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CVSA clarifies which documents can be presented electronically

Electronic documents are becoming more common and more widely accepted

Posted September 24, 2021 

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has released guidance clarifying the use of specific electronic documents in lieu of paper copies during roadside inspections.

The purpose of the guidance is to clarify to drivers, motor carriers, and officers which documents can be provided electronically during a CVSA roadside inspection, and which are still required to be available as paper copies.

Which documents are included in the guidance?

Almost all of the documents that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) require in 49 CFR parts 300-399 can be stored electronically. Exceptions to the rule are driver’s licenses and hazmat shipping papers, which are required to be available as hard copies. The bulletin noted that carriers transporting dangerous goods in Canada may be able to use electronic shipping papers if an equivalent level of safety is maintained and an equivalency certificate is obtained from Transport Canada.

Examples of electronic records that fit within the scope of CVSA’s bulletin include hours-of-service documents, medical cards, medical waivers/exemptions, shipping documents (non-hazardous materials), lease agreements, and daily vehicle inspection reports. The annual vehicle inspection report may be electronic, but inspection stickers (when used) must continue to be affixed to vehicles and trailers.

What documents are not covered in the guidance?

Documents that are not covered, such as those relating to registration, fuel tax, insurance, over-dimensional permits, and Canadian daily vehicle inspections, may be accepted in electronic format. However, it is dependent upon state, local, provincial, and territorial laws and regulations. Drivers and motor carriers must check with the appropriate authorities to confirm which format is acceptable prior to traveling through the jurisdiction(s).

Note that electronic documents, like paper documents, must be complete, accurate, legible, and signed, if a signature is required.

This article was written by Kathy Close of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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