August 29, 2018: Federal Register (full link below)
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a final rule effective August 29, 2018 as part of FRA’s broader initiative to reduce the paperwork burden of its regulations while still supporting compliance with the Federal hours of service laws and regulations. Current regulations require employees covered by those laws or regulations (covered service employees) to create and retain hours of service records by hand (a paper system) or “certify” the record using a compliant computerized system (an electronic system) with program logic. Cognizant of the burden placed on small operations, FRA provides a simplified method of computerized recordkeeping (an automated system)—in which employees apply their electronic signatures to automated records stored in a railroad computer system without the complexity and functionality of an electronic system—for eligible smaller railroads (and contractors and subcontractors providing covered service employees to such railroads). This rule does not require the use of automated recordkeeping, but, when implemented by the small operations for which it is tailored, it will decrease the burden hours spent on hours of service recordkeeping.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Patrick J. Hogan, Transportation Specialist, Office of Railroad Safety, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, W33-448, Washington, DC 20590; telephone: 202-493-0277; email: Patrick.Hogan@dot.gov;
Some small railroads already use an automated system for covered service employees to enter required HS data, which the employees then print and sign as a paper HS record. This rule allows a railroad with less than 400,000 employee-hours annually (an “eligible smaller railroad”), and contractors and subcontractors that provide covered service employees to that railroad, to have employees electronically sign the automated records of their hours of duty and to store the records in the railroad’s computer system. Thus, this rule eliminates the requirement to print and sign the record.
Aimee Andres, AMPE