In an attempt to cut $1.7 billion in compliance costs for the entire trucking industry, the Department of Transportation has proposed to reduce certain paperwork required for driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs).
The existing federal regulations mandate that all commercial truck drivers must conduct equipment inspections before and after trips and file a DVIR after each inspection, regardless of whether an issue is reported. And based on the total amount of time needed to comply with the standards, DVIRs rank 19th in terms of highest amount paperwork burden enforced across all federal organizations.
Despite all of the time required, only 5 percent of DVIRs include a stated issue.
“President Obama challenged his Administration to find ways to cut waste and red tape, a challenge I pledged to meet during my confirmation hearing,” Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx documented in a statement. “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.”
The DOT said it will maintain its high safety standards despite the reduced $1.7 billion in annual costs for the industry.
The proposed changes would still require commercial truck drivers to continue to conduct pre- and post-trip inspections. However, DVIR paperwork would only be required if defects or deficiencies were revealed or reported to the driver during the day’s operations.
With recent technological enhancements to fleet management software, drivers and mechanics now have the ability to avoid this paperwork by submitting DVIRs electronically via the driver's in-cab GPS display unit.
Beyond DVIRs, commercial trucks across the country are routinely inspected.
Federal guidelines call for every commercial vehicle in the United States to go through a comprehensive annual safety inspection that is conducted by a certified commercial vehicle mechanic. State and federal inspectors also conduct unannounced, random examinations of commercial vehicles at weigh stations, terminals, roadside truck stops, and at destinations. Vehicles that fail random safety inspections are instantaneously placed out of service and not allowed to run until any and all identified safety problems are corrected. Last year, there were roughly 3.5 million random inspections conducted on commercial vehicles.