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Fritz Bjorklund
PO Box 157
Kulpmont PA 17838
bjork@ptd.net

08 March 2001

Federal Highway Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
400 Seventh Street NW
Washington DC 20590

Ref: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Regulations 381.410 - What may I do if I have an idea or suggestion for a pilot program?

Gentlemen:

This is a proposal for a pilot program that affects vehicle drivers who are regulated by FMCSR 395.1 - Hours of Service of Drivers. In particular, section 395.8 - Driver’s record of duty status, paragraph: (f)(2) Entries Made by Driver Only. All entries relating to driver's duty status must be legible and in the driver's own handwriting.

My name and address:
Fritz Roland Bjorklund
Software Developer
PO Box 157 - 1517 Virginia Lane
Kulpmont PA 17834

email: bjork@ptd.net

The individuals covered by the pilot program are all the vehicle drivers who have access to portable or desktop computers and use software to assist in preparation of FMCSR 395.8 - Driver’s record of duty status i.e. the Driver’s Daily Log. These users enter duty status records into the computer using the keyboard and mouse. These entries are not ‘entries in the driver’s own handwriting’. That is the problem that this proposed pilot program hopes to solve. A regulatory modification that allows users of software to be exempt from the ‘hand writing’ provision is proposed.

It is estimated the up to 50% of the households in the USA have access to personal computers. If this percent is applied to the drivers affected by FMCSR 395.8 (3 to 5 million drivers) then the number of possible participants interested in this proposed pilot program (estimated 1 to 3 million) is significant and will continue to grow in numbers.

Further, users of software assisted logs would like to print logs using their computers and printers. The printed logs would be hand signed by the drivers. The logs could then be submitted to the carrier and made available to DOT inspectors as necessary.

I have developed a driver’s log keeping program which I distribute at no charge via the internet. It has been available since May 1998, and I estimate that currently 45000+ drivers, auditors, DOT inspectors, and smaller carriers are using the software - Driver’s Daily Log(DDL). I have included in software help system a discussion of the regulations and the implications of the referenced section so that drivers are aware of the current limitations regarding the use of computer assisted logs.

The internet URL reference is http://www.driversdailylog.com or http://home.ptd.net/~bjork. The specific web page regarding DDL and the FMCSR regulations is http://home.ptd.net/~bjork/legal.htm. DDL is compared to FMCSR 395.15 - Automatic on-board recording devices. For convenience the discussion is attached to this letter. The DDL software is also available for download at no charge. Requires Windows 95/98/NT/2000.

One of the major advantages of using software to assist in the preparation of driver’s logs is the immediate calculation of hours of service and the violation status of the driver with regards to the rules in FMCSR 395 - Hours of Service of Drivers. In the USA the driver is generally governed by the 10hr, 15hr, and the 60hr/7day or the 70hr/8day rule with exceptions listed in FMCSR 395. DDL further implements Canadian rules and intrastate rules for CA, AK, WA, TX, and FL.

DDL is not the only software available for assisting drivers in the preparation of their logs. Software has been used by carriers for years to audit logs submitted by their drivers. Now with the proliferation of personal computers, drivers have started using computers in their trucks for various ‘productivity’ functions like trip planning, revenue and expense record keeping, email, manifests, etc. It is only logical that drivers also start using readily available software for the preparation of the important and mandatory record of duty status - the driver’s daily logs.

Though not specific in the proposal presented in this letter, the following information is presented for consideration. Congress passed a law in 2000 making ‘digital signatures’ legally binding, the same as ‘hand written signatures’, for contracts and any other documents requiring signatures. Businesses have been using digital signatures for years in their business to business electronic transactions. Digital signatures are essentially encryption techniques which ensures the integrity of the digital data being transmitted and the identity of the sender of the digital data. It is actually more reliable than hand written signatures. Users of internet email currently have the option of ‘signing’ their email using a ‘digital signature’. The U.S. military services have started using ‘digital signatures’ in their electronic messaging systems.

As a further future step regarding driver’s daily logs. It is proposed that eventually paper logs be mostly eliminated and replaced by logs in digital form. A driver will prepare his logs on a computer (perhaps automatically per 395.15), the driver will ‘digitally’ sign the logs, and then transmit them directly to the carrier; knowing that the integrity of the data and the identity of the driver is secure. There are already on-board systems available that comply with FMCSR 395.15 - Automated on-board recording devices, but it is proposed to extend the advantages of ‘digital’ logs to drivers who use software and computers not directly connected to any truck system, but want the other advantages of computer assisted log preparation and transmission of those logs to their respective carriers.

Sincerely,

 

Fritz Roland Bjorklund

Enclosures:

Is DDL Legal? discussion
Sample DDL printed log sheet

 

 

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Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to  "Fritz" at  frbjorklund@driversdailylog.com
or "Bruce" at bruce@driversdailylog.com

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Copyright 1998-2011 Drivers Daily Log - Fritz Roland Bjorklund & Bruce A. Luebke.  All rights reserved.
Last modified: Wednesday April 13, 2011.