Frequently Asked Questions
How many supporting documents must be retained by motor carriers, and when must drivers submit them to the motor carrier?
Motor carriers must retain up to eight supporting documents for every 24-hour period that a driver is on duty. Drivers must submit their records of duty status (RODS) and supporting documents to the motor carrier no later than 13 days after receiving them. If a motor carrier retains more than 8 supporting documents, the motor carrier must maintain the first and last document generated during the regular course of business.
Given the diversity of the industry, FMCSA has identified five categories of supporting documents:
- Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, or equivalent documents that show the starting and ending location for each trip;
- Dispatch records, trip records, or equivalent documents;
- Expense receipts related to “on-duty/not driving” periods (meals, lodging, fuel, etc.);
- Fleet management system communication records;
- Payroll records, settlement sheets, or equivalent documents showing payment to a driver.
Drivers using paper RODS must also keep toll receipts – which do not count toward the eight-document cap.
Two categories—electronic mobile communications and payroll records—are not documents a driver would have to physically retain. They may be part of a larger record that the carrier retains electronically or physically at the dispatch location or principal place of business. In applying the eight-document limit, all information in an electronic mobile communication record will be counted as one document per duty day.
Can supporting documents be limited to only those acquired at the beginning and end of the workday?
No. Documents acquired throughout the day are important in enforcing the 60/70-hour rule—a crucial part of ensuring hours of service compliance. Compliance with the 60/70-hour rule is based on the cumulative hours an individual works over a period of days. Supporting documents are critical to verify the proper duty statuses in assessing compliance with the 60/70 hour rules.
Supporting documents must contain the following elements:
- Driver name or carrier-assigned identification number, either on the document or on another document enabling the carrier to link the document to the driver. The vehicle unit number can also be used if it can be linked to the driver;
- Location (including name of nearest city, town, or village); and