FMCSA Proposes to Drop Driver Inspection Reports if No Defects

August 1, 2013

By Truckinginfo Staff

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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.”



  1. 1. Carl [ August 02, 2013 @ 07:28AM ]

    The report does not indicate what the driver does with the no defect daily pre-post trip inspection that he/she completes? It would seem that the report would have to be maintained somewhere so that if the driver is stopped he/she can show that he/she did prepare one for the day. It would probably be a good idea to cover all liability issues that it be turned in to his/her company and possibly filed until the next one is turned in that shows no defects. Just food for thought..

  2. 2. Chris Burgeson [ August 02, 2013 @ 07:59AM ]

    Carl raises a valid point. Keeping a copy of a no-defect inspection defeats the purpose of this proposed ruling. Furthermore, how do you differentiate between an inspection that was never done and one that had no defects? I think this seriously dilutes the strength of these required inspections.

    The real answer will probably come in the form of the eDVIR. I have already begun implementing electronic DVIRs on my regulated equipment, which makes this a non-issue. Copies of ALL inspections are maintained, but no paperwork is generated.

  3. 3. Paul L [ August 02, 2013 @ 09:35AM ]

    Requiring written proof of no defects does not get those drivers that are not doing inspections to do them now and I do not think eliminating the paperwork will cause those drivers that currently do the inspections to stop doing them. Human nature is Human nature and unless a company makes an investment in a system like Zonar it is hard to know if reports are just being pencil whipped. This proposed change in the regulations is long over due and will be a cost saving to those companies that chose not to worry about the no-defect reports.

  4. 4. Joe Griffey [ August 02, 2013 @ 10:09AM ]

    As a compliance officer it is difficult to get a driver to even log a Pre/Post Insp, which tells me the driver is not doing it. Now we are going to tell a driver he does not have to complete a DVIR unless there is a deficiency discovered. The companys acrosss the nation are suddenly going to have perfect maintenance records. When someone dies and the equipment had no deficiencies, where is that leaving the company and driver for liability, right back to 10-20 years ago. CSA scores are going to double and companys are going to end up spending more money futher reducing profits, except to the government and creating the possibility for even more deaths on our highways.

  5. 5. Randy B [ August 07, 2013 @ 12:37PM ]

    I believe the vast majority of carriers, both public and private, recognize the committment that the DOT has in identifying and eliminating non-compliant carriers with the new CSA program and the new HOS rules. The fact of the matter is that unless a driver supervisor is going to go to the trouble of making him/herself present during driver pre/post trip inspections; an obvious impossibility when the driver is on the road, there is no way to determine the thoroughness of the inspection that is being logged anyway. However, it is readily apparent that a driver is not doing his job when said driver goes on duty and logs a no defects pre-trip, drives 150 miles to a DOT inspection facility, gets pulled around and is placed OOS because of bald tires, brakes out of adjustment, air leaks, etc. Companies who allow this kind of behavior will soon find a letter in the mail from the DOT. Professional truck drivers are exactly that-professionals. Pride in their job dictates the manner in which they perform their duties. "Clutch Cowboys" will not be around very much longer. Companies cannot afford the costs and the exposure of hiring these individuals. Insurance companies will see to that.


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