DOT Secretary Formally Announces Proposal To Eliminate Paperwork Burden

FMCSA Shutters Boston CarrierToday, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the agency has completed a proposal that eliminate the burden of a daily paperwork requirement for drivers.  The elimination of the paperwork would save the industry an estimated $1.7 billion annually, the proposal states.

Last month, the DOT announced the proposed rule that would  rescind the requirement for CMV drivers submit or retain vehicle inspection reports when the driver has not found/been made aware of defects or deficiencies.

This rule would remove the requirement that CMV drivers and motor carriers submit/retain driver-vehicle inspection reports when the driver has not found or been made aware of any vehicle defects or deficiencies.  The rule would ease the burden of information collection.

“President Obama challenged his Administration to find ways to cut waste and red tape, a challenge I pledged to meet during my confirmation hearing,” said Secretary Foxx. “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.”

“This is a great example of the progress being made under the Administration’s regulatory lookback initiative,” said Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell. “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. 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.”

Current federal regulations require commercial truck drivers to conduct pre- and post-trip equipment inspections and file Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) after each inspection, regardless of whether or not an issue requiring repairs is identified. DVIRs 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. Today’s announcement represents the largest paperwork reduction achieved since President Obama’s May 2012 Executive Order to reduce regulatory burdens on the private sector.

Under the proposed change announced today, commercial truck drivers would continue conducting pre- and post-trip inspections. However, DVIRs would be required only if defects or deficiencies were discovered by or reported to the driver during the day’s operations.

“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.”

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.