Request for Information on New Commercial Vehicle Safety Inspection Concepts, 48229-48231 [05-16163]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 157 / Tuesday, August 16, 2005 / Notices including whether the information will have practical utility, the accuracy of the Department’s estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Issued in Washington, DC, on August 9, 2005. Judith D. Street, FAA Information Collection Clearance Officer, Information Systems and Technology Services Staff, ABA–20. [FR Doc. 05–16156 Filed 8–15–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–M DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2005–22097] Request for Information on New Commercial Vehicle Safety Inspection Concepts Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. AGENCY: Notice of request for information (RFI). ACTION: SUMMARY: FMCSA invites comments, suggestions and creative ideas on new operational concepts that will improve commercial vehicle safety inspections through more thorough performancebased inspections. Commercial vehicle roadside safety inspections represent one of the most effective tools for monitoring and regulating the condition of the in-use commercial vehicle fleet, as well as for auditing and enforcing driver and operational-related safety practices, including hours of service, proper driver credentialing, and other safety aspects of commercial vehicle equipment and operations. New technologies such as advanced sensor and on-board diagnostics as well as wireless communications offer the potential for dramatically improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the roadside commercial vehicle safety inspection process. This Request for Information directly supports the Agency’s top priority initiative— Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, or CSA–2010—which is a top-to-bottom review of how FMCSA can best develop and manage programs that are most effective in improving motor carrier safety. VerDate jul<14>2003 18:02 Aug 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 Send your comments on or before October 17, 2005. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by any of the following methods. Please identify your comments by the FMCSA Docket Number FMCSA– 2005–22097. • Web site: http://dms.dot.gov. Follow instructions for submitting comments to the Docket. • Fax: (202) 493–2251. • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Management Facility, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Plaza level, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery: Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go http://regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Docket: For access to the Docket Management System (DMS) to read background documents or comments received, go to http://dms.dot.gov at any time or to the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The DMS is available electronically 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want notification of receipt of your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope, or postcard or print the acknowledgement page that appears after submitting comments on-line. Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477) or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Loftus, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Office of Research and Technology at (202) 385–2363 jeff.loftus@fmcsa.dot.gov. Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. e.s.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: Background Statistics show there are 8 million trucks and buses that travel 208 billion miles on our nation’s highways each year, and commercial vehicle miles traveled are forecasted to grow approximately 2 percent annually. In addition, truck traffic will increase PO 00000 Frm 00131 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 48229 approximately 25 percent over the next 10 years. Therefore, the need for developing new innovative inspection concepts-of-operation that leverage new technologies, result in more thorough performance-based inspections, and improve cost effectiveness is a high priority for FMCSA. Commercial vehicle roadside safety inspections, targeted to higher risk carriers (as determined by prior roadside inspection and crash history), and conducted annually by 10,000 roadside safety inspectors, uncover some type of violation related to the vehicle condition, driver credentials, or hours of service in well over 80% of all inspections. In 2004, the approximately 3 million roadside safety inspections resulted in 1 million out-of-service violations and 7.2 million total violations. FMCSA is attempting to develop feasible operational concepts for partially or fully automating the commercial vehicle inspection process. Greater automation has the potential to improve the quality of inspections, increase the number of vehicles screened and inspected, and/or enable faster inspections, resulting in improved effectiveness, efficiency, and most of all safety Under the current safety inspection process, vehicle and driver inspections are delineated by different ‘‘levels’’. The North American Standard Driver/ Vehicle Inspection or ‘‘Level 1’’ inspection involves all driver documentation and a complete vehicle inspection. The time taken for a Level 1 inspection is typically about 30–40 minutes, so improving the speed with which inspections are performed would be a benefit to carriers in terms of their operational efficiency. There are 5 additional inspection levels. A Level 2 inspection, called a ‘‘Walkaround Driver/Vehicle Inspection,’’ is the same as a Level 1, except there is no checking under the vehicle. A Level 3 inspection, called a ‘‘Driver Only Inspection,’’ involves only a review of driver documentation and carrier credentials. A Level 4 inspection, called a ‘‘Special Study,’’ can involve any aspect of the inspection process and is usually done for data-gathering purposes. A Level 5 inspection, called a ‘‘Vehicle Only Inspection,’’ includes only the vehicle portion of a Level 1 inspection (conducted without a driver present). Finally, a Level 6 inspection, called ‘‘Enhanced Radioactive Inspection,’’ is the most comprehensive inspection of all due to the hazardous material in the cargo. In addition, the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Office of E:\FR\FM\16AUN1.SGM 16AUN1 48230 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 157 / Tuesday, August 16, 2005 / Notices Freight Management and Operations oversees state enforcement of heavy truck and bus size and weight standards in the United States. Compliance with Federal weight regulations is checked by state DOT personnel, often in coordination with the various levels of commercial vehicle inspections performed by state enforcement personnel. In past years, FHWA has explored the use of various weigh-inmotion (WIM) technologies to prescreen vehicles for their conformance with maximum weight restrictions. In this current research effort, FMCSA, with its focus on conducting safety inspections, is working with FHWA in their research on use of new technologies for vehicle weight enforcement. Therefore, leveraging technology for weight enforcement purposes will be considered in this project in addition to any new safety inspection concepts developed under it. This project falls under the DOT Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Program. Section 5204(j)(2) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, Pub. L. 105–178 (TEA–21), provides that an ITS project involving surveys, questionnaires, or interviews is exempt from the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, Chapter 35 of Title 44 of the U.S. Code. TEA–21 Section 5204(j)(2) states: ‘‘Any survey, questionnaire, or interview that the Secretary considers necessary to carry out the evaluation of any test, deployment project, or program assessment activity under this subtitle shall not be subject to chapter 35 of title 44.’’ 23 U.S.C.A. 502 Note. Definitions Inspection Process: This research effort involves investigating ways in which wireless and other advanced its technologies may be applied to improve aspects of ‘‘the inspection process’’. This phrase should be interpreted broadly to include: (1) Screening activities (e.g., screening of driver identification and related safety information, vehicle identification, credentials, etc.); (2) the inspection itself (e.g., Level 1 inspection process); and (3) other related information technology issues that affect both the time spent on an inspection and the quality of an inspection, (e.g., data communications; data input from inspectors; lack of data automation; lack of consolidation of databases/ information systems, etc.). Purpose The purpose of this effort is to request information on new technology concepts that can help improve the VerDate jul<14>2003 18:02 Aug 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 efficiency, effectiveness, and long-term results of performance-based commercial vehicle safety inspections. Information collected will serve as one of many inputs into an exploratory research and technology project looking at various advanced inspection concepts for getting data from the vehicle to the roadside. The project is not directly related to FMCSA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled, ‘‘Electronic On-Board Recorders for Hours-ofService Compliance,’’ Docket FMCSA– 2004–18940, published in the Federal Register on September 1, 2004 (69 FR 53386). Questions for Response 1. For the existing safety inspection levels (1–6) referred to above, current procedures for conducting these are for the most part ‘‘manual’’, i.e., an inspector manually checks items via visual, hands-on procedures. What new operational concept(s) might be developed to more fully automate commercial vehicle screening and inspections to allow more and better quality inspections to be performed (particularly on high-risk carriers)? Please describe the new concept(s). 2. Considering both vehicle and driver-related inspection items, which systems or parameters might lend themselves to being accurately monitored by on-board sensors? Please comment on all that apply. 3. If some of the items identified in question 2 are NOT currently available in an electronic format on most vehicles (e.g., DOT number), how could this information be made available electronically to enable wireless transmission from the vehicle? 4. In the future, if on-board technology could be used to monitor vehicle and driver status and electronically maintain driver history, and if these data are wirelessly transmitted to the inspection site, please rank order the following in terms of usefulness for selecting (screening) vehicles for further (manual) inspection (1 being most important and 12 being the least important): lTire Condition lVehicle Weight lDriver Qualifications lLighting system lExhaust System lVehicle Inspection History lBrake Condition lDriver HOS lCarrier Performance lSuspension lSteering lOther (please specify) 5. The items identified in the response to questions 2 through 4 might PO 00000 Frm 00132 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 be used to define a ‘‘safety data message set’’ that could be transmitted via wireless communication to the roadside for the purposes of automated screening and/or inspection of commercial vehicles. Please comment on the feasibility of implementing a new screening and/or inspection system that utilizes such a safety data message set. What key issues (technical, economic, institutional, operational, etc.) would need to be addressed to develop and implement such an inspection concept? 6. If on-board technology, as described above, were implemented for screening commercial vehicles, how should the information be presented to inspectors? (select one) (a) A simple fault/no-fault for each system based on predetermined ‘‘rules’’ or algorithms that define ‘‘fault’’ using system-specific performance measures. For example, a listing of those systems or items for which a ‘‘failure’’ was detected would be transmitted to the inspection site. (b) A ‘‘snapshot’’ of recently recorded performance or operational values being measured for each system (e.g., data stored within the last 30 minutes of operation). The exact format and methodology for recording the ‘‘snapshot’’ data would again be developed as an industry standard much like standardized emissions data. (c) Actual real-time feeds of parameters being measured by the onboard diagnostic equipment, (e.g., ‘‘live’’ feed of tire pressures, brake condition sensing, etc.). (d) Other. 7. When/how should this information be available to the inspection site?’’ (select one). (a) Well before the inspection station (perhaps 2 miles) so that a decision to inspect/not inspect can be made and a return signal sent within sufficient time to allow the truck to enter or bypass the station. (b) Upon entering the exit ramp for inspection, but before scales/scale house at about the same point where WIM equipment is often positioned. (c) In front of scale house to allow visual inspection. (d) Anytime/anywhere while vehicle is on the highway upon request from any computer terminal (including mobile). (e) Other. 8. If the on-board sensors report all vehicle systems are functioning properly, what other conditions/ information would be needed in order for the commercial vehicle to be permitted to bypass the inspection station, even if it were randomly sampled for inspection? (select one) E:\FR\FM\16AUN1.SGM 16AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 157 / Tuesday, August 16, 2005 / Notices (a) None. If all sensors report no fault, the truck may bypass the station. (b) Would still need/want USDOT registration number to check carrier history. (c) Would still need/want CDL or other license information to check driver history. (d) For trucks randomly sampled for inspection, no matter what information about the carrier, driver or truck was transmitted, the truck would still need to pass in front of inspectors at slow speed to allow for quick visual inspection. (e) Other. 9. Please rank the following concerns/ challenges with implementing an ‘‘automated’’ wireless type of safety inspection concept, with 1 being the greatest concern and 5 being the least concern. (a) lPrivacy concerns (b) lElectronic falsification of data (c) lAccuracy of measured data (d) lOperator resistance to implementation (e) lAdded operational and maintenance requirements (f) lOther (please specify) 10. Regarding driver HOS violations, what would be sufficient to transmit to the inspection station? (select one) (a) A simple ‘‘in-violation’’ versus ‘‘no-violation’’ signal. (b) Information that indicates if an operator is approaching a violation threshold. (c) The actual HOS for each rule (e.g., 60-hr., 70 hr., etc.). (d) The complete logbook regardless of status of violation. (e) Other. 11. Regarding the options described below, which would you deem more helpful for improving the overall screening, inspection process, and safety of commercial vehicles and why? (select one) Option 1: Utilize on-board vehicle sensors to monitor brake wear, tire pressure, and other critical parameters. Also, electronically identify the driver CDL information using smart cards/ readers and electronically coded U.S. DOT and license numbers. Combine all electronic information (vehicle health, CDL, and carrier identifier data) to form a ‘‘safety data message set’’ that could be wirelessly transmitted from the vehicle to a fixed or mobile roadside inspection station, or other locations as needed. This data could be used to eliminate portions of a manually-performed vehicle inspection, reduce the amount of time spent inspecting each truck, improve effectiveness, and assist in identifying which trucks to inspect. Information could be sent to carriers as VerDate jul<14>2003 18:02 Aug 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 well to provide vehicle diagnostic and driver data for fleet safety management purposes. In the future, when sufficient accuracy and system security (antitampering) can be assured, a new automated inspection level could be defined, i.e., ‘‘Level 7,’’ where citations would be given to the drivers and automatically sent to carriers. Option 2: Implement a screening procedure whereby vehicle, carrier, and driver identifier-only information (i.e., no ‘‘real-time’’ vehicle health or driver status data) could be downloaded wirelessly from each vehicle well in advance of the weigh/inspection station. The information could then be used to query databases containing driver history and credentialing data, past vehicle inspection history, and carriersafety-rating data. Vehicle weight would be monitored using in-road (WIM) equipment and correlated with the identifier information obtained wirelessly. Option 3: Similar to Option 2, except carrier and vehicle identifier data are obtained from roadside equipment only (no transponder on vehicle) using highaccuracy video that reads DOT and license numbers. Vehicle weight would be monitored using in-road (WIM) equipment and correlated with the identifier data. Option 4: Maintain the same procedures currently used, but increase the number of trucks inspected through use of additional manpower and facilities. lOption 1 l Option 2 l Option 3 l Option 4 Comments: 12. What technology for wirelessly transmitting data from the vehicle to the roadside inspection site should be favored and why? (select one) lWi-FilCellularlSatellitelOther lAny and all of the above Comments: 13. As noted earlier, on average, a heavy duty commercial vehicle (tractortrailer) is likely to receive an inspection approximately once per year with trucks from higher risk carriers often inspected more frequently. How frequently would inspections need to occur before carriers and operators (particularly high-risk carriers) would begin to significantly modify their behavior relative to vehicle maintenance and driver compliance? Once a month? Once a week? Other? If a subset of inspection information could be electronically screened at all inspection sites (i.e., brake, tire, and lighting system diagnostic data; electronic hours-of-service record; CDL information; and carrier and vehicle PO 00000 Frm 00133 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 48231 identification data), how would this impact carrier and operator behavior? 14. If such a program were implemented on a national scale (together with high-speed WIM technology), it could reduce the amount of time vehicles spend at roadside inspection facilities. Depending on the cost of implementing such technology from the motor carrier’s perspective, the increase in efficiency may well be cost beneficial. However, it has been argued that such new technology systems are often adopted by ‘‘good carriers’’ and, as such, they do little to improve the safety of poorer performing carriers. Please comment on possible strategies and approaches for implementing a nationwide wireless vehicle inspection program that would encourage broadbased participation from a significant percentage of motor carriers. Could a voluntary program with incentives be successful (identify and explain potential incentives)? Should a phasedin regulatory approach be considered? Other? 15. Please provide any other comments on the safety benefits, technical barriers, institutional challenges and/or costs of implementation associated with a wireless, automated safety inspection program. Issued on: August 5, 2005. Annette M. Sandberg, Administrator. [FR Doc. 05–16163 Filed 8–15–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration [Waiver Petition Docket Number FRA–2002– 11809] North County Transit District; Supplementary Notice of Waiver Request; Notice of Public Hearing; and Extension of Comment Period As a supplement to North County Transit District’s (NCTD) Petition for Approval of Shared Use and Waiver of Certain Federal Railroad Administration Regulations (the waiver was granted by the FRA on June 24, 2003), NCTD seeks a permanent waiver of compliance from additional sections of Title 49 of the CFR for operation of its SPRINTER rail line between Oceanside, CA and Escondido, CA. See Statement of Agency Policy Concerning Jurisdiction Over the Safety of Railroad Passenger Operations and Waivers Related to Shared Use of the Tracks of the General Railroad System by Light Rail and E:\FR\FM\16AUN1.SGM 16AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 157 (Tuesday, August 16, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 48229-48231]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-16163]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2005-22097]


Request for Information on New Commercial Vehicle Safety 
Inspection Concepts

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of request for information (RFI).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: FMCSA invites comments, suggestions and creative ideas on new 
operational concepts that will improve commercial vehicle safety 
inspections through more thorough performance-based inspections. 
Commercial vehicle roadside safety inspections represent one of the 
most effective tools for monitoring and regulating the condition of the 
in-use commercial vehicle fleet, as well as for auditing and enforcing 
driver and operational-related safety practices, including hours of 
service, proper driver credentialing, and other safety aspects of 
commercial vehicle equipment and operations. New technologies such as 
advanced sensor and on-board diagnostics as well as wireless 
communications offer the potential for dramatically improving the 
effectiveness and efficiency of the roadside commercial vehicle safety 
inspection process. This Request for Information directly supports the 
Agency's top priority initiative--Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010, 
or CSA-2010--which is a top-to-bottom review of how FMCSA can best 
develop and manage programs that are most effective in improving motor 
carrier safety.

DATES: Send your comments on or before October 17, 2005.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by any of the following 
methods. Please identify your comments by the FMCSA Docket Number 
FMCSA-2005-22097.
     Web site: http://dms.dot.gov. Follow instructions for 
submitting comments to the Docket.
     Fax: (202) 493-2251.
     Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Management 
Facility, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Plaza level, Washington, DC 20590-
0001.
     Hand Delivery: Plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go http://regulations.gov. 
Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
    Docket: For access to the Docket Management System (DMS) to read 
background documents or comments received, go to http://dms.dot.gov at 
any time or to the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh 
Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays. The DMS is available electronically 24 
hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want notification of receipt 
of your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope, or 
postcard or print the acknowledgement page that appears after 
submitting comments on-line.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register on April 11, 
2000 (65 FR 19477) or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Loftus, Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Administration, Office of Research and Technology at (202) 385-
2363 jeff.loftus@fmcsa.dot.gov. Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
e.s.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Statistics show there are 8 million trucks and buses that travel 
208 billion miles on our nation's highways each year, and commercial 
vehicle miles traveled are forecasted to grow approximately 2 percent 
annually. In addition, truck traffic will increase approximately 25 
percent over the next 10 years. Therefore, the need for developing new 
innovative inspection concepts-of-operation that leverage new 
technologies, result in more thorough performance-based inspections, 
and improve cost effectiveness is a high priority for FMCSA.
    Commercial vehicle roadside safety inspections, targeted to higher 
risk carriers (as determined by prior roadside inspection and crash 
history), and conducted annually by 10,000 roadside safety inspectors, 
uncover some type of violation related to the vehicle condition, driver 
credentials, or hours of service in well over 80% of all inspections. 
In 2004, the approximately 3 million roadside safety inspections 
resulted in 1 million out-of-service violations and 7.2 million total 
violations.
    FMCSA is attempting to develop feasible operational concepts for 
partially or fully automating the commercial vehicle inspection 
process. Greater automation has the potential to improve the quality of 
inspections, increase the number of vehicles screened and inspected, 
and/or enable faster inspections, resulting in improved effectiveness, 
efficiency, and most of all safety
    Under the current safety inspection process, vehicle and driver 
inspections are delineated by different ``levels''. The North American 
Standard Driver/Vehicle Inspection or ``Level 1'' inspection involves 
all driver documentation and a complete vehicle inspection. The time 
taken for a Level 1 inspection is typically about 30-40 minutes, so 
improving the speed with which inspections are performed would be a 
benefit to carriers in terms of their operational efficiency.
    There are 5 additional inspection levels. A Level 2 inspection, 
called a ``Walkaround Driver/Vehicle Inspection,'' is the same as a 
Level 1, except there is no checking under the vehicle. A Level 3 
inspection, called a ``Driver Only Inspection,'' involves only a review 
of driver documentation and carrier credentials. A Level 4 inspection, 
called a ``Special Study,'' can involve any aspect of the inspection 
process and is usually done for data-gathering purposes. A Level 5 
inspection, called a ``Vehicle Only Inspection,'' includes only the 
vehicle portion of a Level 1 inspection (conducted without a driver 
present). Finally, a Level 6 inspection, called ``Enhanced Radioactive 
Inspection,'' is the most comprehensive inspection of all due to the 
hazardous material in the cargo.
    In addition, the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Office of

[[Page 48230]]

Freight Management and Operations oversees state enforcement of heavy 
truck and bus size and weight standards in the United States. 
Compliance with Federal weight regulations is checked by state DOT 
personnel, often in coordination with the various levels of commercial 
vehicle inspections performed by state enforcement personnel. In past 
years, FHWA has explored the use of various weigh-in-motion (WIM) 
technologies to prescreen vehicles for their conformance with maximum 
weight restrictions. In this current research effort, FMCSA, with its 
focus on conducting safety inspections, is working with FHWA in their 
research on use of new technologies for vehicle weight enforcement. 
Therefore, leveraging technology for weight enforcement purposes will 
be considered in this project in addition to any new safety inspection 
concepts developed under it.
    This project falls under the DOT Intelligent Transportation Systems 
(ITS) Program. Section 5204(j)(2) of the Transportation Equity Act for 
the 21st Century, Pub. L. 105-178 (TEA-21), provides that an ITS 
project involving surveys, questionnaires, or interviews is exempt from 
the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act, Chapter 35 of Title 44 
of the U.S. Code. TEA-21 Section 5204(j)(2) states: ``Any survey, 
questionnaire, or interview that the Secretary considers necessary to 
carry out the evaluation of any test, deployment project, or program 
assessment activity under this subtitle shall not be subject to chapter 
35 of title 44.'' 23 U.S.C.A. 502 Note.

Definitions

    Inspection Process: This research effort involves investigating 
ways in which wireless and other advanced its technologies may be 
applied to improve aspects of ``the inspection process''. This phrase 
should be interpreted broadly to include: (1) Screening activities 
(e.g., screening of driver identification and related safety 
information, vehicle identification, credentials, etc.); (2) the 
inspection itself (e.g., Level 1 inspection process); and (3) other 
related information technology issues that affect both the time spent 
on an inspection and the quality of an inspection, (e.g., data 
communications; data input from inspectors; lack of data automation; 
lack of consolidation of databases/information systems, etc.).

Purpose

    The purpose of this effort is to request information on new 
technology concepts that can help improve the efficiency, 
effectiveness, and long-term results of performance-based commercial 
vehicle safety inspections. Information collected will serve as one of 
many inputs into an exploratory research and technology project looking 
at various advanced inspection concepts for getting data from the 
vehicle to the roadside. The project is not directly related to FMCSA's 
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking titled, ``Electronic On-Board 
Recorders for Hours-of-Service Compliance,'' Docket FMCSA-2004-18940, 
published in the Federal Register on September 1, 2004 (69 FR 53386).

Questions for Response

    1. For the existing safety inspection levels (1-6) referred to 
above, current procedures for conducting these are for the most part 
``manual'', i.e., an inspector manually checks items via visual, hands-
on procedures. What new operational concept(s) might be developed to 
more fully automate commercial vehicle screening and inspections to 
allow more and better quality inspections to be performed (particularly 
on high-risk carriers)? Please describe the new concept(s).
    2. Considering both vehicle and driver-related inspection items, 
which systems or parameters might lend themselves to being accurately 
monitored by on-board sensors? Please comment on all that apply.
    3. If some of the items identified in question 2 are NOT currently 
available in an electronic format on most vehicles (e.g., DOT number), 
how could this information be made available electronically to enable 
wireless transmission from the vehicle?
    4. In the future, if on-board technology could be used to monitor 
vehicle and driver status and electronically maintain driver history, 
and if these data are wirelessly transmitted to the inspection site, 
please rank order the following in terms of usefulness for selecting 
(screening) vehicles for further (manual) inspection (1 being most 
important and 12 being the least important):

--Tire Condition
--Vehicle Weight
--Driver Qualifications
--Lighting system
--Exhaust System
--Vehicle Inspection History
--Brake Condition
--Driver HOS
--Carrier Performance
--Suspension
--Steering
--Other (please specify)

    5. The items identified in the response to questions 2 through 4 
might be used to define a ``safety data message set'' that could be 
transmitted via wireless communication to the roadside for the purposes 
of automated screening and/or inspection of commercial vehicles. Please 
comment on the feasibility of implementing a new screening and/or 
inspection system that utilizes such a safety data message set. What 
key issues (technical, economic, institutional, operational, etc.) 
would need to be addressed to develop and implement such an inspection 
concept?
    6. If on-board technology, as described above, were implemented for 
screening commercial vehicles, how should the information be presented 
to inspectors? (select one)
    (a) A simple fault/no-fault for each system based on predetermined 
``rules'' or algorithms that define ``fault'' using system-specific 
performance measures. For example, a listing of those systems or items 
for which a ``failure'' was detected would be transmitted to the 
inspection site.
    (b) A ``snapshot'' of recently recorded performance or operational 
values being measured for each system (e.g., data stored within the 
last 30 minutes of operation). The exact format and methodology for 
recording the ``snapshot'' data would again be developed as an industry 
standard much like standardized emissions data.
    (c) Actual real-time feeds of parameters being measured by the on-
board diagnostic equipment, (e.g., ``live'' feed of tire pressures, 
brake condition sensing, etc.).
    (d) Other.
    7. When/how should this information be available to the inspection 
site?'' (select one).
    (a) Well before the inspection station (perhaps 2 miles) so that a 
decision to inspect/not inspect can be made and a return signal sent 
within sufficient time to allow the truck to enter or bypass the 
station.
    (b) Upon entering the exit ramp for inspection, but before scales/
scale house at about the same point where WIM equipment is often 
positioned.
    (c) In front of scale house to allow visual inspection.
    (d) Anytime/anywhere while vehicle is on the highway upon request 
from any computer terminal (including mobile).
    (e) Other.
    8. If the on-board sensors report all vehicle systems are 
functioning properly, what other conditions/information would be needed 
in order for the commercial vehicle to be permitted to bypass the 
inspection station, even if it were randomly sampled for inspection? 
(select one)

[[Page 48231]]

    (a) None. If all sensors report no fault, the truck may bypass the 
station.
    (b) Would still need/want USDOT registration number to check 
carrier history.
    (c) Would still need/want CDL or other license information to check 
driver history.
    (d) For trucks randomly sampled for inspection, no matter what 
information about the carrier, driver or truck was transmitted, the 
truck would still need to pass in front of inspectors at slow speed to 
allow for quick visual inspection.
    (e) Other.
    9. Please rank the following concerns/challenges with implementing 
an ``automated'' wireless type of safety inspection concept, with 1 
being the greatest concern and 5 being the least concern.
    (a) --Privacy concerns
    (b) --Electronic falsification of data
    (c) --Accuracy of measured data
    (d) --Operator resistance to implementation
    (e) --Added operational and maintenance requirements
    (f) --Other (please specify)
    10. Regarding driver HOS violations, what would be sufficient to 
transmit to the inspection station? (select one)
    (a) A simple ``in-violation'' versus ``no-violation'' signal.
    (b) Information that indicates if an operator is approaching a 
violation threshold.
    (c) The actual HOS for each rule (e.g., 60-hr., 70 hr., etc.).
    (d) The complete logbook regardless of status of violation.
    (e) Other.
    11. Regarding the options described below, which would you deem 
more helpful for improving the overall screening, inspection process, 
and safety of commercial vehicles and why? (select one)
    Option 1: Utilize on-board vehicle sensors to monitor brake wear, 
tire pressure, and other critical parameters. Also, electronically 
identify the driver CDL information using smart cards/readers and 
electronically coded U.S. DOT and license numbers. Combine all 
electronic information (vehicle health, CDL, and carrier identifier 
data) to form a ``safety data message set'' that could be wirelessly 
transmitted from the vehicle to a fixed or mobile roadside inspection 
station, or other locations as needed. This data could be used to 
eliminate portions of a manually-performed vehicle inspection, reduce 
the amount of time spent inspecting each truck, improve effectiveness, 
and assist in identifying which trucks to inspect. Information could be 
sent to carriers as well to provide vehicle diagnostic and driver data 
for fleet safety management purposes. In the future, when sufficient 
accuracy and system security (anti-tampering) can be assured, a new 
automated inspection level could be defined, i.e., ``Level 7,'' where 
citations would be given to the drivers and automatically sent to 
carriers.
    Option 2: Implement a screening procedure whereby vehicle, carrier, 
and driver identifier-only information (i.e., no ``real-time'' vehicle 
health or driver status data) could be downloaded wirelessly from each 
vehicle well in advance of the weigh/inspection station. The 
information could then be used to query databases containing driver 
history and credentialing data, past vehicle inspection history, and 
carrier-safety-rating data. Vehicle weight would be monitored using in-
road (WIM) equipment and correlated with the identifier information 
obtained wirelessly.
    Option 3: Similar to Option 2, except carrier and vehicle 
identifier data are obtained from roadside equipment only (no 
transponder on vehicle) using high-accuracy video that reads DOT and 
license numbers. Vehicle weight would be monitored using in-road (WIM) 
equipment and correlated with the identifier data.
    Option 4: Maintain the same procedures currently used, but increase 
the number of trucks inspected through use of additional manpower and 
facilities.

--Option 1 -- Option 2 -- Option 3 -- Option 4

    Comments:
    12. What technology for wirelessly transmitting data from the 
vehicle to the roadside inspection site should be favored and why? 
(select one)

--Wi-Fi--Cellular--Satellite--Other
--Any and all of the above

    Comments:
    13. As noted earlier, on average, a heavy duty commercial vehicle 
(tractor-trailer) is likely to receive an inspection approximately once 
per year with trucks from higher risk carriers often inspected more 
frequently. How frequently would inspections need to occur before 
carriers and operators (particularly high-risk carriers) would begin to 
significantly modify their behavior relative to vehicle maintenance and 
driver compliance? Once a month? Once a week? Other? If a subset of 
inspection information could be electronically screened at all 
inspection sites (i.e., brake, tire, and lighting system diagnostic 
data; electronic hours-of-service record; CDL information; and carrier 
and vehicle identification data), how would this impact carrier and 
operator behavior?
    14. If such a program were implemented on a national scale 
(together with high-speed WIM technology), it could reduce the amount 
of time vehicles spend at roadside inspection facilities. Depending on 
the cost of implementing such technology from the motor carrier's 
perspective, the increase in efficiency may well be cost beneficial. 
However, it has been argued that such new technology systems are often 
adopted by ``good carriers'' and, as such, they do little to improve 
the safety of poorer performing carriers. Please comment on possible 
strategies and approaches for implementing a nationwide wireless 
vehicle inspection program that would encourage broad-based 
participation from a significant percentage of motor carriers. Could a 
voluntary program with incentives be successful (identify and explain 
potential incentives)? Should a phased-in regulatory approach be 
considered? Other?
    15. Please provide any other comments on the safety benefits, 
technical barriers, institutional challenges and/or costs of 
implementation associated with a wireless, automated safety inspection 
program.

    Issued on: August 5, 2005.
Annette M. Sandberg,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 05-16163 Filed 8-15-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P