    As an alternative to written RODS, 49 CFR 395.15 allows the use of 
AOBRDs. The AOBRD regulation was adopted in 1988. To be considered a 
compliant device, an AOBRD must be integrally synchronized with 
specific operations of the CMV in which it is installed (see 49 CFR 
395.2, Definitions, AOBRD). Use of AOBRDs is voluntary.
    Several vendors market software products to assist the driver in 
recording and storing RODS information electronically. Laptop 
computers, tablets, and smartphones running driver logging software 
should not be confused with AOBRDs because the devices are not 
integrally synchronized with the specific operations of the CMV on 
which they are being used. Drivers must manually input their duty 
status information (e.g., driving time, on-duty not driving, etc.) 
directly into the computer, tablet or smartphone.
    Although FMCSA has allowed CMV drivers to use driver logging 
software, the Agency's regulatory guidance explains that drivers must 
print and sign the RODS that these devices generate, for each 24-hour 
period, just as the driver would with any handwritten RODS. The 
existing Questions 27 and 28 for Sec.  395.8 (available through 
www.fmcsa.dot.gov) read as follows:
    ``Question 27: Would a driver who prepares his/her log on a 
computer, `digitally' signs the log, and then transmits it directly to 
the carrier, be in compliance with 49 CFR 395.8(f)(2)?
    Guidance: No. The driver's activities must be recorded in 
accordance with the provisions of Sec.  395.8(f)(2). This section 
requires that all entries relating to driver's duty status must be 
legible and in the driver's own handwriting.''
    ``Question 28: May a driver use a computer to generate his or her 

[[Page 39343]]

of duty status (log book) and then manually sign the computer printouts 
in lieu of handwritten logs?
    Guidance: A driver may use a computer to generate the graph grid 
and entries for the record of duty status or log books, provided the 
computer-generated output includes the minimum information required by 
Sec.  395.8 and is formatted in accordance with the rules. In addition, 
the driver must:
    1. Be capable of printing the record of duty status for the current 
24-hour period at the request of an enforcement officer.
    2. Print the record of duty status at the end of each 24-hour 
period, and sign it in his or her handwriting to certify that all 
entries required by this section are true and correct.
    3. Maintain a copy of printed and signed records of duty status for 
the previous 7 consecutive days and make it available for inspection at 
the request of an enforcement officer.''

Electronic Signatures and Hours-of-Service Records

    Question 11 from the January 2011 regulatory guidance notice for 
Sec.  390.31 advises motor carriers and other parties that they may use 
electronic methods to generate, sign, maintain and/or exchange any 
document that is generated and maintained or exchanged by private 
parties, regardless of whether FMCSA subsequently requires them to be 
produced or displayed to Federal and State enforcement personnel. The 
list of examples of documents includes RODS.
    The Regulatory Guidance for Sec.  390.31 was originally developed 
to allow motor carriers to store documents in electronic format. The 
January 2011 revisions to the Guidance expand the scope to allow 
documents to be created, maintained, and generated in electronic 
format. Specifically, as stated in the January 2011 Notice:
     Any electronic record or signature is considered the legal 
equivalent of a paper document or signature if it is the functional 
equivalent with respect to integrity, accuracy, and accessibility.
     [This revised] guidance establishes parity between paper 
and electronic records and signatures, greatly expanding interested 
parties' ability to use electronic records.
    The January 2011 regulatory guidance is consistent with the 
Agency's previous policy concerning RODS prepared using logging 
software in that it continues to accept them as equivalent to paper 
documents. Signatures may be electronically embedded on printed copies 
or may be manually added to printed copies of the records.
    Guidance Question 9 to Sec.  390.31 provides that documents stored 
electronically must be capable of being reproduced in the same time 
frame as the original document. A paper RODS must be presented to an 
enforcement official upon request. Therefore, the electronically-stored 
RODS must also be printed for an enforcement official upon request 
during a roadside inspection.
    Today's guidance harmonizes the January 2011 guidance interpreting 
Sec.  390.31 with the previously issued guidance interpreting 49 CFR 
395.8. FMCSA withdraws Question 27 for Sec.  395.8, which currently 
states that a driver who prepares his/her log on a computer, 
`digitally' signs the log, and then transmits it directly to the 
carrier, would not be in compliance with 49 CFR 395.8(f)(2). In 
addition, FMCSA revises the response to Question 28 for Sec.  395.8 to 
make clear that a driver may create, sign and store electronic RODS if 
certain conditions are met.

Hours of Service for Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Regulatory 
Guidance for 49 CFR 395.8, Driver's Record of Duty Status

    Question 28: May a driver use a computer, tablet, or smartphone 
(that is not an Automatic On-Board Recording Device) to create, 
electronically sign, and store the record of duty status (RODS)?
    Guidance: Yes. A driver may make manual duty-status entries to a 
computer, tablet, or smartphone program that is used to generate the 
graph grid and entries for the record of duty status (RODS) or log 
book, provided the electronically-generated display (if any) and output 
includes the minimum information required by Sec.  395.8 and is 
formatted in accordance with that section. The driver must sign the 
RODS (manually or electronically) at the end of each 24-hour period to 
certify that all required entries are true and correct.
    (A) If electronic signatures are not used:
     The driver must print and manually sign the RODS daily.
     The driver must have in his or her possession the printed 
and signed RODS for the prior seven consecutive days (if required on 
those days).
     The driver should be given an opportunity to print and 
manually sign the current day's RODS at the time of the inspection.
    (B) If RODS have been electronically signed:
     At the time of an inspection of records by an enforcement 
official, the driver may display the current and prior seven days RODS 
to the official on the device's screen.
     If the enforcement official requests printed copies of the 
RODS, the driver must be given an opportunity to print the current and 
prior seven days RODS (if required on those days) at the time of 

    Issued on: June 17, 2014.
Anne S. Ferro,
[FR Doc. 2014-15951 Filed 7-9-14; 8:45 am]