[Federal Register: April 6, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 65)]
[Rules and Regulations]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Highway Administration
49 CFR Part 395
Global Positioning System (GPS) Technology
AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of interpretation; request for participation in pilot
SUMMARY: The FHWA believes global positioning system (GPS) technology
and many of the complementary safety management computer systems
currently being used by the motor carrier industry, provide at least
the same degree of monitoring accuracy as the ``automatic on-board
recorders'' allowed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
(FMCSRs), 49 CFR 395.15. Accordingly, the FHWA is announcing a
voluntary program under which a motor carrier with GPS technology and
related safety management computer systems may enter into an agreement
with the FHWA to use such systems in a pilot demonstration project to
record and monitor drivers' hours of service in lieu of complying with
the handwritten ``records of duty status'' requirement of the FMCSRs,
49 CFR 395.8. Consistent with the President's initiatives in
reinventing government and regulatory reform, the project is intended
to demonstrate whether the motor carrier industry can use the
technology to improve compliance with the hours-of-service requirements
in a manner which promotes safety and operational efficiency while
reducing paperwork requirements.
DATES: This interpretation is effective April 6, 1998. Applications for
participation in the pilot demonstration project will be accepted until
October 5, 1998.
ADDRESSES: Written applications should be mailed to Office of Motor
Carrier Research and Standards (HCS-10), Federal Highway
Administration, Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh St., SW.,
Washington, DC 20590.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Bryan L. Price, Office of Motor
Carrier Safety and Technology, (202) 366-5720, Mr. Neill L. Thomas,
Office of Motor Carrier Research and Standards, (202) 366-4009, or Mr.
Charles Medalen, Office of Chief Counsel, (202) 366-1354, Federal
Highway Administration, Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to
4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
Application requests and specific questions regarding this pilot
demonstration project may also be directed to the contact person(s)
named in this notice or the Division or Regional Offices of the FHWA in
An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded using a modem
and suitable communications software from the Federal Register
Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 512-1661. Internet users may
reach the Federal Register's home page at http://www.nara.gov/nara/
fedreg and the Government Printing Office's database at: http://
On September 30, 1988, the FHWA published a final rule (53 FR
38666) to allow motor carriers, at their option, to use certain
automatic on-board recording devices to record their drivers' records
of duty status in lieu of the required handwritten records of duty
status. This provision is now codified at 49 CFR 395.15. Many motor
carriers that employed that technology found that their compliance with
the hours-of-service regulations improved. New technologies are
emerging, however, and the narrowly crafted on-board recorder provision
is becoming obsolete. Before considering changes to the rule, the FHWA
believes it would be prudent to demonstrate the effectiveness of more
recent technology for ensuring compliance with the hours-of-service
regulations. The FHWA also hopes to demonstrate the safety and economic
advantages to the motor carrier industry when the technology is used to
reduce the prescriptive paperwork and recordkeeping requirements of the
hours-of-service regulations (49 CFR part 395). The FHWA intends to
carefully evaluate results of the pilot demonstration project. Should
the results prove to be positive and the safety potential of the
involved technologies confirmed, the agency will consider proposing
revisions to the FMCSRs.
The FHWA is aware of the benefits of GPS technology to monitor and
control drivers' compliance with the hours-of-service regulations.
Although Sec. 395.15 was originally promulgated for a specific
technology, the FHWA believes GPS technology and many of the
complementary safety management computer systems currently being used
by the motor carrier industry provide at least the same degree of
monitoring accuracy, while substantially complying with the
requirements of Sec. 395.15. Accordingly, the FHWA will allow volunteer
motor carriers to use GPS technology to meet the ``automatic on-board
recorder'' provisions of Sec. 395.15 in order to demonstrate the safety
potential of this technology. The FHWA invites motor carriers that
believe their GPS technology programs meet the requirements set forth
in this document to seek permission to participate in this
The conditions that will apply during the demonstration project are
included in a question and answer format that expresses the
Premise: Section 395.2 of the FMCSRs defines an ``automatic on-
board recording device'' as ``an electric, electronic,
electromechanical, or mechanical device capable of recording driver's
duty status information accurately and automatically as required by
Sec. 395.15. The device must be integrally synchronized with specific
operations of the commercial motor vehicle in which it is installed. At
a minimum, the device must record engine use, road speed, miles driven,
the date, and time of day.'' Section 395.15 of the FMCSRs provides
motor carriers the authority to use ``automatic on-board recording
devices'' to record
their drivers' hours-of-service in lieu of complying with the
handwritten record of duty status requirements of Sec. 395.8.
There are limited provisions of Sec. 395.15 that are not entirely
adaptable to GPS technology and related computer systems. The table
below sets out those provisions and then describes what the GPS
technology and related computer systems have available to satisfy, or
go beyond, what is required by Sec. 395.15.
49 CFR 395.15 GPS technology
Sec. 395.15(a)(1) permits use of Records driver's duty status
``Automatic on-board recording accurately and automatically *
device'' (OBR) as defined at 49 CFR * * not ``integrally
395.2: capable of recording driver's synchronized'' with specific
duty status accurately and CMV functions * * * Computes
automatically * * * must be integrally distance traveled by vehicle
synchronized with specific CMV position readings (latitude/
functions * * * must record engine longitude) provided by
use, road speed, miles driven (axle satellite * * * Road speed
revolutions), date and time of day estimated by time elapsed
(internal clock). between vehicle position
Sec. 395.15(b)(3) Support systems: Support systems provide
must provide information about on- information about on-board
board sensor failures and identify system failures and identify
edited data. edited data.
Sec. 395.15(f) Reconstruction of If communications to CMV fail,
records of duty status: Drivers must vehicle position and sensor
note any failure of automatic OBRs and readings continue to be
reconstruct records of duty status recorded by satellite and sent
(RODS) for current day and past 7 days to terminal * * *
* * * must prepare handwritten RODs retransmitted to CMV after
until device is operational. communications are restored *
* * Drivers can immediately
request, by telephone, the
previous 7 days RODS be sent
via facsimile to roadside
location * * * unnecessary to
Sec. 395.15(h)(1) Submission of RODS: Provides motor carrier
Driver must submit, electronically or automatically with access to
by mail, to motor carrier, each RODS all driver and vehicle records
within 13 days following completion of on a continual, ``real-time,''
each RODS. basis.
Sec. 395.15(h)(2): Driver must review Motor carrier furnishes driver
and verify all entries are accurate with duty status summary * * *
before submission to motor carrier. duty status entries available
to driver for review and
Sec. 395.15(h)(3): Submission of RODS Driver's verification message
certifies all entries are true and certifies all entries are true
correct. and correct.
Sec. 395.15(i)(1): Motor carrier must The FHWA provides written
obtain manufacturer's certificate that approval.
the design of OBR meets requirements.
Sec. 395.15(i)(2): Duty status may be Company policy prohibits any
updated only when CMV is at rest, entry while CMV is in motion *
except when registering time crossing * * records violations
State boundary. automatically * * * takes
Sec. 395.15(i)(3): OBR and support Provides time, location, and
systems must be, to the maximum extent sensor signals by satellite
practicable, tamper proof. service. System provides audit
trails of all keyboard
Sec. 395.15(i)(4): OBR must warn Provides audible and/or visible
driver visually and/or audibly the warnings to CMV driver and
device has ceased to function. motor carrier.
Sec. 395.15(i)(7): OBR and support Provides audit trails of all
systems must identify sensor failures sensor failures and edited
and edited data. data.
Sec. 395.15(i)(8): OBR must be Performs maintenance in
maintained and recalibrated in accordance with manufacturer's
accordance with the manufacturer's specifications * * * Renders
specifications. calibration unnecessary.
Question: May Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and
complementary safety management computer systems be used to meet the
``automatic on-board recording device'' provisions of Sec. 395.15?
Guidance: As written, Sec. 395.15 is not consistent in all details
with newer technologies such as GPS. However, the FHWA believes the GPS
technology and complementary safety management computer systems
currently being used by specific motor carriers--for example Werner
Enterprises, Inc. (Werner)--substantially conform with the requirements
of Sec. 395.15. More importantly these systems are capable of providing
a superior proactive, ``real-time,'' approach to monitoring and
controlling drivers'' hours-of-service. Werner is entering into an
agreement with the FHWA to utilize GPS technology in lieu of
handwritten records of duty status. Werner and any other motor carrier
that wishes to enter into a similar agreement must have GPS technology
and complementary safety management computer systems which meet the
conditions specified in paragraphs (a) through (j).
(a) Authority to use GPS technology.
(1) The motor carrier may require drivers to use GPS technology to
record their hours of service in lieu of complying with the
requirements of 49 CFR 395.8.
(2) Drivers required by motor carriers to use GPS technology shall
use such devices to record their hours of service.
(b) Information requirements. The following five requirements must
be observed by the motor carrier and driver.
(1) The on-board GPS technology shall produce, upon demand, a
driver's hours-of-service chart, in an electronic display or printout,
showing the time and sequence of duty status changes, including the
drivers' starting time at the beginning of each day.
(2) The on-board technology shall provide a means whereby
authorized Federal, State, or local officials can immediately check the
status of a driver's hours of service. This information may be used in
conjunction with handwritten or printed records of duty status for the
previous 7 consecutive days.
(3) Computer support systems used in conjunction with GPS
technology at a driver's home terminal or the motor carrier's principal
place of business must be capable of providing authorized Federal,
State, or local officials with summaries of an individual driver's
hours-of-service records, including the information specified in 49 CFR
395.8(d). The computer support systems must also be capable of
identifying system failures and edited data.
(4) The driver shall have in his/her possession and/or make
available for inspection while on duty, records of duty status for the
previous 7 consecutive days. These records shall consist of information
stored in and retrievable from the GPS technology, handwritten records,
computer generated records, or any combination thereof.
(5) All hard copies of the driver's records of duty status must be
signed by the driver. The driver's signature certifies the information
contained thereon is true and correct.
(c) Duty Status. The required thirteen duty status and additional
information items must be recorded as follows:
(1) ``Off duty'' or ``OFF'', or by an identifiable code or
(2) ``Sleeper berth'' or ``SB'', or by an identifiable code or
character (only if the sleeper berth is used).
(3) ``Driving'' or ``D'', or by an identifiable code or character.
(4) ``On-duty not driving'' or ``ON'', or by an identifiable code
(6) Total miles driving today.
(7) Truck or tractor and trailer number.
(8) Name of carrier.
(9) Main office address.
(10) 24-hour period starting time (e.g., midnight, 9:00 AM, noon,
(11) Name of co-driver.
(12) Total hours.
(13) Shipping document number(s), or name of shipper and commodity.
(d) Location of duty status change. For each change of duty status
(e.g., the place and time of reporting for work, starting to drive, on-
duty not driving, and where released from work), the geographic
coordinates must be recorded and automatically converted to city and
(e) Reconstruction of records of duty status. Drivers must
immediately note any failure of the GPS technology or complementary
safety management computer systems. Upon request of enforcement
officials, drivers must contact their motor carriers and request
facsimile copies of their ``records of duty status'' for the previous 8
(f) On-board information. An information packet containing the
following three items must be carried on board the vehicle, and
available for review, at all times:
(1) An instruction sheet describing in detail how data is stored
and retrieved from the GPS technology.
(2) A supply of blank driver's records of duty status graph-grids
sufficient to record the driver's duty status and other related
information for the duration of each trip.
(3) A copy of this interpretation, and a letter from the FHWA
certifying that the motor carrier's GPS technology and complementary
safety management computer systems substantially comply with the
provisions of 49 CFR 395.15.
(g) Driver's verification of records of duty status.
(1) The driver shall review and verify that all entries provided to
him/her by the GPS technology are accurate.
(2) The driver's verification message certifies that all entries
made by the driver or generated by GPS technology are true and correct.
(h) Performance of GPS technology. Motor carriers that use GPS
technology for recording their drivers' records of duty status in lieu
of the handwritten record shall ensure the following five requirements
(1) The GPS technology and complementary safety management computer
systems are, to the maximum extent practicable, tamper proof and do not
permit altering of the information collected concerning the driver's
hours of service;
(2) GPS technology must have the capability to display the
following six items.
(i) Driver's total hours of driving for the current day.
(ii) Driver's total hours on duty for the current day.
(iii) Driver's miles driving for the current day.
(iv) Driver's hours on duty for the prior 7 consecutive days,
including the current day.
(v) Driver's total hours on duty for the prior 8 consecutive days,
including the current day.
(vi) The sequential changes in the driver's duty status and the
times the changes occurred for each driver using the device.
(3) The GPS technology and complementary safety management computer
systems are capable of recording separately each driver's duty status
when there is a multiple-driver operation;
(4) The motor carrier's drivers are adequately trained regarding
the proper operation of the GPS technology.
(5) The motor carrier must maintain a second (back-up) copy of the
electronic hours-of-service records, by month, in a different physical
location than where the original data is stored.
(i) Rescission of authority. Consistent with 49 CFR 395.15(j), the
FHWA may, after notice and opportunity to reply, order any motor
carrier or driver to comply with the requirements of 49 CFR 395.8 if
the FHWA has determined any one of the following three events has
(1) The motor carrier has been issued a conditional or
unsatisfactory safety rating by the FHWA.
(2) The motor carrier has required or permitted a driver to
establish, or the driver has established, a pattern of exceeding the
hours-of-service limitations set forth in 49 CFR 395.3.
(3) The motor carrier or driver has tampered with or otherwise
abused the GPS technology and/or the complementary safety management
computer systems for purposes contrary to the hours-of-service rules
set forth in 49 CFR part 395.
(j) Termination of Participation. The motor carrier may terminate
its participation upon written notice to the FHWA.
Question: How will the success of the pilot demonstration project
Guidance: The FHWA plans to evaluate the demonstration project in
the following four ways:
(a) Level of compliance with the hours-of-service regulations.
(b) Accident involvement.
(c) Paperwork burden reduction.
(d) Improvements in operational efficiency (i.e., costs associated
with preparing, reviewing, and retaining hours-of-service data).
As stated previously, the FHWA intends to carefully evaluate
results of the pilot demonstration project. Should the results prove to
be positive and the safety potential of the involved technologies
confirmed, the agency will consider proposing revisions to the FMCRs.
(5 U.S.C. 553(b); 23 U.S.C. 315; 49 U.S.C. 31133, 31136, and 31502;
sec. 345, Pub. L. 104-59, 109 Stat. 568, 613; and 49 CFR 1.48)
Issued on: March 25, 1998.
Gloria J. Jeff,
Deputy Federal Highway Administrator.
[FR Doc. 98-8882 Filed 4-3-98; 8:45 am]
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