Will 1,000 Comments Against Electronic IDs Change FMCSAs Rulemaking Consideration?

Will 1,000 Comments Against Electronic IDs Change FMCSAs Rulemaking Consideration?

FMCSA is considering a rulemaking to require all commercial motor vehicle (CMVs) operating in interstate commerce to have an electronic ID system capable of wirelessly communicating a unique ID number when queried by a Federal or State motor carrier safety enforcement personnel.

The goal of this electronic ID would be “to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the roadside inspection program by more fully enabling enforcement agencies to focus their efforts at high-risk carriers and drivers.” In other words, this effort would help Level 8 inspections become capable in catching unsafe or non-compliant carriers.

A Level 8 inspection is simply a “credential check” conducted electronically or wirelessly while the vehicle is in motion. If implemented, carriers could be caught for not having their Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) or other required licenses and permits current without direct interaction with an enforcement officer.

According to the government, an electronic screening provides value to responsible carriers because of the time and money saved in avoiding stops at weigh stations. Electronic screening provides benefits to participating agencies too, as they can focus resources on high-risk carriers.

According to CVSA, the next step in the electronic inspection implementation process for member jurisdictions will be the development of the IT infrastructure to capture the information required for a Level VIII Electronic Inspection. The challenge is that each vehicle will need the technology to send the information, and then the state will need a way to receive it securely.

So, this advanced notice of proposed rulemaking was expected. There are over 30 questions FMCSA hopes to be answered during the comment period, which ends November 22, 2022.

So, what are people saying?

We are already electronically tracked

I believe this is a repetitive action. there are 5 electronic identifications installed on my truck now, pre-pass, elitepass, nor-pass, e-log, Qualitex, not to mention various tracking devices. I have license plates in clear view as well as company identifiers clearly visible on both sides of the unit. That being said, If DOT would like to follow Oregon and provide me with an electronic device at no cost to me also remove company Identifiers on the side of the truck (Provide the electronic unit at no cost and remove the need for identifiers), I feel, this would be a good exchange. However, if DOT would require me to purchase yet another device to install on my vehicle’s so they could do the something as pre-pass, Nor-pass, e-log or Quailtex I can’t help but think this has nothing to do with safety but is only another way for the government to get more of my hard-earned money. This would also need to transcend from state to state. I don’t believe this could be done. They can’t agree on IFTA, or URC. – Woods Trucking LLC

Another government money-grab

This is just another way for DOT to write tickets too drivers and companies without repose. It’s not for the purpose to make highways safer. It’s to make the trucking industry pay. – Donnie Gibbons

Cyber-security is an issue

This rule is an over reach, much like the ELD mandate was. You’re trying to run small business owners out of business! By adding more expenses and potential downtime. Not to mention that you’ll open the transportation industry to cyber-attack. The fact that you would rather regulate the trucking industry into oblivion and kill jobs more and more. Just stop with you’re over thinking, the push for more regulations less is more. Especially since we are in a recession. – Duel Mord

What is too far?

Another ridiculous overreach regulations by Fmcsa. What is next , injecting Commercial Drivers with micro chip to see if they sleep on their off duty hours. What do they eat, drink. I mean where do you guys stop. Being a Commercial driver feels like a curse now with all the rules and regulations in place already. – Harry Singh

How about focus on financial transparency?

I’ve been driving truck for more than 30 years and have witnessed the electronic revolution in the trucking industry first hand. Electronics have greatly contributed to efficiency improvements in our business. At the same time, whenever we owner operators have complained about poor financial transparency when dealing with brokers as a way of making a good living wage, Our complaints have largely fallen on deaf ears from governmental authorities. I know of no other business where labor costs are largely treated as a commodity subject to daily market pressures. Rather than pursuing this proposal in the name of safety, we should be working toward financial transparency. And the solution is much simpler than some might consider. Every document related to a freight shipment should include the dollar cost that was paid by the shipper to move the freight. This would include, among other documents, the Bill of lading as well as any rate confirmations associated with a particular load. Steep penalties for violating this law and market pressures would give us drivers and owner operators the ability to level the financial playing field. As it is now, The government seems more interested in cracking down on enforcement and allowing brokers the upper hand. – Ron Dobbs

Unfair targeting of carriers

The FMCSA already requires trucking company safety departments to do their job for them. This identification number only has very bad future practicality. It will allow law enforcement to target drivers with clean CSA scores and make certain that no driver can remain clean over time. There is already more technology in the trucking industry than is necessary, and unnecessary technology will be, and is, abused.” — Neil Padgett

EID’s on trucks is just one more step in tyranny and loss of freedom, guilty until proven innocent is the element surrounding this tactic. For example, a new carrier without a satisfactory rating would be targeted more, resulting in considerable lost time in being pulled over. The more honest and productive program would be to have all trucks inspected by a federal/state inspector once a year and have it documented/reported similar to physical exam for the cdl, and leave trucks alone while they are working unless something is visible that is a safety concern. And yes a lot of wasted government tax dollars could be redirected to build facilities in each state and hire personnel to operate them at least 24 hrs a day 6 days a week. This would impact all trucks equally and stop this nonsense on the road, that sometimes discriminates and cause some drivers to miss loads and schedules and sometimes be stuck somewhere for a weekend because the time of forced inspection results in the driver not making the quitting time to get loaded on a Friday with a load to go home on. I have experienced this and most inspectors don’t care about how it might affect the driver. This same scenario would be even more prevalent if dot officers had this technology and freedom to target trucks on the road. The trucking industry is already way over regulated and it has not always produced increased safety or productivity. All personnel in FMCSA and other agencies that make and enforce truck regulations should have to own, operate and live off of a truck for 5 years before being eligible to work in a regulatory capacity. Instead of more restrictions on trucks how about making broker transactions a mandatory transparency so trucks have an opportunity to receive adequate rates to work with. No ID/EID, NO SPEEDLIMITERS, No more needless restrictions, not to mention dot personnel doing more electronic surveillance while driving on public roads, that have laws against texting and most hands on mobile phone operation while driving, due to safety concerns. – Tim Moore

Support: It could improve safety

I support this proposed rule. At my carrier, UPS, we are already equipped with GPS technology and tracked every hour of every day. Adding this technology as a requirement would not be difficult or expensive to do. Even though my company has a decent safety record, we all have stories of tractors and trailers that the Company refuses to fix or gets passed along always breaking down. This technology would allow inspectors to identify specific equipment that has failed inspection instead of relying on the USDOT number to wave us through. I can only see a benefit for the driver and the public as far as enhancing safety. – Robert Johnston

No matter if the comments delay the potential electron ID rulemaking process, it does seem like the future is moving in this direction. With vehicle automation coming and technologies improving, the focus will change to electronic credentials. It is just a matter of time and cost.

Go voice your opinion and help the government understand the burdens this rule could have by clearly answering the 30 questions they are asking  (see the list of questions here).

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