E-logs make FMCSA's wish list for year's end

By Land Line staff | Tuesday, September 15, 2015

FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling today laid out the top five priorities he would like to see carried out by year’s end. Featuring prominently is a final rule that would make electronic logging devices mandatory.

Darling says the ELD rule is being designed, as per a requirement, to protect commercial drivers from harassment.

Darling issued a letter on Tuesday, Sept. 15, to reiterate the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s commitment to saving lives and to update the agency’s 1,100 employees on the top five priorities.

The FMCSA’s top five priorities, in the agency’s words, are:

Safety Fitness Determination
FMCSA is in the final stages of publishing a proposed rule that would increase the use of inspection data in making Safety Fitness Determinations for motor carriers. This rule would propose important changes to the agency’s process for assessing the safety performance of truck and bus companies, focusing on incorporating current on-road safety performance data (i.e., roadside inspection and crash data), and evaluating carriers based on their own performance. We will be seeking public input on the proposed rule and look forward to hearing your views as we develop a final rule.

Inspection Modernization
FMCSA launched a new version of our inspection software program – Aspen 3.0. It features a new look and feel and enhanced capabilities. Many of the functions needed at roadside are now integrated into the Aspen system without requiring external software. Law enforcement personnel are also able to obtain direct access to out-of-service notices. We launched a series of training webinars this month that go into great detail on the many improvements.

Unified Registration System
FMCSA will implement a new, revamped system designed to improve the accuracy and timeliness of the information in our database of registered motor carriers based on our 2013 Final Rule. URS will streamline manual processes and combine several forms that regulated entities are required to submit into one unified registration – the electronic “smart form.” It is important that we get this right. As such, we will move forward with a new phased implementation that will ensure a successful launch. A Federal Register notice will be published in October that will provide details on the updated implementation timeline.

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Phase III
In preparation for a successful launch of the final two CSA interventions – offsite investigations and cooperative safety plans – we are lining up the necessary training for Federal and State investigators and outreach to the industry. Two important things to note:

  • The agency is also moving forward on a new type of investigation – the crash BASIC investigation – that focuses on identifying trends in carrier crash behaviors. 
  • FMCSA will be fine-tuning the SMS algorithm to better identify carriers for investigation so that we can intervene more quickly with those found to be at greatest risk. A second Federal Register notice announcing the preview of the changes will be published in the coming months.


Electronic Logging Devices (ELD)
A final rule on ELDs is being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget and is scheduled to be out later this year. Although we cannot discuss the provisions of a final rule before it is made public, I can say that the rule is designed to benefit everyone by:

  • By improving hours of service (HOS) compliance, which we estimate will prevent about 20 fatalities and over 400 injuries each year;
  • Helping businesses cut paperwork and save money;
  • Protecting drivers from harassment; and
  • Making it easier for law enforcement and safety inspectors to review driver HOS records.
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