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Foxx says OMB has cleared rule to reduce driver paperwork

The Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) drivers complete after each inspection, are the 19th-highest paperwork burden based on the number of hours needed to comply, imposed across all federal agencies and only 5 percent of reports filed include defects.

The Trucker Staff

8/1/2013

WASHINGTON —Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx Thursday said the Office of Management and Budget had cleared the proposed rulemaking to eliminate the need what most drivers consider a burdensome daily paperwork requirement that will reduce costs to the industry by an estimated $1.7 billion annually while still maintaining the department’s high safety standards.

The proposed rulemaking would eliminate the necessity for drivers to complete and motor carriers to retain paperwork when a pre- and/or post-trip inspection reveals no defects or deficiencies. The proposed rulemaking does not eliminate the requirement for the pre- and post-trip inspection.

Currently, drivers must complete a form whether or not defects or deficiencies are found.

The proposed rulemaking, which is part of President Barack Obama’s paperwork reduction initiative launched in January 2011 by executive order, has been under way since January 2012.

The proposed rulemaking will now be published in the Federal Register, initiating a 60-day comment period.

“President Obama challenged his administration to find ways to cut waste and red tape, a challenge I pledged to meet during my confirmation hearing,” Foxx said during a news conference, his first formal meeting with reporters since becoming secretary. “With today’s 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.”

Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell called the proposal an example of progress made under the administration’s regulatory lookback initiative.

“The administration is carefully examining rules on the books to see where we can streamline, modify or repeal regulations to reduce unnecessary burdens and costs on businesses and consumers,” Burwell said. “By making this common-sense change to the DVIR process, the Department of Transportation is dramatically reducing paperwork burdens on the trucking industry, while continuing to protect public safety.”   

The Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) drivers complete after each inspection, are the 19th-highest paperwork burden based on the number of hours needed to comply, imposed across all federal agencies and only 5 percent of reports filed include defects. Monday’s announcement represents the largest paperwork reduction achieved since Obama’s May 2012 Executive Order to reduce regulatory burdens on the private sector, the DOT said in a news release.

 “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 S. Ferro. “Moving to a defect-only reporting system would reduce a significant paperwork burden facing truck drivers and save the industry billions without compromising safety.”

Federal regulations require that every commercial vehicle in the U.S. undergo a thorough annual safety inspection conducted by a certified commercial vehicle mechanic. In addition, state and federal inspectors conduct unannounced, random inspections of commercial vehicles at terminals, weigh stations, truck stops along the roadside and at destinations. Vehicles that fail random safety inspections are immediately placed out of service and not allowed to operate until the identified safety problems are addressed. In 2012, approximately 3.5 million random inspections were conducted.

In June 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration eliminated a comparable requirement for truck drivers operating intermodal equipment trailers used for transporting containerized cargo shipments. By eliminating a requirement for drivers to submit “no defect” inspection reports of intermodal equipment trailer, cost savings to the intermodal industry is estimated to be $54 million annually without an adverse impact upon safety.

The FMCSA will collect and review comments on the proposed rule, which is available at:

www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/rulemakings/proposed/Driver-Vehicle-Inspection-Report-NPRM.pdf.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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