Cutting Truckers' Paperwork

August 8, 2013

Do you get frustrated when you have to stop and fill out pre- and post-trip inspection reports, even when there is nothing wrong with the truck?

Well, join the club. The Department of Transportation says that only 5% of pre- and post-trip inspection reports filed note any defects on the truck. That means that 95% of inspection reports are essentially unnecessary.

While the government seems to be inserting itself more and more into the daily lives of truckers… and not usually in a good way, finally the feds have announced a plan that will make truckers' lives easier.

On August 5, newly appointed U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a proposed rule by the agency that will ease a daily paperwork requirement for professional truck drivers.

Current federal regulations require commercial truck drivers to conduct pre- and post-trip equipment inspections and file Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) after every inspection, even if they find no issue requiring repairs.

DVIRs are the ranked 19th-highest paperwork burden, based on the number of hours needed to comply, imposed across all federal agencies and only 5% of reports filed include defects, DOT says.

While pre- and post-trip inspections still will be required, the proposed change would require DVIRs only if defects or deficiencies were discovered by or reported to the driver during the day's operations.

"We can better focus on the 5% of problematic truck inspection reports by eliminating the 95% that report the status quo," Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro said. "Moving to a defect-only reporting system would reduce a significant paperwork burden facing truck drivers and save the industry billions without compromising safety."

It's estimated that cutting the paperwork will also cut the industry's costs by an estimated $1.7 billion annually.

"President Obama challenged his Administration to find ways to cut waste and red tape, a challenge I pledged to meet during my confirmation hearing," Foxx said. "With (this) proposal, we are delivering on that pledge, saving business billions of dollars while maintaining our commitment to safety. It's the kind of win-win solution that I hope our department will continue to find over the coming months."

FMCSA eliminated a similar requirement for truckers operating intermodal equipment trailers used for transporting containerized cargo shipments in June 2012.

The DVIR announcement represents the largest paperwork reduction achieved since President Obama's May 2012 Executive Order to reduce regulatory burdens on the private sector, according to a DOT news release.

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