The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is officially proposing to drop the requirement that truck drivers file inspection reports even when there are no defects in the truck.
The move, which the Department of Transportation signaled to Congress last May, is designed to reduce the paperwork burden on the industry and save money while preserving safety enforcement.
Right now, drivers must turn in vehicle inspection reports whether or not the truck has defects.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the change could save $1.7 billion a year.
“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 in a statement.
“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.”
The proposal follows a similar change the agency adopted last year for intermodal chassis.
Because this change will affect a much larger group of drivers, the agency is asking for comments before it goes ahead.
American Trucking Associations applauded the move.
“ATA appreciates the Obama Administration’s proposal to provide relief on a longstanding paperwork-related burden in the trucking industry, and we look forward to working with Secretary Foxx to implement it in the near future,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said in a statement.
He described the change as “modest relief” that he hopes signals Foxx’s willingness to act on more substantive issues, such as CSA reforms concerning crash accountability and recent changes to the hours of service rules. Under the proposed change, drivers still would do pre- and post-trip inspections but would not have to turn in a report unless they discover defect during the day’s work.
“We can better focus on the 5% of problematic truck inspection reports by eliminating the 95% that report the status quo,” said agency administrator Anne Ferro in a statement.
“Moving to a defect-only reporting system would reduce a significant paperwork burden facing truck drivers and save the industry billions without compromising safety.”