Intermodal groups petition to change chassis reporting requirements

| 4/16/2010

Two large intermodal groups are asking that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rule requiring drivers to file inspection reports on every chassis they use during the workday be eliminated.

The Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association and the Institute of International Container Lessors filed a petition for reconsideration on the record-keeping requirement of the intermodal roadability rule on Thursday, April 15.

Currently, the regulation requires that all intermodal chassis offered to truckers for use be “systematically inspected, repaired and maintained.”

Drivers are required to conduct a pre-trip inspection on a lengthy list of equipment components before accepting the chassis for on-road use. Drivers are to turn down any equipment found to have defects or damage requiring repair.

The drivers are also required to submit driver vehicle inspection reports – dubbed DVIRs – at the end of each workday on every intermodal chassis inspected and used by the driver during the day.

The groups are petitioning FMCSA to drop the reporting requirement on chassis that do not have any known defect or damage.

In the petition for reconsideration, the groups claim that 96 percent of the DVIRs would reflect trips made with chassis that have no known defect or damage – which the groups estimate to be in the neighborhood of more than 38.4 million trips made annually with chassis that are in good shape.

The groups contend that by requiring reports on all chassis inspected by drivers each day, there is a risk that the reports on the estimated 4 percent – and estimated 1.6 million trips – needing repair, could get lost in the paperwork shuffle.

“There is a real risk that the 4 percent of DVIRs containing defect and damage information will be lost, obscured or delayed by the sheer magnitude of no-defect DVIRs,” the groups’ petition states. “Motor carriers may be more likely to make mistakes in reporting damage or defects when the vast majority of their reports do not contain damage or defect.”

If FMCSA officials deny the petition, the groups have the option to file a lawsuit asking the courts to force the agency to change the rule.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor