[Federal Register: August 16, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 157)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2005-22097]
Request for Information on New Commercial Vehicle Safety
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of request for information (RFI).
SUMMARY: FMCSA invites comments, suggestions and creative ideas on new
operational concepts that will improve commercial vehicle safety
inspections through more thorough performance-based inspections.
Commercial vehicle roadside safety inspections represent one of the
most effective tools for monitoring and regulating the condition of the
in-use commercial vehicle fleet, as well as for auditing and enforcing
driver and operational-related safety practices, including hours of
service, proper driver credentialing, and other safety aspects of
commercial vehicle equipment and operations. New technologies such as
advanced sensor and on-board diagnostics as well as wireless
communications offer the potential for dramatically improving the
effectiveness and efficiency of the roadside commercial vehicle safety
inspection process. This Request for Information directly supports the
Agency's top priority initiative--Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010,
or CSA-2010--which is a top-to-bottom review of how FMCSA can best
develop and manage programs that are most effective in improving motor
DATES: Send your comments on or before October 17, 2005.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by any of the following
methods. Please identify your comments by the FMCSA Docket Number
- Web site: http://dms.dot.gov. Follow instructions for submitting comments to the Docket.
- Fax: (202) 493-2251.
- Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Management
Facility, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Plaza level, Washington, DC 20590-
- Hand Delivery: Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday
through Friday, except Federal holidays.
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go http://regulations.gov.
Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
Docket: For access to the Docket Management System (DMS) to read
background documents or comments received, go to http://dms.dot.gov at
any time or to the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh
Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through
Friday, except Federal holidays. The DMS is available electronically 24
hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want notification of receipt
of your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope, or
postcard or print the acknowledgement page that appears after
submitting comments on-line.
Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all
comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register on April 11,
2000 (65 FR 19477) or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Loftus, Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration, Office of Research and Technology at (202) 385-
2363 firstname.lastname@example.org. Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
e.s.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
Statistics show there are 8 million trucks and buses that travel
208 billion miles on our nation's highways each year, and commercial
vehicle miles traveled are forecasted to grow approximately 2 percent
annually. In addition, truck traffic will increase approximately 25
percent over the next 10 years. Therefore, the need for developing new
innovative inspection concepts-of-operation that leverage new
technologies, result in more thorough performance-based inspections,
and improve cost effectiveness is a high priority for FMCSA.
Commercial vehicle roadside safety inspections, targeted to higher
risk carriers (as determined by prior roadside inspection and crash
history), and conducted annually by 10,000 roadside safety inspectors,
uncover some type of violation related to the vehicle condition, driver
credentials, or hours of service in well over 80% of all inspections.
In 2004, the approximately 3 million roadside safety inspections
resulted in 1 million out-of-service violations and 7.2 million total
FMCSA is attempting to develop feasible operational concepts for
partially or fully automating the commercial vehicle inspection
process. Greater automation has the potential to improve the quality of
inspections, increase the number of vehicles screened and inspected,
and/or enable faster inspections, resulting in improved effectiveness,
efficiency, and most of all safety
Under the current safety inspection process, vehicle and driver
inspections are delineated by different "levels". The North American
Standard Driver/Vehicle Inspection or "Level 1" inspection involves
all driver documentation and a complete vehicle inspection. The time
taken for a Level 1 inspection is typically about 30-40 minutes, so
improving the speed with which inspections are performed would be a
benefit to carriers in terms of their operational efficiency.
There are 5 additional inspection levels. A Level 2 inspection,
called a "Walkaround Driver/Vehicle Inspection," is the same as a
Level 1, except there is no checking under the vehicle. A Level 3
inspection, called a "Driver Only Inspection," involves only a review
of driver documentation and carrier credentials. A Level 4 inspection,
called a "Special Study," can involve any aspect of the inspection
process and is usually done for data-gathering purposes. A Level 5
inspection, called a "Vehicle Only Inspection," includes only the
vehicle portion of a Level 1 inspection (conducted without a driver
present). Finally, a Level 6 inspection, called "Enhanced Radioactive
Inspection," is the most comprehensive inspection of all due to the
hazardous material in the cargo.
In addition, the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of
Freight Management and Operations oversees state enforcement of heavy
truck and bus size and weight standards in the United States.
Compliance with Federal weight regulations is checked by state DOT
personnel, often in coordination with the various levels of commercial
vehicle inspections performed by state enforcement personnel. In past
years, FHWA has explored the use of various weigh-in-motion (WIM)
technologies to prescreen vehicles for their conformance with maximum
weight restrictions. In this current research effort, FMCSA, with its
focus on conducting safety inspections, is working with FHWA in their
research on use of new technologies for vehicle weight enforcement.
Therefore, leveraging technology for weight enforcement purposes will
be considered in this project in addition to any new safety inspection
concepts developed under it.
This project falls under the DOT Intelligent Transportation Systems
(ITS) Program. Section 5204(j)(2) of the Transportation Equity Act for
the 21st Century, Pub. L. 105-178 (TEA-21), provides that an ITS
project involving surveys, questionnaires, or interviews is exempt from
the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, Chapter 35 of Title 44
of the U.S. Code. TEA-21 Section 5204(j)(2) states: "Any survey,
questionnaire, or interview that the Secretary considers necessary to
carry out the evaluation of any test, deployment project, or program
assessment activity under this subtitle shall not be subject to chapter
35 of title 44." 23 U.S.C.A. 502 Note.
Inspection Process: This research effort involves investigating
ways in which wireless and other advanced its technologies may be
applied to improve aspects of "the inspection process". This phrase
should be interpreted broadly to include: (1) Screening activities
(e.g., screening of driver identification and related safety
information, vehicle identification, credentials, etc.); (2) the
inspection itself (e.g., Level 1 inspection process); and (3) other
related information technology issues that affect both the time spent
on an inspection and the quality of an inspection, (e.g., data
communications; data input from inspectors; lack of data automation;
lack of consolidation of databases/information systems, etc.).
The purpose of this effort is to request information on new
technology concepts that can help improve the efficiency,
effectiveness, and long-term results of performance-based commercial
vehicle safety inspections. Information collected will serve as one of
many inputs into an exploratory research and technology project looking
at various advanced inspection concepts for getting data from the
vehicle to the roadside. The project is not directly related to FMCSA's
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled, "Electronic On-Board
Recorders for Hours-of-Service Compliance," Docket FMCSA-2004-18940,
published in the Federal Register on September 1, 2004 (69 FR 53386).
Questions for Response
1. For the existing safety inspection levels (1-6) referred to
above, current procedures for conducting these are for the most part
"manual", i.e., an inspector manually checks items via visual, hands-
on procedures. What new operational concept(s) might be developed to
more fully automate commercial vehicle screening and inspections to
allow more and better quality inspections to be performed (particularly
on high-risk carriers)? Please describe the new concept(s).
2. Considering both vehicle and driver-related inspection items,
which systems or parameters might lend themselves to being accurately
monitored by on-board sensors? Please comment on all that apply.
3. If some of the items identified in question 2 are NOT currently
available in an electronic format on most vehicles (e.g., DOT number),
how could this information be made available electronically to enable
wireless transmission from the vehicle?
4. In the future, if on-board technology could be used to monitor
vehicle and driver status and electronically maintain driver history,
and if these data are wirelessly transmitted to the inspection site,
(screening) vehicles for further (manual) inspection (1 being most
important and 12 being the least important):
--Vehicle Inspection History
--Other (please specify)
5. The items identified in the response to questions 2 through 4
might be used to define a "safety data message set" that could be
transmitted via wireless communication to the roadside for the purposes
of automated screening and/or inspection of commercial vehicles. Please
comment on the feasibility of implementing a new screening and/or
inspection system that utilizes such a safety data message set. What
key issues (technical, economic, institutional, operational, etc.)
would need to be addressed to develop and implement such an inspection
6. If on-board technology, as described above, were implemented for
screening commercial vehicles, how should the information be presented
to inspectors? (select one)
(a) A simple fault/no-fault for each system based on predetermined
"rules" or algorithms that define "fault" using system-specific
performance measures. For example, a listing of those systems or items
for which a "failure" was detected would be transmitted to the
(b) A "snapshot" of recently recorded performance or operational
values being measured for each system (e.g., data stored within the
last 30 minutes of operation). The exact format and methodology for
recording the "snapshot" data would again be developed as an industry
standard much like standardized emissions data.
(c) Actual real-time feeds of parameters being measured by the on-
board diagnostic equipment, (e.g., "live" feed of tire pressures,
brake condition sensing, etc.).
7. When/how should this information be available to the inspection
site? (select one).
(a) Well before the inspection station (perhaps 2 miles) so that a
decision to inspect/not inspect can be made and a return signal sent
within sufficient time to allow the truck to enter or bypass the
(b) Upon entering the exit ramp for inspection, but before scales/
scale house at about the same point where WIM equipment is often
(c) In front of scale house to allow visual inspection.
(d) Anytime/anywhere while vehicle is on the highway upon request
from any computer terminal (including mobile).
8. If the on-board sensors report all vehicle systems are
functioning properly, what other conditions/information would be needed
in order for the commercial vehicle to be permitted to bypass the
inspection station, even if it were randomly sampled for inspection?
(a) None. If all sensors report no fault, the truck may bypass the
(b) Would still need/want USDOT registration number to check
(c) Would still need/want CDL or other license information to check
(d) For trucks randomly sampled for inspection, no matter what
information about the carrier, driver or truck was transmitted, the
truck would still need to pass in front of inspectors at slow speed to
allow for quick visual inspection.
9. Please rank the following concerns/challenges with implementing
an "automated" wireless type of safety inspection concept, with 1
being the greatest concern and 5 being the least concern.
(a) --Privacy concerns
(b) --Electronic falsification of data
(c) --Accuracy of measured data
(d) --Operator resistance to implementation
(e) --Added operational and maintenance requirements
(f) --Other (please specify)
10. Regarding driver HOS violations, what would be sufficient to
transmit to the inspection station? (select one)
(a) A simple "in-violation" versus "no-violation" signal.
(b) Information that indicates if an operator is approaching a
(c) The actual HOS for each rule (e.g., 60-hr., 70 hr., etc.).
(d) The complete logbook regardless of status of violation.
11. Regarding the options described below, which would you deem
more helpful for improving the overall screening, inspection process,
and safety of commercial vehicles and why? (select one)
Option 1: Utilize on-board vehicle sensors to monitor brake wear,
tire pressure, and other critical parameters. Also, electronically
identify the driver CDL information using smart cards/readers and
electronically coded U.S. DOT and license numbers. Combine all
electronic information (vehicle health, CDL, and carrier identifier
data) to form a "safety data message set" that could be wirelessly
transmitted from the vehicle to a fixed or mobile roadside inspection
station, or other locations as needed. This data could be used to
eliminate portions of a manually-performed vehicle inspection, reduce
the amount of time spent inspecting each truck, improve effectiveness,
and assist in identifying which trucks to inspect. Information could be
sent to carriers as well to provide vehicle diagnostic and driver data
for fleet safety management purposes. In the future, when sufficient
accuracy and system security (anti-tampering) can be assured, a new
automated inspection level could be defined, i.e., "Level 7," where
citations would be given to the drivers and automatically sent to
Option 2: Implement a screening procedure whereby vehicle, carrier,
and driver identifier-only information (i.e., no ``real-time'' vehicle
health or driver status data) could be downloaded wirelessly from each
vehicle well in advance of the weigh/inspection station. The
information could then be used to query databases containing driver
history and credentialing data, past vehicle inspection history, and
carrier-safety-rating data. Vehicle weight would be monitored using in-
road (WIM) equipment and correlated with the identifier information
Option 3: Similar to Option 2, except carrier and vehicle
identifier data are obtained from roadside equipment only (no
transponder on vehicle) using high-accuracy video that reads DOT and
license numbers. Vehicle weight would be monitored using in-road (WIM)
equipment and correlated with the identifier data.
Option 4: Maintain the same procedures currently used, but increase
the number of trucks inspected through use of additional manpower and
--Option 1 -- Option 2 -- Option 3 -- Option 4
12. What technology for wirelessly transmitting data from the
vehicle to the roadside inspection site should be favored and why?
--Any and all of the above
13. As noted earlier, on average, a heavy duty commercial vehicle
(tractor-trailer) is likely to receive an inspection approximately once
per year with trucks from higher risk carriers often inspected more
frequently. How frequently would inspections need to occur before
carriers and operators (particularly high-risk carriers) would begin to
significantly modify their behavior relative to vehicle maintenance and
driver compliance? Once a month? Once a week? Other? If a subset of
inspection information could be electronically screened at all
inspection sites (i.e., brake, tire, and lighting system diagnostic
data; electronic hours-of-service record; CDL information; and carrier
and vehicle identification data), how would this impact carrier and
14. If such a program were implemented on a national scale
(together with high-speed WIM technology), it could reduce the amount
of time vehicles spend at roadside inspection facilities. Depending on
the cost of implementing such technology from the motor carrier's
perspective, the increase in efficiency may well be cost beneficial.
However, it has been argued that such new technology systems are often
adopted by "good carriers" and, as such, they do little to improve
the safety of poorer performing carriers. Please comment on possible
strategies and approaches for implementing a nationwide wireless
vehicle inspection program that would encourage broad-based
participation from a significant percentage of motor carriers. Could a
voluntary program with incentives be successful (identify and explain
potential incentives)? Should a phased-in regulatory approach be
15. Please provide any other comments on the safety benefits,
technical barriers, institutional challenges and/or costs of
implementation associated with a wireless, automated safety inspection
Issued on: August 5, 2005.
Annette M. Sandberg,
[FR Doc. 05-16163 Filed 8-15-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P