A new regulation from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding the use of electronic signatures recently went into effect on June 15, 2018. There has been a lot of confusion regarding the new final rule and its possible implications on DOT’s 49 CFR Part 40. In actuality, drug and alcohol consent does not fall under the rule and these documents will still require written signatures going forward.
What exactly is the new final rule?
The new final rule allows the use of electronic records and signatures to meet FMCSA regulatory requirements. More specifically, it allows carriers and drivers to generate, certify, sign, maintain and exchange records provided that the information is accurate and used for its intended purpose. This only applies to records carriers and drivers are required by FMCSA to retain as well as any documents FMCSA already accepts directly via electronic submission. The use of electronic signatures is optional.
The exception to the rule
There is one important exception to the new regulation: the DOT Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) still does not permit the use of electronic signatures on items related to DOT drug and alcohol testing regulations and requirements. Clarification can be found on https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2018-07749/p-102 page 16215 of the final ruling.
The difference between written and electronic signatures
An electronic signature, as defined by FMCSA, is “a method of signing an electronic communication that identifies and authenticates a particular person as the source of the electronic communication and indicates such person’s approval of the information contained in the electronic communication.” Written signatures are considered to be wet or electronic captures of a driver’s written signature using a pen, mouse or finger.
At DriverFacts, we’ve updated our system to allow for the release of FMCSA accident data with an electronic signature. We will, however, continue to require written signatures before releasing DOT 49 Part 40 drug and alcohol information.
Need more information?
A copy of the electronic signature final rule can be found on the Office of the Federal Register’s website here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2014/04/28/2014-09376/electronic-documents-and-signatures.
If you have any questions about the ruling or would like to receive more information about what we do here at DriverFacts, visit www.driverfacts.com, call 888-844-4730 or send an email to mpatterson (at symbol) driverfacts.com.