FMCSA to allow electronic HOS record keeping

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | 7/9/2014

With more and more drivers using computers, tablets and smartphones to keep their daily logs, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will begin accepting those electronic logs as complying with the HOS regs.

Previously, drivers who prepared their logs on a computer and transmitted digitally signed copies of the log to their motor carrier were not in compliance with the regulations. The regulations stated that the logs must be in the drivers’ “own handwriting.”

In 2011, FMCSA relaxed the guidance on electronic records and digital signatures. Guidance is essentially an explanation or clarification of the regulations for law enforcement purposes. The 2011 guidance that allowed electronic storage of records and digital signatures did not include hours-of-service logs.

On Thursday, July 10, the FMCSA will issue new guidance via the Federal Register that will now allow drivers to maintain electronic logs on their computers, tablets or smartphones and consider the driver in compliance with the regulations if an electronic signature is used.

Drivers will be required to have the prior seven days of electronically signed logs available to be viewed on the device’s screen during an inspection. Law enforcement can request printed copies or the logs, and the driver must be given an opportunity to print the current and prior seven days.

If an electronic signature is not used, the driver will be required to print the electronic logs and manually sign them daily. Drivers will also be required to retain the prior seven days of manually signed logs – just as required now.

Law enforcement is also directed to give the driver the opportunity to manually sign a printed copy of the electronic log – if they are not using an electronic signature – at the time of inspection.

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