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Driver Qualifications; Regulatory Guidance Concerning the Use of Computerized Employer Notification Systems for the Annual Inquiry and Review of Driving Records

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Driver Qualifications; Regulatory Guidance Concerning the Use of Computerized Employer Notification Systems for the Annual Inquiry and Review of Driving Records

T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
March 12, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 48 (Thursday, March 12, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13069-13070]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-05645]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration


Driver Qualifications; Regulatory Guidance Concerning the Use of 
Computerized Employer Notification Systems for the Annual Inquiry and 
Review of Driving Records

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

ACTION: Notice of regulatory guidance.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA provides regulatory guidance concerning the use of 
State-operated employer notification systems (ENS) for the annual 
inquiry and review of driving records required by 49 CFR 391.25. The 
guidance explains the use of State-operated ENS that provide motor 
carriers with a department of motor vehicle report for every State in 
which the driver held either an operator's license, a commercial 
driver's license (CDL), or permit when a driver is enrolled in the 
system. Many State driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) provide ENS that 
either automatically update requestors (push-system) on license status, 
crashes and convictions of laws or regulations governing the operation 
of motor vehicles or allow the requestor to regularly query the record 
(pull-system) for this information. The use of these systems to check 
the driving record, at least annually, satisfies the requirement for an 
annual review of each driver's record. This includes when a third-party 
is used to accumulate the records for a motor carrier. This revises the 
Agency guidance issued in 2003 that referenced to a specific third-
party vendor.

DATES: This guidance is effective March 12, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Thomas L. Yager, Chief, Driver and 
Carrier Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and 
Operations, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590, Telephone 
202-366-4325, Email: MCPSD@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Legal Basis

    The Secretary of Transportation has statutory authority to set 
minimum standards for commercial motor vehicle safety. These minimum 
standards must ensure that: (1) CMVs are maintained, equipped, loaded, 
and operated safely; (2) the responsibilities imposed on operators of 
CMVs do not impair their ability to operate the vehicles safely; (3) 
the physical condition of CMV operators is adequate to enable them to 
operate the vehicles safely; (4) the operation of CMVs does not have a 
deleterious effect on the physical condition of the operators; and (5) 
an operator of a commercial motor vehicle is not coerced by a motor 
carrier, shipper, receiver, or transportation intermediary to operate a 
commercial motor vehicle in violation of a regulation (49 U.S.C. 
31136(a)(1)-(5), as amended). The Secretary also has broad power in 
carrying out motor carrier safety statutes and regulations to 
``prescribe recordkeeping and reporting requirements'' and to ``perform 
other acts the Secretary considers appropriate'' (49 U.S.C. 31133(a)(8) 
and (10)).
    The Administrator of FMCSA has been delegated authority under 49 
CFR 1.87(f) to carry out the functions vested in the Secretary of 
Transportation by 49 U.S.C. chapter 311, subchapters I, III and IV, 
relating to commercial motor vehicle programs and safety regulation.

Background

    On January 13, 2003, FMCSA issued a letter to a company providing 
regulatory guidance concerning the use of computerized employer 
notification systems for the annual inquiry and review of driving 
records required by 49 CFR 391.25. The guidance explained that the use 
of a specific third-party computerized ENS that provides motor carriers 
with a department of motor vehicle report for every State in which the 
driver held either an operator's license, a CDL, or permit when a 
driver is enrolled in the system, and provides an update anytime the 
State licensing agency enters new information about license status, 
crashes and convictions of laws or regulations governing the operation 
of motor vehicles satisfies the requirement for an annual review of 
each driver's record. However, the guidance referenced a specific 
vendor providing such services to the motor carrier industry.
    The regulatory guidance issued to the specific company was 
subsequently posted to FMCSA's Web site as question #4 to 49 CFR 391.25 
(See http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/391.25?guidance). The 2003 guidance reads as follows:
    Question 4: Does the use of a third-party computerized system that 
provides motor carriers with a complete department of motor vehicle 
report for every State in which the driver held a commercial motor 
vehicle operator's license or permit when a driver is enrolled in the 
system, and then automatically provides an update anytime the State 
licensing agency enters new information on the driving record, satisfy 
the requirements of Sec.  391.25?
    Guidance: Yes. Since motor carriers would be provided with a 
complete department of motor vehicle report for every State in which 
the driver held a commercial motor vehicle operator's license or permit 
when a driver is enrolled in the system, and then provided with an 
update any time the State licensing agency enters new information on 
the driving record, the requirements of Sec.  391.25(a) would be 
satisfied. When the motor carrier manager reviews the information on 
the driving record, and the License Monitor system records the identity 
of the manager who conducted the review, the requirements of Sec.  
391.25(b) and (c) would be satisfied.
    With regard to the requirement that the response from each State 
agency, and a note identifying the person who performed the review, may 
be maintained in the driver's qualification files, motor carriers may 
satisfy the record keeping requirement by using computerized records in 
accordance with 49 CFR 390.31. Section [390.31] allows all records that 
do not require signatures to be maintained through the use of computer 
technology provided the motor carrier can produce, upon demand, a 
computer printout of the required data. Therefore, motor carriers using 
an automated computer system would not be required to maintain paper 
copies of the driving records, or a note identifying the person who 
performed the review, in each individual driver qualification file 
provided a computer printout can be produced upon demand of a Federal 
or State enforcement official.

[[Page 13070]]

    Because the guidance made reference to one vendor, License Monitor, 
it was not considered helpful by some in the industry for motor 
carriers using systems other than the one operated by License Monitor. 
The American Trucking Associations raised the issue with FMCSA and the 
Agency agrees that the guidance should be revised to provide generic 
guidance rather than vendor-specific guidance. In addition, since 2003, 
several SDLAs have implemented ENS systems that provide the driver 
record information to employers.

FMCSA's Decision

    In consideration of the above, FMCSA has determined that the 
current regulatory guidance should be revised to make clear that any 
State-operated ENS may be used to satisfy the requirements of 49 CFR 
391.25, even if the information is accumulated by a third party. The 
FMCSA revises Question 4 to 49 CFR 391.25 to read as follows:

Qualification of Drivers, Annual Inquiry and Review of Driving Record; 
Regulatory Guidance for 49 CFR 391.25

    Question 4: Does the use of an employer notification system that 
provides motor carriers with a department of motor vehicle report for 
every State in which the driver held either an operator's license, a 
commercial driver's license (CDL), or permit when a driver is enrolled 
in the system and provides information about license status, crashes 
and convictions of laws or regulations governing the operation of motor 
vehicles on the driving record satisfy the requirement for an annual 
review of each driver's record?
    Guidance: Yes. Since motor carriers would be provided with a 
department of motor vehicle report for every State in which the driver 
held a commercial motor vehicle operator's license or permit when a 
driver is enrolled in the system and the State licensing agency 
includes information about crashes and convictions of laws or 
regulations governing the operation of motor vehicles on the driving 
record, the requirements of Sec.  391.25(a) would be satisfied. 
Generally, the requirements of Sec.  391.25(b) and (c) would be 
satisfied if the employer notification system records the identity of 
the motor carrier's representative who conducted the review when the 
carrier's representative reviews the information on the driving record.
    The use of an employer notification system would meet the 
requirements if either the motor carrier automatically receives updates 
from the State (push-system) or can regularly access the system to 
check for updates (pull-system), as long as the check occurs at least 
once per year. In addition, receipt of these reports meets the 
requirement for the annual check even if it is provided to the motor 
carrier by a third-party.
    With regard to the requirement that the response from each State 
agency, and a note identifying the person who performed the review, may 
be maintained in the driver's qualification files, motor carriers may 
satisfy the recordkeeping requirement by using computerized records in 
accordance with FMCSA's Regulatory Guidance Concerning Electronic 
Documents and Signatures, 75 FR 411, January 4, 2011. Therefore, motor 
carriers using an automated employer notification computer system would 
not be required to maintain paper copies of the driving records, or a 
note identifying the person who performed the review, in each 
individual driver qualification file provided documentation consistent 
with FMCSA's January 4, 2011, guidance can be produced upon demand of a 
Federal or State enforcement official.

    Issued on: March 2, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-05645 Filed 3-11-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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