DOT eliminates $1.7 billion paperwork burden for the trucking industry
The federal government doesn’t always have a reputation for helping businesses reduce paperwork, but a recent regulatory change promises to do just that for professional truck drivers. What’s more, the move by the U.S. Department of Transportation will save the industry nearly $2 billion annually by reducing the amount of time drivers spend filing inspection reports.
Effective Dec. 18, 2014, truck drivers are no longer required to file pre- or post-trip inspection Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) if their inspections find no equipment problems or safety concerns. While drivers must still perform the inspections, eliminating the requirement to file a report regardless of the inspection’s findings will reduce unnecessary paperwork for about 95 percent of inspections, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says.
The move means drivers will spend less time filing reports and more time doing their jobs delivering vital goods and materials throughout the country. Prior to the change, drivers spent nearly 47 million hours annually completing DVIRs. By reducing man-hours spent on filing, the new regulation also reduces the costs associated with paperwork and the penalties drivers might once have faced for failing to file the reports even when their equipment passed safety inspections with no problems. The time savings is valued at $1.7 billion annually, the FMCSA estimates.
“Until now, truck driver vehicle inspection reports were the 19th highest paperwork burden across all federal agencies,” FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling said. “By scrapping the no-defect inspection reports, the burden is reduced to 79th.”
In announcing the change, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: “America’s truckers should be able to focus more on getting their goods safely to store shelves, construction sites or wherever they need to be, instead of spending countless hours on unnecessary paperwork that costs the industry nearly $2 billion each year.”
Reducing the number of non-issue reports filed also benefits regulators, who will now be able to spend more time addressing the approximately 5 percent of reports that actually do indicate problems found during inspections. Greater attention to problematic reports could help further improve overall safety throughout the industry.