Electronic Identification for Commercial Motor Vehicles

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is considering requiring all commercial vehicles to be equipped with an electronic device that transmits a specific ID for that vehicle. This device would submit information wirelessly regarding the owner-operators or carriers’ previous inspection and safety history. This allows safety officers to determine whether the carrier or owner-operator should be pulled in for a full inspection.

The FMCSA and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) believe that implementing this program would not only help the safety of all vehicles on the highways but also save time and money by being able to target carriers and owner-operators with an unsatisfactory safety history.

Carriers and owner-operators have commented on ways to identify commercial vehicles that already exist in the form of license plates and transportation number readers. Still, the FMCSA and CVSA feel that those are not always reliable. A license plate may be obscured and unreadable, or the transportation number may be worn, faded, and not recognizable.

Instead, they feel this can lead to safe carriers and owner-operators being pulled in for inspection while drivers with multiple violations can proceed. If this program went into effect, owner-operators and carriers would believe there would be privacy and data security issues. That could be another way to write more tickets and regulate trucks in an already overregulated industry.