Photo: Con-way

Photo: Con-way

As soon as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration publishes the final rule, probably on December 18, truck drivers will no longer have to file inspection reports when there are no defects in the truck.

The agency has been pursuing this change for more than a year in response to President Obama’s call for federal agencies to cut bureaucratic red tape.

“America’s truckers should be able to focus more on getting their goods safely to store shelves, construction sites or wherever they need to be instead of spending countless hours on unnecessary paperwork that costs the industry nearly $2 billion each year,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement.

Drivers are now required to do pre-trip and post-trip inspections and file a report to the carrier even if there are no defects.

Under the new rule, no-defect reports will not be required. Drivers will still have to turn in reports of defects.

Acting FMCSA Administrator Scott Darling said the change takes the truck inspection paperwork burden from 19th highest to 79th highest across all federal agencies.

The agency got 41 comments on its proposal, most of them supporting the change. Among the supporters were American Trucking Associations, the California Trucking Association and the National Motor Freight Traffic Association.

ATA did contend that the agency overstated the paperwork savings achieved by the change, but FMCSA responded that it did not agree with the association’s method of calculating the savings.

The American Moving and Storage Association opposed the change, arguing that no-defect reports are an important part of its members’ maintenance programs. The mover group said many members will still have drivers submit the reports even when they are not required.

Also opposing the change were Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the National Transportation Safety Board, both arguing that no-defect reports promote good maintenance practices.

The agency replied: “The new rule would not change the requirement for … drivers to conduct pre- and post-trip vehicle inspections. Nor does it change the requirement for … drivers to report defects or deficiencies that were found by or reported to them. No commenters provided data or information to support their predictions of reduced safety.”