FMCSA to eliminate 'defect-free' equipment reports for motor carriers

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 5/9/2013

Motor carriers that operate more than one truck are currently required to retain records of post-trip driver-vehicle inspection reports known as DVIRs, regardless of whether the report shows any defects to the equipment. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to file a rule to eliminate the reporting requirement if a post-trip inspection finds no equipment defects.

Drivers would still be required to conduct post-trip inspections, but would only be required to fill out a DVIR if the inspection found any defects to report to the motor carrier. One-truck owner-operators are exempt from the reporting requirement and are not required to process and retain DVIRs.

Polly Trottenberg, U.S. Department of Transportation undersecretary of policy, told the House Committee on Small Business that eliminating the reporting requirement for interstate motor carriers would save the trucking industry $1.5 billion per year.

The agency has already eliminated the reporting requirement for intermodal equipment haulers. The FMCSA estimates savings from the June 2012 final rule at $54 million for the intermodal industry.

Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves, R-MO, conducted the hearing Wednesday, May 8, to find out what the DOT and other agencies are doing to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses and to comply with a pair of White House executive orders to cut red tape.

“One such effort is a proposal under development to rescind the requirement that truck drivers submit, and trucking companies retain, burdensome paper driver-vehicle inspection reports when there are no actual vehicle defects found,” Trottenberg said.

“FMCSA estimates that rescinding this requirement will save the trucking industry about $1.5 billion per year, without adversely affecting safety,” she said. “The savings from each report is modest, but when you consider it provides almost daily savings for millions of drivers it has a large impact.”

The agency derives its cost estimate for motor carriers from the same mechanism that came up with the $54 million estimate for intermodal haulers.

“The $1.5 billion in cost savings is for a proposed rule that will be published later this year that would propose to eliminate the DVIR requirement for all commercial motor carrier drivers operating in interstate commerce – a significantly larger universe of impacted drivers than just those operating intermodal equipment,” FMCSA spokesman Duane DeBruyne said.

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