Got something to say about federal record keeping requirements? You have until Nov. 6 to speak your mind on three key areas where paperwork can load you down: inspection, repair and maintenance; driver qualification; and controlled substance and alcohol testing.

Federal law requires government agencies to periodically submit information gathering activities to the Office of Management and Budget for review and approval. As part of that process, the agency must invite public comment. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has just done this on its collection activities related to the areas above. While comments on any aspect of a collection activity are welcome, FMCSA is interested in four general questions:
- Is the information collection necessary and useful for it to satisfy its overall goal, which is to reduce truck crashes?
- How much time does it take a carrier and/or driver to comply?
- Are there ways to improve the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information?
- Can the collection burden be minimized without reducing information quality?
If you need to brush up on the rules before commenting, record keeping requirements related to vehicle inspections, repairs and maintenance are found in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations part 396, available in the Regulations section of FMCSA's web site ( In general, carriers must maintain a record for each vehicle including vehicle identification, a means of indicating inspection and maintenance due dates, and records of inspections, repairs and maintenance.
Part 391.51 details requirements of driver qualification files. For each driver, a carrier must maintain a file including the driver's application for employment, a written record of the background check (past employers, licensing agencies), a certificate of road test when required, records of annual driving record reviews, and the medical examiner's certificate of physical qualification.
Part 382.401 has a lengthy list of required records for drug and alcohol testing, including records of positive drug tests going back five years, records of alcohol tests over 0.02 BAC going back five years, records relating to the collection process such as logbooks, documentation of driver and supervisor training, queries to previous employers, records of pre-employment drug tests and/or driver participation in another program, and records showing a driver who has failed a drug or alcohol test has successfully completed all return-to-duty requirements. Carriers selected at random by FMCSA must file an annual summary of testing activities and results, which the agency uses to adjust test rates.
Comments are due by Nov. 6 and can be submitted electronically at Refer to Docket No. FMCSA-2000-7827.