Federal regulators are moving into the digital age with a new proposal to officially allow motor carriers and drivers to prepare and keep certain documents electronically.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed rule changes that would allow the use of electronic methods to sign, certify, generate, exchange, and/or maintain many records that today are typically kept on paper.
In large part, the rule would codify agency guidance that has been in effect since January 2011 which allows carriers and drivers to use electronic methods to maintain their inspection reports, logs, and other required documents.
The proposed rule would apply only to those documents that FMCSA regulations require companies or individuals to retain. It would not apply to forms or other documents that must be submitted directly to the agency.
“This proposed rule would establish parity between paper and electronic documents and signatures, and expand businesses’ and individuals’ ability to use electronic methods to comply with FMCSA’s requirements,” the agency wrote.
Under the proposal, companies would still have the flexibility to use paper documents if they so choose. The proposal appeared in the April 28, 2014, Federal Register.
FMCSA is accepting comments on the proposed rule until June 27, 2014. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov, using Docket number FMCSA-2012-0376.