Every day, thousands of commercial truck drivers across the country conduct pre- and post-trip equipment inspections. By law, they're required to file driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) after each inspection – regardless of whether they spot any issues.
Responding to President Obama's directive to cut bureaucratic red tape for the private sector, the Department of Transportation is proposing to change the law.
Under the proposed change announced earlier this month, commercial truck drivers would continue conducting pre- and post-trip inspections. However, DVIRs would be required only if defects or deficiencies were discovered by or reported to the driver during the day's operations.
The Department of Transportation said the rule change would save the trucking industry $1.7 billion in annual costs "while still maintaining the department's high safety standards."
Of all the DVIRs filed by professional truck drivers, only 5 percent include defects, according to the department.
"We can better focus on the 5 percent of problematic truck-inspection reports by eliminating the 95 percent that report the status quo," said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro.
American Trucking Associations CEO Bill Graves praised the Obama administration for addressing "a longstanding paperwork-related burden in the trucking industry," although he said the proposed rule change only would "provide modest relief to professional drivers and motor carriers."
Graves added that the trucking industry hopes the proposal is a sign that the DOT will tackle "more substantive issues" such as sleeper-berth flexibility, security background checks and the CSA crash-accountability process.
The DOT's proposed rule change would be the largest paperwork reduction since Obama's May 2012 executive order to reduce regulatory burdens on the private sector, according to the department.
In June 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration eliminated a similar requirement for truck drivers operating intermodal equipment trailers used for transporting containerized cargo shipments.
Eliminating the requirement for drivers to submit "no-defect" inspection reports of intermodal equipment trailers has saved the intermodal industry $54 million in annual costs, according to the DOT.
To comment on the proposed rule, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's website.