This pickup truck and trailer crashed into a group of 15 motorcycles. The truck driver had a...

This pickup truck and trailer crashed into a group of 15 motorcycles. The truck driver had a commercial license that should already have been suspended.

Photo: New Hampshire State Police

A final rule published on July 23 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revises existing regulations to require that states implement a system and practices for the “exclusively electronic exchange” of driver history record information through the federal Commercial Driver's License Information System.

This driver record information covered by the rule includes the posting of CDL convictions, withdrawals, and disqualifications.

The rule comes in the wake of a recent investigation by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General of how FMCSA handles oversight of CDL disqualifications by the states. In its July 14 report, the IG’s office outlined a number of problems its audit uncovered and made recommendations to strengthen federal oversight.

An example of the IG’s findings addressed by the new rule: “Incomplete state logs of mailed conviction notifications limit FMCSA’s oversight, and states are duplicating conviction notifications. States also did not always timely transmit or post paper-based conviction notifications sent by mail.”

In its notice of the rule posted in the Federal Register, FMCSA stated its purpose is to align federal regulations with existing statutory requirements that were set forth in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21, highway bill passed in 2012. “States must achieve substantial compliance with this requirement as soon as practicable, but not later than three years after the effective date of the final rule.”

The agency defined “substantial compliance” as a state meeting this requirement “by means of the demonstrable combined effect of its statutes, regulations, administrative procedures and practices, organizational structures, internal control mechanisms, resource assignments (facilities, equipment, and personnel), and enforcement practices.”

This final rule is effective Aug. 23, 2021.