April 28, 2014: (NPRM) FMCSA – Use of Electronic Records and Signatures

FMCSA issued a proposed rule to allow the use of electronic records and signatures to satisfy certain FMCSA documentation requirements. The 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. This proposed rule would apply only to those documents that FMCSA’s regulations obligate entities or individuals to retain; it would not apply to forms or other documents that must be submitted directly to FMCSA.

The following parts have been amended to facilitate electronic records:

• 370 Principles and practices for the investigation and voluntary disposition of loss and damage claims and processing salvage
• 371 Brokers of property
• 375 Transportation of household goods in interstate commerce; consumer protection regulations
• 376 Lease and interchange of vehicles
• 378 Procedures governing the processing, investigation, and disposition of overcharge, duplicate payment, or over collection claims
• 379 Preservation of records
• 387 Minimum levels of financial responsibility for motor carriers
• 389 Rulemaking procedures—Federal motor carrier safety regulations
• 390 Federal motor carrier safety regulations; general
• 391 Qualifications of drivers and longer combination vehicle (LCV) driver instructors
• 395 Hours of service of drivers
• 396 Inspection, repair, and maintenance

For example, Paragraph (b)(1) of § 387.7 requires insurers and motor carriers to give 35 days’ notice prior to cancelling the financial responsibility policies required in § 387.9. Currently, this section establishes mail as the only method of communicating cancellations. FMCSA proposes to amend this section by replacing the word ‘‘mailed’’ with the more technologically neutral term ‘‘transmitted,’’ and ‘‘Proof of mailing’’ with ‘‘Proof of transmittal’’ thus establishing parity between mailing and other methods of transmission as proof of cancellation.

Part 397, Transportation Of Hazardous Materials; Driving And Parking Rules, was not amended. This may be because the authority to modify this part is required to be done under the hazardous materials transportation law by the federal motor carrier law. DGAC is evaluating whether to comment to FMCSA and/or PHMSA to similarly amend Part 397, and what documentation requirements in Part 397 might be within the scope or beneficial to change.

This proposed rule responds in part to the President’s January 2011 Regulatory Review and Reform initiative and would implement the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E–SIGN). Comments are due on or before June 27, 2014.

PP 23306 – 23316, Docket No. FMCSA–2012–0376, FR Doc. 2014–09376, Affecting 49 CFR Parts 370, 371, 373, 375, 376, 378, 379, 387, 389, 390, 391, 395, 396, and 398
Click here to see entire proposed rule