The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has revised its guidance regarding hours of service logging software programs on laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones, to allow for digital driver signatures.

These computers, tablets, and smartphones that are being used with such software do not meet FMCSA's requirements for automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs), which must be internally synchronized to the vehicle's engine. (This is not the same thing as the new electronic logging devices mandate, for which a final rule has not yet been issued.)

Although FMCSA already allowed drivers to use this type of logging software, the previous (January 2011) regulatory guidance required drivers to print and sign the record of duty status that these devices generated.

The 2011 guidance was intended to allow expansion of electronic signatures pending a formal rulemaking. FMCSA proposed such a rule in April and the comment period ended in late June.

The new guidance requires the driver to sign the record of duty status electronically at the end of each work day and be able to display the electronic record at the roadside.

Drivers will be required to have the prior seven days of electronically signed logs available to be viewed on the device’s screen during an inspection. Law enforcement can request printed copies or the logs, and the driver must be given an opportunity to print the current and prior seven days.

The guidance is effective July 10. You can read it in the Federal Register at