Comments to FMCSA on Electronic Identification of CMVs

Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Unique Electronic Identification of Commercial Motor Vehicles

Docket ID: FMCSA-2022-0062-0008

https://www.regulations.gov/document/FMCSA-2022-0062-0008

https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/FMCSA-2022-0062-0008

Written on November 21-22, 2022, by

Vicki Simons, President

NKBJ InfoNet, LLC

Truck-Drivers-Money-Saving-Tips.com

Dear FMCSA,

According to the information published requesting comments on a proposed electronic ID system:

This proposed rule is based on the authority of 49 U.S.C. 31502(b) (originally enacted as part of the Motor Carrier Act of 1935). DOT is authorized by 49 U.S.C. 31502(b) to “prescribe requirements for—(1) qualifications and maximum hours of service of employees of, and safety of operation and equipment of, a motor carrier; and (2) qualifications and maximum hours of service of employees of, and standards of equipment of, a motor private carrier, when needed to promote safety of operation.”

This proposed rule is also based on the authority granted by 49 U.S.C. 31136(a) (originally enacted as part of the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1984 (1984 Act)). DOT has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(a) to regulate drivers, motor carriers, and CMVs. …

However,

  • Article VI of The Constitution of the United States reads in part, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof… shall be the supreme Law of the Land…”; and
  • Amendment X reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Therefore, the “authority” of the US Code in this matter is outside the supreme Law of the Land.

Regarding the matter concerning electronic IDs for commercial motor vehicles in the United States, I shall now answer specific questions…

1. General

a. Should a device capable of transmitting an electronic ID be permanently affixed or removable/transferrable to CMVs currently in operation? Would FMCSA’s rule need to specify?

Neither one. The use of an electronic ID, even if the initial scope is limited, will almost certainly spread to all commercial motor vehicles within the U.S. trucking industry and could be considered an invasion of privacy. An electronic ID system must never be developed or installed in commercial motor vehicles (large trucks) in the United States of America.

b. What data should be included as part of the electronic ID (e.g., carrier name, carrier contact information, vehicle ID number, license plate number, USDOT number, and gross vehicle weight rating)?

None. An electronic ID system must never be set up.

Should the information be limited to non-PII information? If not, why not?

No such system should ever be set up. Once an electronic ID system is instituted under the guise of non-Personally Identifiable Information (non-PII), the powers-that-be could very easy morph it into requiring and capturing Personally Identifiable Information. This would be an outworking similar to “the camel’s nose” being inserted into a tent.

Should it include information specific to the driver (e.g., hours of service, Commercial Driver’s License compliance, and medical certification)?

No, the capture of information on professional truck drivers must never be incorporated in this system, just as the system must never be implemented.

Should it also include information that may vary from trip to trip (e.g., axle weight, pre-trip inspection date and time, and GPS coordinates and time when requested)?

No, the capture of information regarding loads would be an invasion of privacy on companies and the freight they haul.

Depending on how you answer the above questions, should the electronic ID be transferrable in the event of a CMV sale?

No, electronic IDs must never be implemented in commercial motor vehicles at all.

Depending on how you answer the above questions, who should be responsible for providing the data set (see question 1.b.) associated with the electronic ID for a CMV (i.e., driver, carrier, third party)?

No one should be responsible for providing data because electronic IDs must never be implemented.

c. Depending on the scope of the data you believe is necessary in 1.b., how should the data be transmitted and received?

No data must ever be collected and the proposed system must not be implemented.

Can existing technology (e.g., ELDs) be used to collect and transmit the electronic ID data and receive a response from enforcement officials?

How far in advance (time, distance) does a state need to gather the electronic ID information to positively ID a vehicle and message the vehicle whether further inspection is required?

Should FMCSA propose a standard for the method of data transmission, and, if so, what should it be, or do you believe a voluntary standard can be developed?

While it is possible for existing technology to collect and transmit electronic ID data, it must be prohibited from doing so because such technology can be hacked, exposing vital information to those who have no right to see or use it.

d. Are there reports or studies not already referenced above available regarding the use of electronic devices to identify CMVs that FMCSA may find useful in finding a technically sound, cost-effective, long-term means to identify CMVs at roadside? If so, please provide the references in your responses.

While RFID chips may be useful, they must never be used in the context of this proposed system, rule, or regulation.

e. Should the electronic ID be limited only to CMV power units (e.g., motorcoaches, truck-tractors) or also include trailers?

By asking such a question, the FMCSA has already changed the original purpose of the proposed rule or regulation, thus proving that this proposed system must be rejected in totality.

f. How would an electronic ID apply to rented or leased vehicles that are operated by different carriers or parties throughout the course of the year?

An electronic ID system must never be set up for any part of any commercial motor vehicle, including, but not limited to, tractors, trailers, converter gear, owned equipment, rented equipment, and leased equipment.

g. How would or should an electronic ID be tied to States’ CMV record keeping (e.g., International Registration Plan registration, Performance and Registration Information Systems Management (PRISM))?

According to the Tenth Amendment, such an electronic ID system is under the authority of the states and must never be implemented on a nationwide, federal level.

h. Are there privacy, health, or coercion concerns FMCSA should consider in a future proposal?

Yes. In a manner similar to the privacy invasion of cab-facing video recorders, electronic IDs could infringe on the privacy of professional truck drivers.

Furthermore, if proposed records are incorrectly kept, problems associated with previous drivers could be attributed to current drivers, thus opening them up to legal problems.

Any electronic system that can “broadcast” a signal has the power to disrupt a driver’s health.

Furthermore, federal level enforcement personnel may be able to access and use the information in the proposed system in a manner outside the scope of intended safety purposes, thus actually endangering the safety of drivers.

2. Functionality

a. Should the electronic ID framework be flexible so that functionality could be added later, as new safety and other vehicle technologies emerge?

An electronic ID system must never be put in place, period.

3. Populations Affected

a. What is the population of trucks that already have a type of electronic ID technology (e.g., PrePass, Drivewyze)?

It doesn’t matter how many trucks have weigh station bypass transponders because they are far from the electronic ID system that has been proposed.

4. Cost/Benefits

a. What are the current and potential future safety benefits of electronic IDs?

Are there studies or reports that provide data to support the benefits of electronic IDs?

Would implementing an electronic ID requirement lower crash rates, if so, how?

Just as the requirement to install and use Electronic Logging Devices was “sold” under the guise of safety — and has failed miserably (see articles linked just below) — there are no safety benefits that I know of regarding implementing an electronic ID system.

Study finds that semi truck crashes INCREASED after Electronic Logging Device Mandate

Study: Trucking accidents up after electronic logging device mandate

To my knowledge, no “pilot program” regarding an electronic identification system on commercial motor vehicles has ever been conducted, meaning that the FMCSA is “flying blind” on this issue.

b. How would requiring an electronic ID impact the overall effectiveness of State CMV inspection programs?

None that I know of.

c. How much time would compliant motor carriers save if an electronic ID were to be required?

None that I know of.

d. What is the cost of adding electronic ID technology by type (e.g., transponder, wireless, software, etc.)?

Just as was the case with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), I speculate that a proposed electronic ID system on commercial motor vehicles would be just another profit-damaging regulation foisted upon both trucking companies and professional truck drivers, the direct and ongoing costs of which will never benefit them.

5. Other

a. Is there any other information associated with electronic IDs that FMCSA should consider? Please describe.

Yes. According to Ballotpedia.org:

“The Montana C-48, the Search Warrant for Electronic Data Amendment, was on the ballot in Montana as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 8, 2022.[1] The ballot measure was approved.”

Furthermore, the measure was approved by over 82% of qualified electors.

I am hopeful that other states will follow suit and require a search warrant for the acquisition of electronic data.

Summary and Conclusion

I have many concerns about this proposed rule for electronic IDs on trucks, including, but not limited to:

  • its constitutionality;
  • the privacy of truckers and trucking companies;
  • risks to the security of truckers, trucks, loads, and business dealings;
  • just treatment of truckers during enforcement; and
  • the costs to professional truck drivers and trucking companies.

Just as other efforts by the FMCSA have fallen short on delivering additional safety, I am skeptical that this proposed electronic ID system would improve safety.

Based on the enumerated powers granted to Congress in Article I, Section 8, of The Constitution of the United States, The U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration, and similar agencies and departments that supposedly have “oversight” over the trucking industry are unconstitutional and need to be disbanded immediately.

In June 2022, a precedent was set when the U.S. Supreme Court took the action of overruling its January 22, 1973, decision (Roe v. Wade), thus returning the issue of abortion to the states, where it should have always remained.

Similarly, and in accordance with the Tenth Amendment, the “oversight” of the trucking industry must be left to the states, where such issues should have always remained.

On August 1, 2013, I wrote a guest post in which I took apart — piece by piece — the at-that-time new Hours of Service regulation.

I opened the last paragraph with this question:

“What will it take to demonstrate whether the new HOS rule is about safety or control?”

In the days that followed, it became painfully obvious that the FMCSA had not listened to professional truck drivers.

In the same vein, I believe that the proposed electronic ID system is about control — not safety — especially in this day when certain greedy persons want to try to replace human beings with autonomous, driverless, and self-driving trucks to transport goods.

In my 2013 blog post, I further wrote: “FMCSA estimated that these new safety regulations will save 19 lives and prevent about 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.”

Again, to my knowledge, no pilot program has ever been conducted that would provide any basis for showing improved “safety” under an electronic identification system on commercial motor vehicles.

In the course of researching trucking publications for well over 5 years — for the purpose of publishing a weekly trucking commentary — I have never seen an estimate published regarding the number of lives that would purportedly be saved (and the number of crashes or injuries that would purportedly be prevented) by the implementation of a proposed electronic ID system.

Regarding a proposed electronic identification system, I suspect that the FMCSA does not want to have egg on its face by putting out estimated numbers that might later be proven to be false or possibly based on false assumptions or incomplete data.

Finally in my 2013 blog post, I made this quote:

“Among them was a University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study in which ‘car drivers were assigned factors in 81 percent of crashes compared with 27 percent of truckers. Those totals were greater than 100 percent, the study noted, because 10 percent of crashes assigned blame to both car and truck drivers.'”

The FMCSA must cease continually trying to place blame for most large truck crashes on professional truck drivers when the statistics prove that the vast majority of factors leading up to those crashes belong to the drivers of non-commercial motor vehicles.

Stop the proposal for implementing an electronic identification system on commercial motor vehicles!

Sincerely,

Vicki Simons, President
NKBJ InfoNet, LLC
Truck-Drivers-Money-Saving-Tips.com

Your Comment Tracking Number: las-a4mf-gpho


Return from Comments to FMCSA on Electronic Identification of CMVs to our About Us page or our Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips home page.