[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 191 (Friday, October 2, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 59664-59665]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-25135]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 395


Hours of Service for Drivers: Regulatory Guidance Concerning the 
Editing of Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD) Information

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

ACTION: Notice of regulatory guidance.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA issues regulatory guidance concerning the editing of 
records created by automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs). The 
guidance makes clear that, within certain limits, a driver must be 
allowed to review his or her AOBRD records, annotate and correct 
inaccurate records, enter any missing information, and certify the 
accuracy of the information. The AOBRD must retain the original 
entries, and reflect the date, time, and name of the person making 
edits to the information. Drivers' supervisors may request that a 
driver make edits to correct errors, but the driver must accept or 
reject such requests. Driving time may not be edited except in the case 
of unidentified or team drivers, and when driving time was assigned to 
the wrong driver or no driver. All prior Agency interpretations and 
regulatory guidance on this subject, including memoranda and letters, 
may no longer be relied upon to the extent they are inconsistent with 
this guidance.

DATES: This regulatory guidance is effective October 2, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Thomas Yager, Chief, Driver and 
Carrier Operations Division, Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, phone (202) 366-4325, email 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Legal Basis

    The Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 (Pub. L. 98-554, Title II, 98 
Stat. 2832, October 30, 1984) (1984 Act), as amended (codified at 49 
U.S.C. 31136(a)) 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.

Background

    Motor carriers began to use automated hours-of-service (HOS) 
recording devices in the mid-1980s to replace paper records. The 
Federal Highway Administration, the agency then responsible for the 
motor carrier safety regulations, published a final rule in 1988 that 
defined Automatic On Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) and set forth 
performance standards for their use (53 FR 38670, September 30, 1988, 
codified at 49 CFR 395.15).
    Question 2 of the regulatory guidance for Sec.  395.15 prohibits 
CMV drivers from ``amending'' AOBRD records of duty status (RODS) 
during a trip; the guidance was published on April 4, 1997 (65 FR 
16370, at 16426). The reason for the prohibition--``If drivers, who use 
automatic on-board recording devices, were allowed to amend their 
record of duty status while in transit,

[[Page 59665]]

legitimate amendments could not be distinguished from 
falsifications''--was to block a pathway for drivers to falsify their 
electronic records. At the time the guidance was written, most AOBRD 
systems required the driver to physically deliver his or her electronic 
HOS information to the motor carrier using removable media such as a 
data disk. The Agency may have been concerned that some of those early 
AOBRD systems might not have incorporated audit trails into their 
software.
    Over 25 years have passed since the AOBRD rule was published. Many 
systems now allow electronic transfer of data from in-cab units to a 
support system. Thousands of motor carriers and hundreds of thousands 
of drivers are using HOS recording systems that far exceed the minimum 
performance requirements for AOBRDs. Information technology systems can 
place very precise controls over the data revision; e.g., specific data 
elements can be ``locked'' to prevent any revision once an entry has 
been made. They also routinely incorporate audit trails to indicate who 
revised data that was originally entered, when the revision was made, 
and the reason for the change.
    FMCSA acknowledges that drivers need to be able to make legitimate 
corrections to their electronic AOBRD records. For example, if a driver 
erroneously enters ``off duty'' when he or she actually is on duty/not 
driving, and realizes this error later, under current guidance the 
driver would have to relay this information to a supervisory motor 
carrier official, and that official would need to edit the driver's 
record. In another example, a driver might need to enter on-duty 
activity performed when the driver was away from the CMV.
    With the steady increase in CMV drivers using AOBRDs, and the 
ability of software to note edits without deleting the original record, 
the need for a driver to make this request through another party is no 
longer necessary and is becoming increasing less viable. Therefore, as 
long as the AOBRD record reflects both the original entry and the 
revised entry, along with information on who made the revision, the 
date and time, and the reason (in the Remarks sections, see current 
Question 2 to Sec.  395.15), FMCSA will now allow these edits.
    However, FMCSA continues to prohibit drivers from editing records 
related to driving time, except in limited circumstances. Driving time 
may not be edited except in the case of unidentified or team drivers, 
and when driving time was assigned to the wrong driver or no driver. 
Such time may be reassigned to the correct driver. Staff of the motor 
carrier or its electronic systems provider may request that a driver 
make edits to correct errors. The driver must accept or reject such 
requests and the AOBRD must record the transaction. If the driver edits 
the record based on the request, he or she must re-submit and re-
certify the corrected record.
    In all instances of editing, the AOBRD must retain the original 
entries, and reflect the date, time, and name of the person making any 
edit. The motor carrier must also retain both the original and edited 
record of duty status.
    The Agency revises Question 2 of the Regulatory Guidance for Sec.  
395.15 to address all of these issues.

PART 395--HOURS OF SERVICE OF DRIVERS

0
Replace the text of Sec.  395.15 Question 2 with the following:
    ``Question 2: May entries made on an automatic on-board recording 
device (AOBRD) be annotated?
    Guidance: Yes.
    (1) Within certain limits, a driver must be allowed to review his 
or her AOBRD records, annotate and correct inaccurate records, enter 
any missing information, and certify the accuracy of the information.
    (2) The AOBRD must retain the original entries, and reflect the 
date and time of an edit, and name of the person making the edit. If 
the driver has already ``certified'' the entries for the duty period, 
he or she must re-certify the edited version, which must be transmitted 
to the carrier.
    (3) ``Driving time'' may not be edited except in the case of 
unidentified or team drivers, and when driving time was assigned to the 
wrong driver or no driver. Such time may be reassigned to the correct 
driver.
    (4) After reviewing incoming records, drivers' supervisors may 
request that a driver make edits to correct errors. The driver must 
accept or reject such requests and the AOBRD must record the 
transaction. If the driver annotates the record based on the request, 
he or she must re-submit and re-certify the corrected record.''

    Issued on: September 25, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-25135 Filed 10-1-15; 8:45 am]
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